Folly Beach and Arms Wide Open

Folly Beach Retreat 2014

We sat around the table sharing one of our last meals together. Her face turned red and tears surfaced as the sound of sirens came closer. She had lost her dearly beloved 18-year-old son in a tragic accident 6 years prior on that same road. Pain and grief rushed in, and the only One with the ability to sooth it had been wooing her into His loving embrace all weekend. Truth dipped deep into her heart…the pain of loss remains, but her son is safe in the arms of Love.

Another precious lady who also attended the weekend retreat had lost her son in a tragic accident only 3 years ago. God is using both of their stories to help bring healing to others.

That’s what He does.

God uses our stories of loss, betrayal, abuse, bad choices, depression, and bitterness.  He heals us then uses us to help restore others, ultimately bringing Himself glory.

Six women partnered with Carole and I in praying for these Folly Beach women ahead of time and by name.  Prayer is so vital to anything we do. God gave words for these ladies as they interceded. The “words” God gave them touched every single woman at the retreat in a personal way. Some were elated with joy while others cried as they read.  They couldn’t believe women who knew nothing about them heard God’s voice clearly in regard to them! They witnessed the power of intercession and listening for God’s voice. They were also stunned by how God sees them and knows them so personally.  He doesn’t miss a thing!!  He showed off big, and we all were in awe of Him.

These precious women came worn out by life. While we were together, they leaned in to Love. They learned the power of confession and giving their stuff to Jesus. He set them free… to move forward, to stand up and stand out, to run into the calling and destiny He has for them.

They learned to listen, let it go and let God. With hands open and arms held high, we worshiped. We went on beach walks with Jesus, made lots of new friends, and even washed one another’s feet by candle-light and worship. This broke down walls. They experienced intimacy with God, perhaps for some, like never before.

Every woman left changed in some way. Two women prayed to receive Jesus as Savior.  All of them left their baggage with Jesus.  We witnessed soul resurrection, freedom, salvation, deliverance, and healing…things Jesus did in His ministry here on earth. Wow God!!!  You’re still doing it.  You haven’t changed.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” ~Hebrews 13:8

I’ll never forget their beautiful faces.

Sunday morning we joined them in worship at their church, and they looked brand new. It was amazing how God not only transformed hearts but with that came this beautiful physical transformation.  I’ve discovered the best face-lift, face cream, anti-aging serum is time spent with Jesus… resting in Him. These women were absolutely stunning!

We poured ourselves out.  In return, God gave us gift after gift all weekend. We saw Him seeing us. We saw Him seeing them…beautiful!  Just when we thought He might be all gifted out (which is never), He gave again.

Carole and I were having an intimate conversation during the drive home. In the last hour God began revealing things to both of us about our own stories that carried us into new places of healing. He’s always taking us further, if we’re willing to go with Him. We’re in trouble if we ever think we’ve already arrived.

We drove along tearful over yet another encounter with Holy and an even deeper revelation of His love. Amazing.

Keep taking us deeper Lord. Our arms are wide open to You!

4 thoughts on “Folly Beach and Arms Wide Open

  1. Cindy Malone says:

    Wow. With tears sit and and read this blog and know that I lived that story. It was real. It was God. Thank you and Carole for letting The Holy Spirit use you at just the right place, at just the right time.

  2. Mary says:

    Truth, Love, Holy, Amazing… He certainly is all of this and more! Thanking Him for how He is working through you and Carole to reach and teach others! So sweet!! Sending you lots of love…

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