Well, for all those waiting with great anticipation...overall, it was a really good weekend. :)
(Warning - this is a little long)
I was able to truly enjoy everyone's company and have some great conversations with people at meals and during down times. There were times enjoying those I already am close to, and times getting to know others better. (I'm glad I am able to keep investing in new and old relationships even knowing that I'm leaving soon.) I had fun asking people what advice they had for me as I prepare for marriage, something they wished they had known or had since learned. (I'll do a post later with some of my favorite answers.) The times of worship were really sweet, and I was much less distracted than I usually find myself at church. And God sent me specific words 3 different times.
I'm starting to have some real anticipation for what God wants to do with me in Saltillo (Mexico). To receive so many clear words from Him in such a short time both encourages me and makes me curious. Here's some of the highlights:
From the woman who came with the speaker:
"God pointed you out to me last night and told me that you are pregnant spiritually. You will birth this 'baby' when you arrive in Mexico - this is a fresh anointing, a new ministry, to bring salvation and freedom to those youth and adults you will minister to. Even though you will be going as a 'gringo', it will be as though you are a fresh rain and they will absorb from you as if they were a dry sponge."
From one of the older woman from my church:
"You've waited a long time for a husband - but it was because you needed the experiences you've had to prepare you for how He wants to use you. You will stand out, be different in how you look, how you sound - but that will draw people to you and you will be able to minister to them."
From a woman I was once a flower girl for:
(This one was more a prayer that sometimes morphed into something God was saying)
"I pray that God would birth new pathways in your brain to be able to learn the Spanish quickly. I feel God is going to miraculously cause you to be able to learn the language quickly. And you are nervous, hurting to leave so many here, because you are afraid your limited Spanish will make it difficult for you to form close relationships there - but God will do it. You are feeling a tearing in leaving this place, but I pray God would sear your heart in the wounded places and heal the pain."
These words, combined with some of the teaching from the speaker, have me rethinking and wondering about the prophesy I was given a couple weeks ago. For example, I understandably took the part about delays to refer to all the changing plans this year. But I'm seeing now how it could be referring to a much bigger picture than that. I had hopes that the verbal gift meant I'd quickly learn the language. I'm still believing for divine help with that, especially after the prayer above. But the speaker this weekend had a way of categorizing spiritual gifts (verbal gifts, power gifts, etc), that combined with the word given me about a new ministry, has me thinking about other interpretations of that. Finally, OTRgirl had asked me if I thought the missionary part could simply refer to how God wanted to use me while living my married life in Saltillo. At the time, that did not strike a chord with me, but I also didn't have a clue where it might be that God would send me. I'm wondering now, though, if that might be it after all.
Finally, I know you are all wondering if I cried all weekend ;)
I actually hardly did at all. It wasn't until testimony time on Sunday that I started to lose it, especially when the speaker had our former (deceased) pastor's daughters pray for his heart and anointing to be on the new/current pastor's wife. What really did me in, though, was knowing that I wanted and needed to somehow express to these women who are like family my love and appreciation for them. I kept holding back, knowing that if I went up front to share, I'd bawl (happens every time!). Finally, I went up, made a joke about how I always cry (a few chuckles), started sobbing (lots of chuckles), and said, "So I'm not even going to try and say anything, except that I hope by coming up here, you know my heart." Quite a few ladies came and gave me hugs before the morning was over and assured me they did indeed. Which of course prompted more tears on my part. But it felt refreshing, healing, full of love.
All in all, a great 'last' retreat.