This weekend a group of women are going away together to retreat. Every year, for the last five, the ladies of our church have taken part in what we call Intermission: an opportunity to take a breather from the daily grind and spend some time intentionally seeking God and what He has for us.
We believe this year, God wants to speak to us of what it means to be rooted and grounded in His love and His church, that we may grow strong and not be knocked over by the winds and storms life throws at us. God reminded us that Isaiah 61:3b says,
‘In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the LORD has planted for his own glory.’
We are the great oaks that have been made righteous. Not only our women that convene on retreat, but women across the universal church. Our hope for this weekend and always is:
…That all women would recognise who they are in Christ, knowing they can grow and mature rooted in His love, rooted in the community they find themselves, and grow into a thick, luscious, fruitful oak tree. Solid, secure, a shelter for others who come and seek shelter, a place of warmth and filled with song. Ancient in their being, filled with wisdom and grace, bearing fruit and seed.
Our hope is that women would recognise roots that may have nestled themselves in their hearts, roots of fear, pain, rejection, hurt, that have become bitterness and strangleholds; and potentially held us back from fully realising the fullness of joy we have being daughters of the King. These things may have come through bullying, dysfunctional family homes, abuse, divorce, loss, miscarriage, imprisonment, sickness, rejection, loss of home.
Our hope is that these roots would be uprooted, by the Holy Spirit, through His Word and powerful, yet gentle Anointing. That He would bring comfort and hope, and a fresh renewal of who He is in our lives. That the tightly packed soil that holds those roots in place, and the toughness of the roots themselves would be loosened and released. That the holes left behind would allow for fresh growth and a turning of the soil.
Our hope is that we would come away more aware of who we are, built up and ready to walk on with our Father. Our hope is that we would be aware of the tools the enemy will use to cause us to stumble, areas he might try and sow a little root to grow in us. Roots that would trip us up and cause us to move away from our Lord.
Our hope is that we would recognise that our environment does not determine who we are, though it may be parched and cracked and dry, it is the soil of our heart and what we place into it that will determine our growth and flourishing. That even in the driest season of our lives, the Spirit is working in us to burst forth new, luscious, juicy life.
Ultimately, Paul said it best when he prayed,
‘that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.’ Eph. 3:16-19
Wherever you are, whoever you are, may you be rooted and grounded in His steadfast love, knowing just how great it is for you today – through a personal experience with Him. May you receive the full complement and know copiousness and plenitude. May the ship of your heart be filled with cargo and crew, and may the city of your heart have no empty houses.
May you never move away from the hope of the Gospel, but know that in His sight you are holy, blameless and without reproach.