Written by Lauren Rose as told by “Amanda”
Wow, I’ve just returned from an incredible mountain top experience — both figuratively and literally! I was a very fortunate scholarship recipient of the 2023 He Makes All Things New women’s retreat, and want to thank those who made that possible. Although my circumstances have remained unchanged since attending the retreat, I have felt a breakthrough. Being with other women who understood what I was going through, and finding community among them, changed my life from within.
Let me tell you how the community at the retreat impacted my life:
The community worship helped me connect deeper with God!
I had such a good cry during worship; God drew close and reassured me that those were much-needed tears. Seeing the room filled with women who loved the Lord was humbling. I do not know everyone’s story, but I knew many whose hearts had been broken, and the Lord made it clear that He draws near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
The community helped me understand I wasn’t alone!
I joined a shepherd group, and it helped us know we weren’t alone. It was healing to share similar experiences and see the bond of peace among us.
The community helped me extend grace to myself!
There was unity among us, which gave me more compassion for myself. I do not have a shortage of this for others, but when it comes to extending grace to myself, and allowing myself to be weak…that is another story.
The community helped me identify lies from the enemy, and heal!
The Lord showed me the lies — predominantly the thought that “I am not enough,” a belief that was hampering me from connecting with Him and others. This weekend I found that there is strength in sharing our burdens. Hearing how there are so many similarities in the misguided thinking among us, and the mistreatment we’ve all experienced, has helped me identify harmful thoughts and take them to the Lord in prayer.
The community support helped me heal from sexual trauma!
The collective takeaway from the many excellent sessions I attended was that our bodies matter — I am an embodied soul. I have a love-hate relationship with my body due to sexual assault; the sessions helped me to develop the notion of seeing my body as my friend, as God’s chosen temple. Over the weekend, I had time to process my thoughts and feelings through sharing them with the new friends I’d met at the retreat.
I have been reminded how God cares for each of us, follows us with goodness and mercy in all the days of our lives, and that we will dwell with Him, in His house, forever.