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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)

TITLE: In His Hands
By Jerusha Borden


It was a hectic time in my life. I was getting married in less than a month, I had just started my final year of university, the teen Sunday school class that I taught with my fiancée Steve was about to begin, and I had agreed to help prepare for the Christmas production at church. When someone approached me and asked me if I wanted to attend a weekend ladies retreat, I almost laughed in their face.

The weekend of the retreat arrived. By that point, I was so run down, I decided I could use alone time with God. I had my suitcase packed with warm clothes, my Bible, a notebook and pen, and a book to read during the “free time” that I had read on the list of events. When my friend arrived to pick me up, I was more than ready. I kissed Steve goodbye and headed out the door, ready and waiting for some spiritual refreshment.

It was far from what I found that weekend. The speaker was classified more as motivational than someone who felt moved to deliver a solid Christian message to a room full of needy women. The worship music was wonderful and inspiring, but I was suddenly hit with a severe cold, and my voice would burn when I tried to sing. The worst part of all was that I was placed in a discussion group full of women who had either divorced or separated from their husband.

My heart was heavy, and my spirit weak. I lay awake tossing and turning all night. Why, Lord, why? I wondered. Why have you placed me here, when I need encouragement and support, only to be more discouraged than I was when I came? I prayed through the early morning hours, thinking of Steve, and wondering what our future would be like. Would our marriage last, or would I be in the same position as all the women that had shared their heartache with me only hours before?

I rose early for the morning devotions. I was the first to arrive at the picnic table under the tree where we had agreed to meet. Opening my Bible, I prayed that God would give me some encouraging words to read. I blindly flipped through the Psalms, when a bird pecking on the ground diverted my attention. Turning back to the page, I saw I had underlined in Psalm 29:11. “The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” On the next page I saw Psalm 31:14, 15a. “But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, You are my God! My future is in your hands.” My future is in his hands. It was a warm thought on a cold morning. Soon other women began arriving and my personal time was interrupted. I forgot all about the verses in the activity of the day.

Later that evening, on the way home, Steve and I were discussing the weekend. I told him that it wasn’t much of a retreat in that sense of the word. He reminded me that a retreat wasn’t about a weekend away; it was about the state of your heart. I didn’t need to go away to quiet my heart and make time for the Lord. I shared with him what was on my heart. We prayed together and I felt so blessed to have a Christian man who loved me. Still, I was worried about our marriage, after the weekend I had had.

My affirmation came when after a few moments Steve said, “In my quiet time this morning, you were heavy on my mind and heart, and I felt as if I should pray for us, and what is to come. I thought of the saying, do not worry what the future holds, for God holds the future. Just thought I would share that with you.” It was silent again in the car, and I was left to my thoughts. I felt a peace in my heart, knowing that our marriage would be strong if we only kept God at the centre.

In just two months we will celebrate our first year anniversary. God holds our future in his hands!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Rose Gingerich08/08/05
I enjoyed your article. I too have experienced those retreats that seemed to fall short of my expectations. But I agree with your husband, our retreats are really within our own hearts. Thanks for sharing and Congratulations on your first anniversary!
Debra Brand08/08/05
Good story and meaning. Watch your run-on sentences and the 'was' word. Thanks for the apt word!
Linda Watson Owen08/08/05
Wonderful meaning. Very touching.
Julianne Jones08/11/05
I'm pleased that you found your 'retreat' after all. Thanks for sharing.
dub W08/11/05
Very well written message, loaded with meaning.
Shannon Redmon08/11/05
I love the way God speaks to us through His Word and then confirms it with circumstances and our loved ones! Sounds like you have a great foundation for your marriage!

Beth Muehlhausen08/13/05
Thoughtful and real. You summed up your experience well here: "He reminded me that a retreat wasn’t about a weekend away; it was about the state of your heart. I didn’t need to go away to quiet my heart and make time for the Lord."
Shari Armstrong 08/13/05
Amen :)
Lynda Schultz 05/01/06
Well done. Why haven't we heard more for you? Hope to see more of your work on the Challenge and through the FW Forums. Blessings.