Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Measureless Love - Cannon Beach Ladies Retreat


(Click on photos to enlarge)


Someone read my mind and told Jenni Bowlin how much I wanted someone to make banner stickers with matching letters.  I placed the alpha sticker letters on clear buttons and made them 3-D w/pop-up dots.


Rub-on "Love" onto a flat no-hole button.


Acrylic Heidi Swapp heart put through the sewing machine, Starbucks gift certificate envelope, mulberry handmade paper, skeleton leaf, along with Making Memories and Jenni Bowlin doo-dads.


An article I wrote about Women's Retreat will be hidden behind this layout...

As a participant my church's Women’s Retreat: Measureless Love, I walked away in awe of all that God revealed to me over the short three-day getaway. I am still processing it and trying to wrap my mind around everything He taught me, however, like a blazing neon sign, one message was unmistakable: Remember.


Retreats are often “mountain top experiences” so even before it began I felt a nudging from the Holy Spirit to note carefully what would take place. He was telling me to take this weekend seriously so that I would not forget what He said to me when I went back to my day-to-day life. As my sister-in-law, Sarah, and I drove westward to Cannon Beach on Thursday, we listened to C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair on CD. In the second chapter, Aslan, the Great Lion, gave these instructions to Jill:


“…But, first, remember, remember, remember, the Signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the Signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down in Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the Signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the Signs and believe the Signs. Nothing else matters…”


Yet even with the Holy Spirit’s preparation, I was still a little surprised to hear Beth Moore bring up a familiar topic: remembering the examples of God’s measureless love in our own life. When she said in her cute Texas drawl, “Do I believe in miracles? I AM ONE!” - my own past flooded back.


In 2005, at twenty-seven, my life was at a crossroads. I had gone through a period of healing and restoration, and was lovingly serving God. This in itself was a miracle. Yet just as I had finally found contentment in being single, He was preparing another miracle for the next chapter in my life. It was during this pivotal time that my mentor gave me my very first Beth Moore book, Believing God. As I read, the book’s theme took me on a heart-transforming adventure:


God is a BIG God.
God is who He says He is. (Ex 3:14)
God can do what He says He can do.
I am who God says I am. (Jer 29:11)
I can do all things through Christ. (Philippians 4:13)
God’s Word is alive and active in me.


Wow! There is power in those words! These truths, found in scripture, left such an impression that I’ve never been the same. And just so I would never forget, God had my husband (yes, husband) design my wedding ring to be a visual reminder. In the center of the ring, the largest stone reminds me that God is a BIG God. He is who He says He is. On either side of the center diamond are smaller heart-shaped diamonds: a reminder that God is the One who brought our hearts together and He can do what He says He can do!


Now on the Oregon Coast in 2010, I was being reminded of those familiar truths. Had I forgotten the measureless power and love of God? No, not completely... yet, in my complacency I had allowed the daily things of this world to cloud my focus. In the words of Aslan, “the air had thickened” and I had not always seen the signs of His measureless love.


Mark Batterson sums this up perfectly in his book, Wild Goose Chase.
“Have you ever noticed how often people in the Old Testament built altars? It seems like they were building them all over the place, all the time. Why? Because we have a natural tendency to remember what we should forget, and forget what we should remember. Altars help us remember what God doesn’t want us to forget. They give us a sacred place to go back to. So why did we stop building altars? I honestly wonder if our lives seem more routine than they really are, simply because we don’t have any altars dotting the landscape. I wonder if many of us feel spiritually lost because we don’t have any milestones that help us find our way back to God. We need altars that renew our faith by reminding us of the faithfulness of God. And every once in a while, we need to go back to those sacred places to repent of our sin, renew our covenant with God, and celebrate what God has done.” – p. 48


Thank God, “We will never wake up on any single day of our lives that Jesus isn’t full of grace and truth!” (Beth Moore) I have no doubt of God’s grace, healing and truth. I have seen it over and over again in my life, and I need to be reminded of that. I need to remember.


“Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’” I Samuel 7:12


At retreat, I was challenged to build an altar that would stand as a constant reminder to me of His measureless love and faithfulness. This photograph is my “Ebenezer.” I am going to have it framed and place it where I see it daily, to remember all my God has done.

5 comments:

  1. Love how this turned out!

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  2. I love the photo first and foremost. It is amazing and something to behold!

    I love how you write, so beautiful spoken. The words you posted here are beautiful. The words you wrote brought me peace and peace is something I am in need of.

    You have touched me knowing that you are Jen are praying for me. What a great sister in Christ you are, I am thankful of you.
    e.

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  3. Great photo and wonderful idea. :) Mark Batterson was speaking at our Youth Leaders Summit a couple of months ago and challenged us to create an alter to remember. You have just reminded me of this and encouraged me to create an alter for myself. Thanks.

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  4. Elizabeth, that is SO cool! Our pastors heard Mark speak in Jan... which lead them to give the entire women's leadership team books - they were moved so much by his message...now the Wild Goose Chase has been impacting our lives in a BIG way. I framed the picture and have it on my desk at work. It has been a great reminder throughout my day. Hugs dear friend!

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  5. Love these encouraging words from our friends. ;) So glad to have friends in Christ!

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