Perhaps it was always this way, but now my eyes are open to it. I thought the word surreal would best describe this season I’ve entered into. Surreal is defined as “strange, unusual, or having the qualities of a dream.” While that almost comes close, it just isn’t sufficient enough. More accurately, the word of God has become real; I’m living it out loud–no longer merely words on a page, or prophetic utterances. His word has been made flesh/manifested (as in John 1:14) through my experiences! I am leaping for joy, even as I share, because my eyes had never seen, my ears had never heard, and my heart had never entertained such things. I grew up hearing my mother repeat the beginning of an often quoted passage of scripture, Isaiah 6:1, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord….” She would emphasize the Southern drawl of the preacher and exaggerate his pronunciation of the king’s name. Years later, I would hear a worship song based upon the same passage (“I See the Lord,” performed by Chris Falson). I fell in love with the song and often sing it during my private devotion and worship time. As much as I love to recall the memory of Mommie’s recitation or hear the melody of the song, the lasting impression I have of this passage was how it came to life in my life–the day my mother passed from life to Eternity. Then, I saw the glory of the Lord for myself. I understood some things clearly. I felt His presence and received her love, which could not have been felt or received apart from her death. It brought new meaning to the phrase, it just got real. I cannot say that an increase in faith came immediately; in fact, I would say I spent a few years floating in space–untethered and feeling completely alone. I had one thing that kept me grounded: the words of my mother declaring “Eileena, I believe you’re going to be alright.” Each day of uncertainty and sadness was punctuated by the memory of these words spoken on what would be the beginning of her final days in the earth. This memory and my determination to trust that God held me in the palm of His hand sustained me. During those years, I merely existed–going through the motions of getting up, going to work (or filing my unemployment claims), going to church, and repeating these acts. I put one foot in front of the other, but I was not really living. Somewhere between year three and four, I grew weary of just existing. I wanted to not only survive, I wanted to thrive. I wanted to experience the abundant life I said I believed was available to me through the work of Christ on the cross. I wanted more, and I made a decision to obey the command of Christ to believe–only believe (see Mark 5:36 and Luke 8:50). I had endured more downs than ups, and I was ready for stability and an outpouring of God’s grace that seemed to be eluding me up to this point. Which leads me to last night…
A trusted ministry leader was led by the Spirit of God to host a mini women’s retreat. It was titled, The Inner Court Retreat. In the days leading up to the event, I found myself praying for God to move mightily on behalf of those who committed to attend. I was excited for the ones who had accepted the invitation and trusted it would be a night to remember for years to come. I looked forward to the refreshing I always receive from such events. And, true to God’s faithfulness, He did not disappoint; I am still basking in the glow of His presence and the enlightenment of the teaching. I pray our host is rewarded with an increase in renewed strength–both physically and spiritually, and that all who aided in making the night special would be handsomely rewarded by the Father.
As I continue to witness God’s unveiling of this Year of Manifestation, I am in awe of how detail-oriented He is concerning the desires of my heart. I approached the retreat with a heart to serve; I wanted to help bring about the word I heard from the Lord days earlier. In the spirit, I heard “release of tongues.” The word “release” continually repeated throughout the week. While there was not a new manifestation of tongues on any of the attendees (at least not to my knowledge), I trust there will be as fruit from the teaching and sharing. There was definitely a release of fear, anxiety, loneliness, apprehension and rebellion. There was a release of pain, and a release of shared experiences. There was renewal, hope, faith and the release of great expectation. There was no CD or video produced, nor the signing of books, but it was assuredly a “release party.”
Our retreat came to an end sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Excitement and physical weariness collided and I fell asleep soon after my head met the pillow. The “night” was full of dreams and worship song melodies. I woke with the same degree of excitement and joyfully entered into a time of inner court worship–expressing my thanksgiving to the Father for what transpired and what is to come. I read the note my retreat partner had written and reflected on the joy of knowing my life had positively impacted another’s. As I went through the items that made up our goodie bags, I was again in awe of God’s attention to details.
Each of the items represented something God had manifested in the first half of this year: a bottle of Hawaiian spring water, an eye mask, an exfoliating sponge, and a pair of socks. In an instant, my eyes swelled with tears of joy as I praised God for His blessings. For me, the water was a reminder of how He cleared the way financially for me to celebrate my 50th birth-anniversary in Hawaii; the mask represented pampering and the deliverance from depression–constant sleep vs. rejuvenating rest; the sponge reminded me of His strength during my weakness and the “showers of blessings” I now enjoyed which eluded me during periods of despair; the socks represented my desire to run–not out of fear and anguish, but for exercise, health and pure enjoyment. My goodie bag represented the manifestation of God’s word in my life. It was “real” wrapped up in cellophane with a bow. In the midst of my reflection, I found (and find) myself asking “Does it get any better than this…?” –WordsInPrint by Suni