A Powerful Weekend
This past October I was incredibly blessed to be able to attend the Blessed Is She SHINE Retreat in Annapolis, MD with a few of my amazing friends from our local Blessed Is She Brunch group. The fellowship we had over the weekend was a beautiful gift from the Lord.
Shout out to my husband who stayed home with our five children *DURING HUNTING SEASON* so that I could get a weekend away. If that doesn’t show his love and care for me, I don’t know what does. He’s an incredibly selfless man!
To say the experience was amazing would be an extreme understatement. I was filled to the brim in love from the Lord and the joy from the weekend is still swelling my heart at this moment — I pray it never leaves!
The SHINE Retreat was based on this scripture from John’s Gospel:
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)
Fr. Larry Richards, my pastor, said in his homily the weekend before the retreat how we all have the Holy Spirit sitting at the bottom of our souls like an inch of Hershey’s chocolate syrup at the bottom of a cup of milk. It occasionally needs to be stirred if we want to enjoy the cup of chocolate milk.
I nodded along in complete agreement with him: My faith felt incredibly stagnant before that retreat. I felt little motivation to talk to the Lord in private prayer time. I felt distant from Him and honestly was just starting to not care. And my children and husband were suffering because of it – my patience was thinner than it had been in years. My tolerance level of my children was plummeting fast.
This retreat weekend was just the stirring I needed.
The Holy Spirit came alive in me again and I am so incredibly thankful for the Blessed Is She team and the speakers who came and spoke life into my heart and stirred up that Holy Spirit sitting at the bottom of my soul.
They were the missing spoon my cup needed to get the chocolate moving!
Light in the Darkness
The overall theme of the speakers was that we must have a relationship with the Lord to be able to know our identity.
And we must know our identity to be able to carry out the mission the Lord plans for us, to shine in the darkness.
Relationship > Identity > Mission. In that order. The diagram provided is the diagram they shared with us at the retreat. If we were to try this in a different order, we’d get burned out. This made complete sense and really opened my eyes.
No wonder I had felt so distant from Him: I was going the opposite way.
Beth Davis of Blessed Is She spoke about relationship, first. There’s no one I could think of who’d explain relationship with the Lord better than her.
I realized again through her talk that I did not have to convince the Lord to love me: He already does.
Next, Rachel Leininger spoke about our true identity. I had an especially powerful healing experience after her talk where she sat down and prayed over the entire group of women gathered in that room with an INCREDIBLY powerful prayer, a prayer over our identity! She spoke life and forgiveness over every single relationship and action that may have happened in our lives from conception to the present. The details in her prayer hit everything in my life that needed to be healed.
I was conceived out of wedlock. My parents had only been together for three months before I was conceived. Growing up, I sometimes allowed myself to feel guilty for their marriage that failed 18 years later. If I hadn’t come into being, my mother may not have been tied to an alcoholic, verbally abusive husband. She may not have suffered so much. She may not have gone through the depression she did after they split, she may not have started smoking again, and she may not be so angry at God now, rarely attending church.
But the Lord knew my heart, and He wanted to firmly address the false identity I had claimed as my own through Satan’s whispers.
“Give me whatever you want to give me this weekend, Lord,” I wrote in my prayer journal during her talk. “You know what my heart needs.”
Hearing the Lord’s Words
When Rachel began her prayer after her talk, she talked about forgiving our parents and any issues we have in our relationships with them. She mentioned forgiving our earthly father if he had not been emotionally present while growing up, forgiving him if he had abandoned us because he struggled with an addiction. She even mentioned alcoholism.
She was no doubt filled with the Holy Spirit because she touched on so many personal things that actually happened in my life that the tears began flowing and I couldn’t stop them. The pain was leaving while the Lord’s healing warmth began to cover my aching heart.
Then she began talking about the moment we came into being in our conception.
Suddenly, with my eyes closed during this prayer, I felt my mother’s intense fear and anxiety at the news of my existence.
Then, I saw an image of the darkness of my parents’ sin but then immediately saw light beams burst forward at the moment of my conception.
And I heard the Lord say, “It was good.”
Then I was gifted with actually feeling God’s excitement at my brand-new life. And I felt the excitement in heaven at the news of my existence. He was joyful about it! A new part of His plan had come into being!
This knowledge was such a gift from Him; I felt a Father’s love for His daughter.
My Heavenly Father gifted me with the knowledge of knowing even though I wasn’t expected by my parents, I was expected by Him. And He told me I was good.
This Is for You
I want to share this story to extinguish any similar lies you may have felt (or are feeling) in your life, whispering that you were or are unwanted.
This is for you if you feel unwanted because you may have been conceived on accident, you may have been conceived in rape, or your mother or father may have considered or wanted an abortion.
The darkness of sin never overcomes the light of Christ, the light of new life in God’s family.
He rejoiced when you were conceived, your light shone brighter than the sin it came from. It always will.
He jumped for joy when you came into being, along with all of the saints in heaven.
You have always been wanted by the King of the universe. Your life is a gift to the world, greater than you will ever realize.
Your identity is HIS. You are HIS. That is the Truth.
Will you trust Him and believe your identity in Him? Will you allow Him to love you as the child of God that you are? The part of His great plan that He knew before the earth was even formed?
Copyright 2020 Elaine Sinnott