“Dear, do you want to go for the prayer retreat?” My hubby asked, after he saw it in the bulletin.
Of course I wanted to go! But I was hesitant as that would be a busy weekend for us. Then a lady called Jennifer invited me to go for the retreat and even offered to help me sign up! Now, I have no excuse not to go!
Finally! The day arrived!! On the morning of 24 March 2018, grabbing my journal, Bible and breakfast, I hopped out of the house into my car and drove expectantly to The Botanic Gardens. The Botanic Gardens is a beautiful place and I had met God many times there. Our guide was Ms Esther Tzer Wong, a soft-spoken and gentle lady. She taught us contemplative breathing, directed us to read different verses SLOWLY in the Bible, reminded us to be quiet before the Lord so we can hear Him and encouraged us to write down what we have received from the Lord in a folder she gave us.
Our first reflection point was at the Symphony Lake. Here, the Lord showed me 3 things:
-A good and clear reflection is only possible when the water is still. It is only when our hearts are still that we can see who God really is and who we really are. It is important for me to find my ‘still waters’ and ‘quiet pastures’ (Psalm 23) so I can hear God.
-However, it is not always possible to see good and clear reflections because of the wind, the fish or the leaves – other things that can affect our lives. While God, You, showed us the brokenness in us, You, The Perfect One, sent Jesus and He was broken for us so we are made whole.
-What You desire and Your plans will be accomplished, in spite of our brokenness, because of what You have done through Your Son, Jesus.
Then I saw a grandfather, a father and a young daughter taking a walk. This brought back the first vision God gave me – that of a little girl holding the huge hands of a very big man, who’s actually God Himself. God was reassuring me that not only is He holding my hand, He is behind me and Jesus is in front of me; I felt really secure to be able to see that! The grandfather kept looking out for the granddaughter, making sure she doesn’t fall into the lake; I know God is doing the same for me. Then the father held the daughter’s hand, brought her close to the lake and showed her something he wanted her to see. I thank God that Jesus is holding my hand and is showing me the wonderful world He has created for me.
The second reflection point is at the Ginger Garden where there is a small waterfall. Esther suggested that we take a walk through the waterfall, remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross, especially since we are in the season of Lent. I walked through the waterfall, remembering that I was born again 30 years ago when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Thank you God for your assurance and affirmation of Your Presence then and again, at the retreat. God had been sovereign and in full control. As we walked from the Palm Valley at Symphony Lake up to the Ginger Garden, I was reminded that God carried me through all my valleys and He lifted me out of every pit.
I looked for a bench at a quiet spot but there were people everywhere! Finally, I decided to sit on a solitary bench just behind a building next to the generator. The generator was very noisy – but amazingly, the Lord helped me to focus on Him. I felt the Lord telling me He will bless me and fill me in torrents as I open myself to the Lord, like what Psalm 42:7 says
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
What a contrast this is to the silence I heard a year ago when I was in despair! As I marvelled at this revelation, I saw a man carrying a bunch of polka dotted balloons. It was as if God was celebrating my Re-Birth-day, celebrating me because I am worth celebrating – the Apple of His eye. I wanted to soak in the moment forever but it was time to go back at the waterfall. I wanted to ask Esther if I could go off and continue my retreat with the Lord. Instead, out of courtesy, I checked if the retreat was over. Esther said there will be a time of sharing at lunch at Mr Prata. I knew instantly that God wanted me to be there.
Before heading to lunch, Esther led all the ladies through the waterfall. She told us to take our time to walk and ponder. I was extremely delighted at the extended time given to commune with God!! As soon as I entered the waterfall, I had to stop and face the rock and whip out my journal to write down all my thanksgivings. Here’s an excerpt from my journal…
Thank you God I am walking through the waterfall again – it’s like you are making it real for me and emphasizing the blessings you have for me – ever flowing! Thank you for being my Rock and my Refuge (Psalm 31). Help me to never forget that – not to backslide and doubt.
Thank you for your pure water that cleanses, that Living Water that refreshes – EVERYTIME. Thank you that you give ever so freely. Remind me to keep asking you for it because I WILL RECEIVE (Matthew 7:7-8). Thank you for your Peace and Joy that comes with that Living Water. Thank you that it will NEVER end.
Thank you God that you love me and I am your Masterpiece. I am precious to you and you will never leave me or forsake me (Joshua 1:5)!! Thank you that you keep my tears in your bottle (Psalm 56:8NKJV) and you meet me at my points of need. Thank you that you can help me laugh at the days to come (Proverbs 31:25) and allow me to bear fruit even in my old age (Psalm 92:14)…
Eventually, I walked out of the waterfall and found Amelia waiting for me. The others have walked ahead. It was a good and silent walk, as I reflected on what God had told me at the waterfall. I gave thanks for Amelia’s quiet company – a reminder that God will send sisters who accept me to journey with me. After I parked my car near Mr Prata, I had to walk past a row of closed windows of a preschool to meet the other ladies. God impressed upon me that He will open these windows of opportunities for me in His Time. There and then, He opened the first window at Mr Prata – God wanted me to share my reflections so He can nourish the souls of my sisters. May the Lord continue to reveal what’s on His heart so that the Body of Christ will be strengthened.