This past weekend, I was able to escape into the mountains with some women from our church for our first Table Rock Women’s Retreat. Retreats like these are one of my greatest joys. I love being out in God’s beautiful creation, developing deeper friendships, having time to rest my soul, and learning more about the love of my Savior (not to mention, having someone else make our meals and do the dishes—what an incredible blessing!)
The topic of our retreat this year was “discipleship”—a word that basically means “learning and growing in our knowledge and love of God and loving others by helping them learn and grow in their knowledge and love of God as well.” A few women taught on the subject, some shared personal stories, and we all got to learn from each other through smaller group discussions.
After a sweet time away learning and growing like this, I often feel I’m going to return a much better friend, mother, wife, daughter, co-worker, and follower of Jesus. However, when I return, I often slip back into my old habits and barely seem to have changed at all. This can be incredibly discouraging. Am I really growing and learning and being transformed into someone more like my Savior? Or, am I just the same woman I’ve always been—stuck in the rut of my same sinful patterns?
When we started to discuss this disappointing reality in our small group, however, we were reminded of a very encouraging promise in scripture. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, ARE being transformed into the same image from ONE DEGREE of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” The Bible tells us that we ARE, indeed, being changed into Christ’s likeness as we seek Him. So, we can be encouraged by the fact that transformation IS happening. But, that change doesn’t happen all at once. It’s a process, and it happens one degree at a time. Sometimes, a degree doesn’t seem like much. But, even with the ups and downs that accompany it, one degree of change projected out into the future equates to tremendous growth over time.
So, while I did not return from this retreat fully transformed into the friend, mother, wife, daughter, co-worker, and follower of Jesus that I want to be someday, I did return, by His grace, one degree closer to Him—one degree more like the woman He is faithfully molding me to be! And, for that, I am incredibly thankful! I pray that each of you, also, may not be discouraged in the place where you are, but rather, that you’d be encouraged by the work the Lord has already done in and through your life, and by the incredible significance of the one degree changes He will continue to make as you look to Him! “And, I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
By Katie Miller
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