The end of September I traveled with a few ladies from my church to the 2011 North Central Ohio Women’s Fall Retreat held at Punderson State Park. The theme of the retreat weekend was, “Untangled”; untangling yourself from yourself, guilt, bad decisions, anything that binds us…learning to let “us” off the hook. To say that God was with us that weekend was an understatement! He worked something in all of us woman & we came back freer, stronger, & more committed to “ourselves”, leaving behind heavy weights that all of us had in some form. My good friend Heidi Strickler,(faith in flip-flops), has a saying, “we need each other.” And its true! What made that weekend so special was the bonding that drew us closer together. All of us were “broken” in some form & we each specifically needed that weekend. It’s really amazing how God works. He knows exactly what we’re going through & lines up people, events, “weekends” to help in putting us back together.
Our retreat packet contained a letter titled, “Father’s Love Letter”. A love letter is something you never read in a hurry. It’s something you wait until your alone, in a quiet place, where you can absorb the words that were written just for you by somebody who loves you with their whole heart. God has written you a love letter, every line in this letter is a bible verse & the author has pieced it together into a letter format. This letter was written by GOD to YOU.
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you rise up. I am familiar with all your ways. Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. For you were made in my image. In me you live and move and have your being. For you are my offspring. I knew you even before you were conceived. I chose you when I planned creation. You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. And brought you forth on the day you were born. I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. For I am the perfect father. Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Because I love you with an everlasting love. My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. And I rejoice over you with singing. I will never stop doing good to you. For you are my treasured possession. I desire to establish you with all my heart and soul. And I want to show you great and marvelous things. If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. For it is I who gave you those desires. I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. For I am your greatest encourager. I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. He is the exact representation of my being. He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. I have always been Father, and will always be Father. My question is…Will you be my child? I am waiting for you.
Love, Your Dad
Church is a powerful place. It’s not perfect, it can make mistakes, after all it’s run by people…but its powerful. Most churches have “groups” within the church; children’s, youth, women’s, singles, etc. They hold retreats, conferences, workshops, overnighters…its designed that way to bring people closer together, to fellowship with one another. Look into joining a group, participating in an event, at whatever church you attend. It’s an opportunity to get to know people who share your common belief, who strengthen you when you’re weak, for you to do the same in them. To survive this life we really do need each other; positive people, loving people, that stand by you. Give a church group a chance. “Jesus freaks” can be fun too! 🙂
Okay, the “hand raising” was in response to a question of how many have been skinny-dipping. Every single one of us Vermilion ladies had…coincidence???