I was extremely apprehensive about going to this last retreat. This was my first big trip since getting sick again this past February. Traveling to rural Tennessee with 3 kids, working my nutrition clients, leading a small group for the first time in years, and speaking made feel vulnerable. It felt super scary and exhausting. To be honest, it was one of those days when I felt like I could leave ministry. It was also one of those days I was glad there was a team to lean on which felt like a saving grace for me.
Transitioning into the first day of the retreat was hard for me. I left town just on the heels of my daughter losing her first ballgame and needing to process her experience. We were still both sad. The drive itself was 12 hours, and I have bursitis in my hip that acts up when I drive. Though I was on the road, I was still coaching my nutrition clients as well as trying to partner with Doug on the opening session of the retreat. I also had to make sure my babies felt safe in this new environment. Is this really worth it?
That first small group was emotionally challenging for me. Hearing the stories some of the women told made me want to go back on Prozac and anxiety meds. It’s hard to believe that humans do those things to children! Looking at their faces and hearing them say this is their only hope was a lot of pressure when I was already feeling so overwhelmed.
“But when you are weak, that is when God’s love finds you.”
God’s love found me. The people who hosted the school in their home were so kind. They had considered my children and bought them a lot of fun gifts to play with. When we walked outside, the kids’ chalk artwork covered every inch of concrete they had. My children’s hearts were full! That night, I slept. Even with hearing the stories and not being in my bed. I slept. The next day, hearing other people’s stories at the school, I found peace despite the horror. I began to see the beautiful people. God’s people. People are worth it. No, I cannot help all of the people that have been broken and ravaged. But I helped this one! And I helped that one. And then I looked up that last day, and WE, the team, had helped them all! Every single one had a testimony. Every single one stopped someone to tell them a story of healing and freedom.
I received a thank you note from a woman who said, “Thank you for not giving up! For being strong, for making the enemy pay! For giving your life for others. I can’t ever thank God enough for you, your family, and everyone here at Shiloh Place.” I watched this woman go from looking down and folding in on herself in fear, to holding her head up and saying for the first time, “I deserve to be in this world just like everyone else; and I am going hold my head up from now on.”
And then I remembered, it’s so very worth it.
The best story I have ever heard came from this school. A pizza delivery man was at the school. Get this . . . He had heard about Shiloh Place because of a pizza delivery run! He delivered pizza twice to the same house, and on the second time, the woman gave him Experiencing the Father’s Embrace book. AND he read it! He started searching the internet and found YouTube videos of Dad speaking and said I have to go there. He came and was deeply set free. Not just from emotional pain, but had a deep encounter concerning PTSD when Robin and Phyllis shared about Robin’s miraculous healing with PTSD. And all that from a pizza delivery run!
When I came to Tennessee, I felt weak and vulnerable, with a responsibility to make something happen. And yet as the week passed I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:7;
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
When I gave up on my own strength, letting God and the team come together, things happened! People were changed.
When I read the thank you note, the phrase “everyone here at Shiloh Place” stood out to me. The thing about an encounter (a school), that makes them SO effective, is the team! Because in each one of our team members our Father poured out as they gave of themselves. The speaking only scratches the surface. It’s the small groups. The meals together. The interaction. The appropriate touch through hugs and conversations, etc. But she was not only speaking to us, she was also writing to YOU! From monthly supporters to one time donations, to intercessors, to speakers, to small group leaders, to the churches and people who host our events, YOU are all a part of Shiloh Place.
I am so thankful I went. I realize many of these people would not have been able to get to a Shiloh Place event if we had not gone to Tennessee. They needed us to come to them. I want to stop and thank those of you that regularly give to our support which practically allows us to say yes to opportunities like this. You are a treasure. Without you, none of this could be possible!
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!
If you would like to join our Support Family, we would love to talk to you or you can go directly to shilohplace.org/donate. For those of you who want to invest in SPM team travel, we have added a fund for that called “Travel” to our online giving platform. This is to specifically offset costs associated with travel. When a church invites us in they pay all or most of the travel expenses along with an offering. When we do retreats, we pay travel. The team also pays their travel expenses. This fund would specifically go to helping with those expenses. To access it, click on the drop-down menu under “Give” once you come to the page with the donation form.
Thank you for your consideration. Blessings!