“He has done it”: R&R Retreat 2015…

I knew He would come through, yet I still clinched doubt behind my back.  I kind of had to believe the truth of His promises.  It is after all what I tell my preacher-boy husband every week: “Don’t worry, He’s gonna show up and do His thing…despite you, even.”

Jesus came and delivered this past weekend, despite me…and, of course He would.  The Spirit of the Lord hovered over every facet of the R&R Retreat of 2015.  Multiple times I found myself in tears over the worship and the people.  God is so good…and so BIG.  Such simple words, but yet so incredibly hard to comprehend.

He led His daughters through beautiful imagery found throughout Genesis, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the Psalms.  He reminded us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully…mud.”  He breathed life into our dust, then planted a garden for us out of love.  We witnessed His raging rivers full of provision.

We sat among the cinders, repenting in ashes of our depravity: our idolatry.  We abused all that He meant for our good.  We mourned our losses.  We asked Him to search our hearts, for only the Gardener can tend His crop and prune at the appropriate time.

He heard us.  He listened.

He promised to replant, to rebuild, to restore.  “I will do it,” declares the Lord.

Then, He did a miraculous thing.  He took a tender sprig from a tall cedar and named this planting: Jesus–the strong tree that holds all of creation under it’s umbrella of safety.  His blood outpoured for us all–He redeemed the world on yet another tree.  The epitome of God’s glory revealed in His dying and His rising.  Not for our sake, but for the sake of His Holy Name.

He beautifully exchanged all that we long to loose, with all that we long to hold.  Our loss is nothing and our gain is everything.  He replaced cinders with splendors, a cross with a crown, thorns with a throne, and misery with majesty.  The poor received good news.  Broken hearts were bound.  Captives were set free.  Prison chains were unleashed.  The mourning were comforted and became glad.  Their ashes replaced with beauty.  Faint spirits began to worship and praise!  Our fertile mud, packed tight with potential energy, sprang forth a shoot.  He called us “Oaks of Righteousness”.  We became the sought-after ones of God.

We spoke of thanksgiving and magnified His holy name.  Our leaves absorbed His light and produced sticky joy that will sustain us through all seasons.  Our foliage, of varying seasons and colors, display His glory and we are made beautiful.  Our roots stretched into His word (and His track record) and we learned to bloom where we are planted.  Our past fruitless branches with wilted leaves, have been pressed beneath the mud to produce fuel that fans into flame His splendor.  We bear fruit…lots of it…NOW.

Our dry bones have become an army, released with violent energy, to do a great work for Him.  His changing agent: His breath, His touch, His planting… fill our lungs.

I was planted this weekend…amidst a whole forest of Righteous Oaks.

I had nervously questioned His provision.  But He said, “I will do it.”

And He has done it.

In barren and desolate ground,

A fistful of mud’s all I’ve found.

But you make it beautiful…

You make it beautiful.

I take of the fruit and enjoy,

Abuse all that you have employed.

Can you make it beautiful?

Please make it beautiful.

When all the debris

Settles on me,

You are all I have.

When I can’t maintain

My own plan to gain,

Will you redeem me?

Beautiful.  My broken heart you bind.

Beautiful.  Your spirit anoints this head of mine.

A holy unmatchable breath

Is wildly engulfing my chest.

You’re making me beautiful.

You’re making me beautiful.

A new heart in me,

You cause it to be.

Oh, fall afresh on me.

For love of your name,

All mine is gain.

For You breathe new life in me.

Yes, You breathe new life in me.

Beautiful.  My broken heart you bind.

Beautiful.  Your Spirit anoints this head of mine.

Beauty from ashes,

You make me beautiful, I am beautiful.

A garment of praise,

For You are holy, You are worthy!

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