I am more like the 10 spies who saw the giants in the land, rather than Caleb and Joshua.
Do you remember the story in Numbers 13? Moses sent one man from each tribe into the land of Canaan to check it out. This was the Promised Land, set apart for the Israelites by the word of the Lord. These 12 men roamed all over this territory and found it overflowing with goodness. It took two guys to haul back one cluster of grapes!
But when it came time to report back to Moses and the Israelites, most of these guys only remembered the giants. They only saw the obstacles, and fear spread through the entire community.
I do that too. I see the challenges, the barriers, and fear gets the best of me.
Caleb and Joshua had a different perspective. They pointed the people back to the power of the God they served. “The Lord is with us!” they reminded everyone (Numbers 14).
When our hearts and minds get so consumed with fear, we have to cling to the truth that God is with us. He goes before us, leading us through those dark valleys and difficult circumstances.
Even though there might be giants, we can celebrate His provision and tender care for us.
Each and every year when I have set aside a day or two to participate in the Velvet Ashes retreat, it has felt like the giants and fear outweigh the benefits. I want it all to be perfect and easy, and instead it feels like everything goes wrong.
Sometimes it was just little frustrations that felt big in the moment. My heart was crying out for rest and refreshment, and the electricity went off just in time for the retreat. No AC, no internet, and I felt disconnected from the joy of community.
Another year I was recovering from pneumonia and barely had the energy to work through the videos and guide.
It was hard to push pause on the work, and I often felt like I had to justify taking a retreat to others around me. It was scary to dig deep into heart issues, laying my soul bare before the Lord to let Him reveal and teach and correct.
As I look back now at each retreat, even though there were circumstances and years that were less than ideal, I see His goodness. I see the ways He met me right where I was, sweat pouring down and mingling with tears as I knelt before Him in surrender.
I remember the ways that He moved my heart to say a brave yes to a new opportunity, the doors that He opened because I was able to pray and process and listen.
I also remember the difficult and brave nos, the ways He helped me to let go and allow Him to meet me in the grief and sadness.
Perhaps as you think about setting aside a weekend or even just a few hours for the Velvet Ashes retreat this year, all you see are the giants in the land, or the ways your situation is less than ideal.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, sisters. There might be challenges, but I want to say it is worth it. Your heart will be changed when you take time to sit with the Father and let Him revive you. Your soul will be refreshed as you allow the theme this year to sink down deep as you look at the ways you can celebrate even in the hard things.
What fears do you need to face as you think about participating in the retreat? Do you have those “even though” moments from previous years that now you can reflect on and say, “Yet will I celebrate all God did for me”?
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