I posted 2 days ago about the things I missed while we were out of town last week… it’s always hard being away from the boys, whether it’s on my errand-day once a week, a night away for us, or a week away for a training. I always miss them and seeing all of the new little things they’re learning.
But this time, it was so worth it, because of all of the BIG things I was learning.
The training week was called Living in Grace, and it was a spiritual development conference that focused on teaching us how to do just that — live in grace. We had a couple of lecture sessions each day that focused on various topics centered around the gospel and how the grace of the gospel is played out in our lives. How does it change our hearts, our thoughts, our actions, our relationships? How does the love of God and the grace he extends to us and demonstrates in our lives impact us and those around us? How does an understanding of the gospel and of grace CHANGE us? Because it should.
We also had small group sessions where we discussed this in more intimate, detailed, and personal ways. Josh and Emily were in our small group, plus another couple that we had never met before but became great friends with before we left. We had an amazing small group leader who works with the agency’s mentoring program, helping new missionaries prepare for the field. All of our time spent in the group was precious and meaningful. It’s amazing how much you learn about God through seeing another person’s relationship with Him.
We also had some one-on-0ne time with our small group leader, Sue, where we could talk about some things that were more specific to our particular circumstances. We had amazing worship sessions, and I loved being in the mist of a group of people so passionate about their love for the Lord and hearing them sing so boldly. We had amazing food (3 homecooked meals every day – I think I gained about 25 pounds, then I lost them again walking up the crazy North Carolina hills to and from the cafeteria. ‘Uphill both ways’ is not an expression. It’s the truth.
We also had some free time – an hour or two during the day where we could do whatever we wanted. We were at a camp in the middle of nowhere in the mountains of North Carolina, so just sitting in a rocking chair on a huge front porch while enjoying the view was a great way to spend time. Plus there was a lake with canoes, a rope swing, a slide, innertubes, and more. And ropes courses. And hiking trails with waterfalls. Sometimes Nate and I went and did fun outdoorsy stuff, sometimes we sat in rocking chairs with our Bibles and just talked through some of the things we were learning. All of it was refreshing and a great way for us to reconnect without all of the busyness of babies.
There were several things that really stood out to me during the week that I have been reflecting on alot since we got back.
- Pray for missionaries. I was reminded this week of how important it is to a missionary’s work to have prayer support. So many missionaries are heading to very dark places, to places with people who are hurting in ways we can’t imagine. The strength they need to carry on their work can only be found in Christ – it isn’t something they can do on their own. Pray for them. Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to saturate their ministry, because that is the only way that light and healing can come to the people they are serving. Hearing the stories from some of the other missionaries reminded me of how much of a priority this should be in my prayer life. Saturate the mission field with prayer. It’s the most powerful way we can support them around the world.
- God’s love is so much deeper than I can imagine. I have been convicted about how shallow my understanding of God’s love really is. He loved me before he redeemed me, not because he redeemed me. If I fully understood that concept, it would reflect in everything else in my life. Everything.
- My heart is more in love with itself than it is with God. We talked alot about humility this week, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have an ounce of it in me. Pride runs rampant in my heart, and the only fix for this problem is grace from God. I can’t do anything about it out of my own strength, because if I tackled my pride and became humble, I’d be proud of it. The grace of God is the only cure.
- Repentance is a posture, not an act. A repentant heart is an attitude in all of life, not an action of confession after I sin. It should flow through all of my life and be a constant state of submitting my will to the Father’s.
I could go on, but it gets overwhelming. Suffice it to say that the Lord worked in my heart last week, and He is continuing to work as I sort through it all in my head.
This is yet another reason why I love our agency. They care alot about my heart and my relationship with the Lord. They make sure that I come away from these trainings and can say, “Let me tell you about what I gained…”