Surprised by Joy

Thank you Frank Boyd for this lovely photo.

I love it when God reshapes and expands my feeble efforts to glorify Him. I had been hoping to have a good time at the DWGC JOY 2020 ladies retreat. This was my first women’s retreat since moving to Texas last May and I was ready!

The first workshop I attended was Joy in Scripture. The gracious women who led us, did a wonderful job showing us different ways to dig deeper and make scripture personally meaningful. The most rewarding part of these exercises for me, was the beautiful drawings that an artist named Wilma had made. These line drawings had space for us to copy scripture verses directly within each drawing.  I am an analytical thinker, and this was a fresh way for me to imprint God’s word on my heart. The theme of leaning into the Lord through visual creativity stirred my soul in an unexpected way.

My next adventure was the Joy in Prayer workshop. I was anticipating something special from this teaching after talking with some of the women who had been in the class ahead of me and I was not disappointed. Two more lovely ladies led our group through four different kinds of prayers. All of the methods were insightful, but one stood out to me.  Casting Prayer, an ancient practice that was slightly modified to work better for the present day. Each woman was given a small glass jar, in its lid rested several small colored beads and one tiny cross-shaped bead made of wood. As we prayed, we took a bead and held it, silently confessing whatever was burdening us, then physically giving that burden to the Lord by dropping the bead into the jar. The last bead we placed in the jar was the little wooden cross. The action of dropping the bead in the jar helped me to engage God in a physical way. But it was the sharp clink of the bead hitting the bottom of the jar that gave my spirit a sense of release from the burdens I’d been pouring out to Him in confession.  It was quite profound; I left the workshop feeling like I had closure and my heart and mind were at peace.

I felt genuine joy at the end of the retreat, and I am so thankful that God is faithful to meet me where I need Him most in unexpected ways.

Kathy Summers draws from a unique set of life experiences. As a writer and speaker, her faith, family and friends have provided many topics to be shared.  She is a recent transplant to Katy and is a part of the Grace Anglican Community.

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