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Time Away to Grow Closer to God
By Kelly McCausey 
Apr 7, 2003, 17:34

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I just went to a Women's Conference in Grand Rapids. It was really fantastic. It was such a refreshing time! I was with three other women and we all came home with something different! Each of us received a personal touch from God.

The Lord really spoke to my heart about some things and brought about fresh healing and deliverance through the messages and the people.

How does that work? Why is that when we travel to a new place and hear from some new people, suddenly there is more breakthrough than we have been able to get at home?

Well, there are many reasons. Here are just a few:

Fresh Perspective

Most of us are in church once or twice a week. So we are already hearing the Word of God taught regularly, but when we go to a Women's Conference or Retreat, we hear a message that is just for us. The issues and concerns of Women take center stage. And it is not just about parenting and marriage.

The conference I just attended had the theme of "Follow the Trail". The speaker was encouraging us all to imagine God's best for our lives and then go for it! She told us over and over how beautiful we are and that we have been created for greatness. You know, we need to hear that! Many times! Because it is all true!

Maybe she didn't say anything that we haven't heard before - but there was something about her fresh perspective that helped us to really "get the message." If I have to get out of my comfort zone for a couple days to hear that God thinks I am beautiful and capable and destined for great things - then I'll do it!

Time to Listen & Extended Worship

"Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17) How much time do you usually spend being verbally exhorted by the Word of God? 30 minutes on Sunday? 45 minutes at Bible Study?That's great! But imagine spending 5 or six hours listening to an anointed speaker or teacher? At my recent conference I spent 3-4 hours listening to the main speaker and another 2 hours at workshops. I spent very close to 3 hours in wonderful Praise & Worship. All this in one evening and one day! It was like the difference between a quick shower and a luxurious bubble bath!

We can't take those long, relaxed bubble baths every day! But we can certainly make time for them every now and then can't we? And you know that I am not knocking our Sunday Services. Sunday at our church is a wonderful celebration service. Our worship is great and the messages are anointed. I just love to be able to dive into more when I get the chance!

Is it any wonder that after 6 hours of Worship and the Word that we can hear God's voice more clearly? I was incredibly blessed on the way home from this weekend to hear God speaking to me about a subject that I have not heard from Him on in so long. It certainly wasn't because He hadn't been trying to talk to me about it, it was because I was not listening.

Time to Process

I traveled about three hours from home for this conference. I stayed in a nice hotel room with two of my companions. We were all hearing a lot from God in the messages and thankfully gave each other time to digest! When we receive new revelation, we need time to process it. For me that means a good mix of discussion and silent consideration!

You can always tell when the Holy Spirit has "rang my bell" on an issue. I with either get absolutely quiet or I will cry! It's a lot like a child that has been busted for something that they thought they had gotten away with! It is uncomfortable and at the same time liberating! Uncomfortable because I know I have to deal with it! Liberating because now I can deal with it!

God loves us so much, there isn't anything that we need to be afraid of when He puts His finger on something in our lives. But a lot of times, I will know that there is something that God wants to deal with me on, but I am so busy and so constrained by time that I fear letting go and letting Him do what He wants to do. Who know, once the tears start, how long they will flow?

That is the beauty of a get-a-way. When you get into the car and head out of town, give God your watch! Give God your cell phone! Allow Him to control the schedule! You will not be sorry!


Many women, especially women in ministry, find it very difficult to relax and be ministered to by the people around them. Fear of rejection and judgment can keep us from sharing our struggles. I know that there are some women who will probably never take down the barriers and I have a lot of compassion for them. I lived enough years behind barriers. I know the pain that hides behind them.

I first learned to come out from behind my protective walls at a women's retreat. In a very safe and somewhat anonymous environment I was able to reach out to other women and let them see something of me that I had never shared with anyone before. It was a terrifying but deeply rewarding experience. Since then, I have learned to practice a deeper intimacy with the women in my life.

It is okay, if you need anonymity to test the waters of life outside barriers. An out of town conference or retreat may be the perfect place to share some struggles with woman who will minister God's love to you and most retreats offer these kind of opportunities for personal ministry. When you don't personally know the person who is ministering to you, it somehow becomes easier to see that they are simply Jesus with skin on. We can hear the truth that they speak in love and receive it without fearing that they have peppered it with their personal knowledge of us.

It is not okay, however, if you never learn to let people that know you close to you. Eventually we must learn to share ourselves with others, or our lives will be distant and empty. We were created for intimacy! We crave it! We thrive on it! Don't let the enemy rob you of it. Take the first steps, find a retreat that speaks to your heart and go! Ask God to direct your path and lead you to someone who will be an extension of His love to you and take the plunge! Share someone of yourself. You will be so blessed if you do.

So what are you waiting for?

I remember when I was a very young Christian, I was not a "joiner". I found it very difficult to go to group events. It took a lot of courage to go to my first women's event for an evening. It would be years before I accepted an invitation to a weekend retreat! I am sorry now that I waited so long! I was missing out on so much! I hope that you will look for a retreat to go to soon!

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