Celebration

Blog – 9-23-15

Celebration

Songs of Joy

I witnessed something very powerful last weekend. I spoke and sang at a women’s retreat in Norfolk, and you could literally feel the Holy Spirit in the air. It was a room full of broken people, yet at the end of our time together we literally danced in the truth that God’s grace makes us new…we had a celebration!

At the close of the retreat, we passed out pieces of paper and everyone wrote down things they needed to let go of, hurts, habits, hang-ups, sin in their lives, problems they were facing, someone they needed to forgive, demons they needed to let go of. Whatever was on their heart that they needed to give to God they wrote down on this simple piece of paper. We then crumpled the pieces of paper and threw them in baskets.

We formed a big circle around the baskets, and as we held hands I prayed a prayer of victory over every sin and every hurt written on those precious scraps of paper. We claimed freedom from the things that weigh us down and keep us from true communion with Christ. We stood firm and claimed the truth that because of the cross, because of the unending love and mercy of our Heavenly Father, we can celebrate who God’s word says we are…a daughter of the King!

When we finished praying, we decided it was time for a dance party. And dance we did! As I sang “Watch Me Fly,” the ladies, young and old alike, started clapping and dancing and even started a conga line! It was glorious to see them moved by the Spirit and watch them celebrating that they did not have to remain captive to those things. Inhibitions were removed as battered hearts came back to life. Because of God’s love and mercy, the weight of those burdens are lifted off of us and we are truly set free, able to fly! I’m smiling as I write this as I think about the childlike joy that was visible and the freedom I saw in those sweet women’s eyes. God is so good!

I don’t know what was written on those pieces of paper, and they were burned after the event, but I know a few of the stories of the women there. Stories of cancer treatments starting this week, mothers heartbroken as their children become rebellious, women dealing with serious mental health issues, women dealing with the bitterness of husbands who walked away from their marriage, women hurting and broken. They shared many of their stories with me, and I know there were many more that were left unspoken. The ink on those pieces of paper represented countless tears and heartaches.

But as we physically let go of those things and turned them over to God, you could feel the weight lift off these women. Psalm 126:5-6 says,

Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.

Those who go out weeping,

carrying seed to sow,

will return with songs of joy,

carrying sheaves with them.

As you think about the things you might have written on that piece of paper, I encourage you to remember that you are not alone. Everyone has pain. Everyone has messed up. Everyone has been hurt by someone else. Everyone struggles to get through life. We all need to stand under the fountain of God’s grace. We all spend much of our lives sowing with our tears; but when we go to the cross, when we lay our lives at the feet of Jesus, all of us can return with songs of joy!

We may have started the weekend with weeping (as you can imagine with a room full of ladies!) but I love the way we ended…with songs of joy! As I reflect on that sweet moment in time, I can’t help but think that we need more celebrations exactly like that!

Precious Father, thank you for this sweet reminder of you. Help each and every one of us let go of the things that weigh us down and learn to celebrate all that we are in you! Amen.

~Hugs and love,

Jill

PS. Click: Watch Me Fly to see the video!

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