A Garment of Praise

Last weekend, we were joined in Greystones, Ireland, just south of Dublin, by 10 beautiful, amazing ladies. Let me tell you, these ladies came to worship! My, oh, my! As a worship leader, you have to be careful not to judge someone's level of engagement by their body language. Often there is much going on beneath the surface of which you may never know. However, when you get a group of ladies who are outwardly expressive, dancing, kneeling and singing loudly - even the songs they're hearing for the first time - it is so much fun!!

God honored us yet again with His powerful presence. He met each one so uniquely and powerfully through the various components of the weekend. I wish I could adequately describe some of the things we do at a Dash Away Weekend and how God ministers through them. It might help you with context, but honestly, it's impossible to articulate. These weekends must be experienced to be understood.

I'm always at a loss for words to describe what these ladies are experiencing and how Dash Away is affecting them, so I'll let some of them speak for themselves. These testimonies are from this past weekend.

"I have struggled with guilt for the last 9 years. God showed me this weekend, helped hugely by Melinda and Cathy, it wasn't guilt but shame and it wasn't my fault, it just happened. Thank you both so much. you will never know how much this has helped me. xx"
"I experienced a very personal and intimate connection with Father God, unlike anything I've experienced before. The Father revealed his overwhelming Love and desire for me and I felt so loved on for the entire weekend by him."
"God showed me who I really am. That I am worthy, I am an extraordinary strong woman who got through so many trials that I can encourage others through my testimonies. I am not ashamed anymore because I know that I am accepted, I am loved, I am worthy and I am strong. God showed me how to hear him which was an awesome experience. I really loved the weekend."
"This weekend was a gift from God for me, to be by the sea, to be with Christian sisters, to sing, to rest and to be still and listen to Him. God encouraged me to stop being the little red hen, and let Him orchestrate / conduct the symphony of my life. He is in charge of the 'movements' and when comes the flourishing finish / finale. I came away very grateful. It was a real retreat, and it felt sad when we drove back into the 'world'."

One of the ladies had a word for us after the retreat finished on Sunday.  She saw us in a bridal chamber, attending to the bride and helping her get ready for her bridegroom.  The Bride is the Church and Jesus is her Groom. He was so pleased with us. This is our vision, our mission - to help the Bride get ready.  What we're doing is not easy. It is hard fought, but it is so worth it. Whenever we get discouraged, all we have to do is read or watch the testimonies of what God has done and is doing. We are so humbled and honored to be part of it!

We have been under a significant spirit of heaviness over the past few weeks. Last week, we were Skyping with 2 of our UK Advisors, processing some of what we have been having to navigate on this trip.  The last thing they said to us was that if there was any dis-unity between Melinda and myself, we could be sure that it was spiritual warfare. Working so closely together doing such intense ministry can bring its own set of relational challenges, but when a spirit of division wanders in, we have a problem.

The thing is, our battle is not against flesh and blood. We have an adversary. He's not happy with us. He will go to great lengths to divide and distract us, however, he knows he has already lost- and he is a sore loser. We are so grateful that although we are still recovering from the battles we've fought over the past few weeks, the spirit of division has been defeated and the spirit of heaviness has been replaced with a garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3). We did not finish this past weekend completely drained on every level as we typically are.

Joy has returned and we will finish strong.

We are now back in Scotland rounding the final corner and heading into the last UK/Ireland Dash Away Weekend of 2016. It has gone by so fast!  We've learned so much over the past 2 months of ministry.  We've successfully navigated significant and painful challenges.  We've experienced victory over intense enemy push back.  We've been stretched beyond what we thought we were capable.  We've navigated difficult decisions and had painful conversations. We've learned so much about ourselves, our limitations and our capabilities.  We've pushed through when we've wanted to give up.  We've grown. We've changed.

Bring on Dash Away #30!

To be continued...