The chatter of more than a hundred women filled the air as we gathered for our annual retreat. Tables aglow with candles burning through hurricane holders bedecked in raspberry and black ribbons set a soft reflective mood as we meandered to our seats.
We came expecting God to touch our lives, transform our hearts, and heal our hurts. We desired to grow closer to Him We left anointed and brimming over with new found hope and joy.
Our remarkable guest speaker, Tricia Christianson, divided the days’ Scripture into parts so that we could examine our response to different parts.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
First she asked us, “Who is God to you?” He is King and Lord. Majestic. Wonderful. Powerful (Psalm 145:1, 5, 6. The Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 146:6). A few of God’s characteristics which she mentioned reverently and with pause for reflection. Which descriptions of God rise up in your heart as you are drawn to worship Him, our Awesome God?
Tricia noted that Jesus came to be the King of our hearts. But she added this heart-pricking comment,
“A King’s kingdom is only as big as the submission of His subjects. Are you holding back part of your hear from God?” she inquired.
I know there are areas within my heart where I still want to maintain control. Situations I try to maneuver and manipulate, hoping to conform them to my plans because I’m positive my plans are for the best. Areas are still not surrendered. Self control flatlines at times and in predictable patterns. I’m clutching my desires while reaching out to grasp God’s hand in trust. The stretch will not join but tear apart. I can grip only one and truly survive.
Hope. It’s the word God gave me for this year so I eagerly anticipated this retreat and Tricia’s wisdom on this word. Hope is that “confident, joyful expectation and anticipation” that wells up within us, she said. “And hope has to be rooted in Christ.” In Christ alone.
Hope and joy are intertwined. With expectation resting in Christ, there is joyful anticipation. We have a purpose. Something to look forward to. Something, Someone who motivates us closer to the fulfillment of our heart’s deepest longings.
As the speaker continued on highlighting particular words, one thought grabbed at my heart. While speaking of peace–the peace that passes understanding (Phillipians 4:7), Tricia noted that we only know this kind of peace when we are in situations where we can’t see God’s hand moving. For me, that’s exactly the hardest time for me to have peace. Her words are inscribed on my heart:
“I can’t see your hand (Lord) but I trust Your heart,”
He is there even when I can’t comprehend it. He has shown me His faithfulness before. He has stretched out His compassionate and caring hand. He has touched my life, answered prayers, been my shelter while I waited for Hope to blossom and Faith to be seen.
So, can I trust Him when I can rely only on Who He Is? On Who His Word says He is? On His everlasting love for me? On His work to save me?
Will I find Him as the source of my Joy when there is no joy in my circumstances? Will I rejoice, not in the circumstances but in His heart for me?
I can Abound in Hope. Live above my circumstances. Thrive. Wait for Jesus to come.
If I will put my trust in His Heart. This will be my journey.
Will you join me in learning to Abound in Hope? Have you found the heart of God when you could not see His hand? I would love to hear from you.
From My Heart to Yours,
“I can’t see your hand (Lord) but I trust Your heart.” Beautiful words! May we come to trust Him in the darkest of days because we know Him. We can trust Him to be true to Who He is.
Have a great Monday!
Yes, Joanne, we can trust His faithful characteristics!
Janis, my one word for 2013 is SURRENDER! And just this morning I was praying that I would not hold back any part of my heart from the Lord. Your post confirmed that in my heart. Thank you for that.
Blessings and love,
Debbie~it’s so amazing how the Holy Spirit works. I’m glad he confirmed that word in your heart.
Some time ago I read a book of Madame Jean Guyon, Experiencing God through Prayer. She taught me so much about drawing deep into Jesus in your heart where His Kingdom is (Luke 17:21). I can highly recommend this book! It is there in His Presence where I have learned how to find peace!
Thank you, Mia. I will look that up!
Hi Janis! You had a great retreat time, how wonderful! I love to get new ideas to roll around in my head. There have been so many times I’ve had to trust in the Lord in my life, starting with what to do ‘when I grow up’. Thank God! He led me to nursing and it’s been wonderful.
Great post today, Janis!
Ceil~thank you for stopping by. We did have a wonderful time at the retreat! Love and hope to invigorate each new day.
“I can’t see your hand (Lord) but I trust Your heart,” Beautiful words to live by. Thanks for sharing this with us, Janis!
Pam~I’m glad you were blessed by this sharing. The day delivered all that I anticipated and more.
Janis, I was really encouraged by your post today. You know that I also struggle with *control* issues. Sometimes I think that my anxiety is the taskmaster that compels me to try to *fix* everything. But, there is only room for ONE king on the throne – and I’d really rather have Jesus sitting there!
Trusting His heart, even when I can’t see Him working.
Praying for you, Sharon. I’m on the same journey.
I love what you shared here. Awakening.
Praise God for touching your heart, Joy. What a beautiful name to remind you of God’s joy in you.
I’m right next to you at Scripture and Snapshot. I’m glad I stopped by!
Thank you, elizabeth. I’m glad you’re here, too!
Thought provoking post, I read Sharon’s comment and your reply and I am on that journey too. Thank you for sharing this.
God Bless – Nita
I’m still working on abounding in hope (or rather, letting the Spirit work on me!). I sometimes give up hope too quickly. But I’m improving, praise God. The older I get, the more crucial I realize it is to maintain a good dose of hope!
Thank you for sharing your lovely retreat time with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” “Who is GOD to YOU” was a great question and the answers were thought provoking. May we all experience peace when we cannot see his hand at work. . . but we know he is there with us.
What a beautiful time you had with your sisters in Christ, it sounds like!
“I can’t see your hand (Lord) but I trust Your heart,” really hits home for me. I will write this in my journal as I want to remember it for those times, so often, when there is not sight but I must have faith, trust. Thanks for sharing from your weekend.
Caring through Christ, ~ linda @ Being Woven
Sorry I am just reading this now!!! Like always the picture is beautiful but the words are even more beautiful!!!! Hope and Joy?? Hmmm, those are two words that aren’t always put together in my life. Hope is all that I have here. The hope for these people who have NO hope. I pray that one day that they will see that through Jesus, there is nothing but hope and I pray that in some small way, they can see that hope in me. “Joy.” The joy that I have is the “joy” i have in knowing this is where God wants me for such a time as this. Sometimes I don’t always feel that joy, but that’s ok. I know it’s truth. The scripture I cling to mostly and have hanging throughout my house is 1 Thess. 5:16.
Always be joyful, NEVER STOP PRAYING, be thankful in ALL circumstances!
Thanks for letting me share. Love and miss you,
“I can’t see your hand (Lord) but I trust Your heart.” A beautiful message, Janis. I’m so glad I stopped in. It sounds like it was a wonderful retreat. Thank you for sharing with us.