Who is God, Who we are, How we are needed
By: Joy Sugg (Women's Ministry Team)
New friendships, deeper conversations, growth in the Lord. All of these were experienced at our Trinity Park Women’s Retreat, March 9-10 at Rockfish Camp and Retreat Center. In the last couple of years the women of Trinity Park have enjoyed numerous events including two learning seminars, two soup socials, three “Sharing the Gift of Cooking” in-home sessions, a Wine and Design night, and hiking at Hemlock Bluffs. However, the women’s retreat has been the most widely attended. Close to 40 women gathered together to worship and to explore how the Lord uses relationships for our sanctification. I thank all the women who attended the retreat and for those who shared and helped in anyway. For those that were unable to attend, here is a brief overview of what we learned and a few of my personal thoughts as well.
Our speaker, Jacklyn Tubel, a Biblical counselor with Hope Counseling Services in Chapel Hill reminded us of who God is, who we are as needy people in a broken world, and how, though needy, we are also needed as a part of the body of Christ. As Jayne V. Clark states in the booklet “Healing Broken Relationships”, distributed at the retreat, “God broke the one relationship that never should have been broken, the one relationship that never needed to be broken - his relationship with Jesus, his son- so that our relationship with him could be restored.” Understanding this point is key in understanding who God is. We must recognize that God also created us to be in community and we need that community to support and encourage our growth in Him. Allowing ourselves to be needy in a fallen broken world is hard, yet God uses relationships to show us Himself and direct us to Himself. Just as we need others to do this for us, we in turn are needed to do this for others. As we grow in our relationship with the Lord and experience transformation by Him, we will then move toward others. As we become who we truly are in Christ, as we move upward toward our heavenly relationship with God, we move outward towards others. We all know that relationships can be hard and messy, but we must trust that Christ is in the middle of the messiness and will use relationships to grow us in grace, mercy, and wisdom.
My personal takeaways have been, one, greater awareness of my neediness, not because of my circumstances but because of my condition. Don’t get me wrong, I have experienced many circumstances in life including years of infertility, multiple miscarriages, and other losses, and those circumstances were most bearable when the Body of Christ reached in. However, regardless of my circumstances, my condition as a sinner in need of His grace will always be true, and my neediness will always benefit from others in the Body reminding me of and pointing me to Christ. I know I am prone to turn inward, and it helps when others direct me upward and outward. Second takeaway, I don’t have to have experienced the exact same circumstance as someone else in order to be needed by them because ultimately the root of our neediness is the same. They need me to point them to Him, as much as I need them. Thirdly, be willing to reach out to others, and be intentional about it. Jacklyn challenged us to develop action plans for this and I have already been blessed since the retreat by meeting with a couple of ladies that prior to the retreat I had not spent much time with.
I encourage you to consider your neediness. Do you recognize that Christ alone fulfills that need? Are you allowing yourself to be vulnerable so that others can know you and direct you to the Lord? Is there someone that you could pursue, as you remember how the Lord pursues us? I leave you with a couple of quotes from the retreat for you to ponder.
Women’s Ministry Team Member
“The church is not a theological classroom. It is a conversion, confession, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness and sanctification center, where flawed people place their faith in Christ, gather to know and love him better, and learn to love others as he designed.”
― Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands
“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Heidelberg Catechism 1:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong - body and soul, in life and in death -- to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.