For our first blog post we thought we’d start with some beautifully written words of encouragement from one of our weekend participants. God works amazingly and abundantly through His love in words and actions – the kind of love in which Jesus loves us. We hope you are blessed by this outpouring of love as much as it has blessed us:
“This weekend I attended a retreat entitled First Loved to Love, the weekend was dedicated to understanding what it means to be fully known and loved by God the Father. Not just to understand the concept intellectually but to actually feel and experience tangibly the depth of the creators’ love for us personally, to see ourselves walking hand in hand with an adoring father, knowing that he wants us to experience all the joys and wonders and blessings that he has for each one of us. An experiential exercise turned into a profound awakening. We were given nine verses from the bible to choose from and to re-write as if God were talking to us personally. This meant inserting our own names into the verse and choosing words from a list of synonyms, as we were so moved, such that the verse truly “spoke to us” in order to experience it on a deeper level than ever before. The idea was to actually ‘hear’ God’s voice and picture God the father in flesh and blood speaking His blessing directly to each one of us, including me.
“After drafting a personalized version of my chosen verse, when I was asked to read it aloud in our small group, I was overcome with emotion. In that moment I realized how I have longed to hear that I am loved by God, that I am good enough just as I am and that He actually delights in me. Though the mountains may shake and the hills be removed His peace and blessing over my life will never cease! What comfort I felt from hearing those words spoken aloud, directly to me by the group facilitators. The words came alive in a way I had never experienced before. They were not just words on a page but a real conversation between God and me. In fact, I had read those words many times before, but I had never ‘heard’ them in the depths of my soul.
“Perhaps for the first time in my life I actually felt God’s Love and experiencing it opened my eyes and heart to want to share that love with my husband and children in a more intentional way than ever before. At long last I felt as though a burden had been lifted, that the relentless struggle of the last three years since Hurricane Sandy turned our lives upside down was over. God is with us and has brought us through the fire. I could not wait to get home and tell my family how much I love them.” – Linda B, Connecticut (February 2016)