"I am free and I am alive!" – Rachel’s Vineyard™ Retreatant
June 29, 2012
We share the image of Christ dancing with joy with our retreatants as they begin their journey. It puts a smile in their hearts, visualizing Him, giving them the courage to walk through the doors to the source of the healing that awaited them.
Twelve people walked through the doors of the Spanish Rachel’s Vineyard™ retreat last Friday (among them were two men). And twelve people walked out on Sunday full of joy, huge smiles on their faces and many inquiries of how they could get more involved in their parishes; how they could have their marriages blessed; and how they could stay close to God to keep that new found joy and forgiveness in their hearts. The shame was gone. Their hearts were bursting with new life!
God’s grace, in answer to the prayers of those supporting the Retreat, makes this transformation possible. When we meet for the first time on Friday, that is one of the things I hear the most – "I came because there were people praying for me, and I owed them that much to come . . . and see if it was really true that this God of ours could forgive what I know to be unforgiveable." Thank you all for your prayers!
They will need your prayers still, as they go out into the world and learn a new way of life along a road with ups and downs and unknown curves and potholes. They know they do not walk alone; that they no longer walk in the painful and dark shadow of shame and guilt. As one retreatant shared: "I opened the Bible in the chapel and read the part where Pilate told Jesus he could go, because he was not guilty. God spoke to me! I AM NOT GUILTY ANYMORE! I am free and I am alive!"
On Sunday morning, I tear open the curtains of the main meeting room, which shocks the retreatants as they have remained closed for two days. It is always a beautiful scene of nature bathed in glorious sunshine. (God does His part really well!) I point outside and tell them . . . there is the world outside waiting for you. The new you! The forgiven and the loved you! You can go now! You are brave and strong and you are on a path of healing now. Go in peace and know that you are not alone.
There are always gasps of fear and self doubt as they look outside, and then the smiles spread across their faces as they realize they are ready. Joy floods the room, as they look around at their new family – ready to walk with God!
Thank you for your prayers. Without prayers, we would be much less. Thank you!
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