CROWNED WITH BEAUTY | RECESS SMALL GROUP | HOU, TX - Fall 2018
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
“Coming into RECESS, I was desperate for rest. Being a teacher, you frequently hear the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It was a motto I had adopted for my life, and I was continually thinking, coming up with extravagant plans of how life would go and figuring out ways to execute my plans. Just before RECESS, my plans were shaken. I was desperate, trying to grasp and grab hold of my elaborate plans that were being carried away. I’d pray, quote Scripture, and feel peace in that moment. But it was fleeting, for I quickly returned to my scheming.
Through RECESS, God broke the chains of perfection and planning and my Type A label. The doubts of “Are you really good God? Are you really faithful?” were silenced. The Lord revealed truth to me that His goodness and faithful is not dependent on my planning, and I don’t have to have it all together. He is bigger than my plans. He filled my heart with hope and peace. And He has taught me how to remain there.
I’ve found that being in His presence and resting there is so much more powerful and effective than any of my planning sessions. By learning how to rest in Him, I’ve learned to relinquish my grasp of worry and control and instead hold tight to the hope and joy He brings.”- Andrea, 25
“I think when I first started RECESS, I was so exhausted. I was worn out. Felt unseen. Overlooked. Reserved. I was tired of trying. I felt like I kept missing out on what God had for me. I had the idea that God was only good when He was proud of me—that He only blessed me and rewarded me when I had it all together. I knew He loved me because He loved everyone. He cared about me because, of course, He cared about everyone. I felt like I was just another grain in the sand. I felt like seasons were going to shift for so long, but nothing changed. So I thought this was just going to be another thing. Another bandaid on the heartbreak. But nothing would really change.
I walked in on that first night of RECESS and in our first reflection time, God began to speak to me. He started to answer questions in my depths. Before I even had words for what I needed, He knew. He spoke against any lie that I believed. He began to chisel away the walls and the lies that I believed. He started to loosen my grip on what I was holding onto so tightly. Instead of being angry and upset and disappointed, He kindly showed me the better way. He didn’t point out my sin to shame me or to make a mockery of me, but He showed me how I could have something so much better.
He has shown me how He has loved me. Just me. Not me because He loves every person. But the things that are just for me. He has showed me that in the midst of my mess, He is there, He sees me, and His love for me is still so deep.
I have begun to see His kindness for me everywhere. In the traffic. In the running late. In the mistakes. In even the playing the sweet songs on the radio. He sees me. Every part of me. He sees every part of who I have been until this point, and He loves me still. I have learned that being seen isn’t a bad thing—that I can let Him shine a light into every crevice of me, and He doesn’t want to expose me, but He wants to redeem every ounce of darkness and deception.
Just before RECESS, I felt like I was walking into to the Promised Land, like the Israelites. I knew for a long time that I was about to step into something good, but I felt that for months and nothing changed. My circumstances were still hard, and I felt so drained. But a few weeks into RECESS, I heard God say, ‘This is it. This is what you’ve been waiting for.’
The closeness and intimacy with Him has been so different than what I have felt before. The earthly Promise Land has been so much more than what I could have imagined or hoped for. God has shown me that He is God who gives and gives abundantly, and I love that this is only a glimpse to what the eternal Promise Land is like.” – Donika, 29
“I’m still processing much of what I have learned the past few months in RECESS. However, from what I can gather, I think one of the recurring threads that strings many of the pieces together is learning who the Spirit is, believing He can do what He says He can, and learning how to be sensitive and obedient instead of leaning on myself and my own strength.
It reminds me of my pole vaulting days back in high school. I remember I would get so frustrated because some girls who unable to run as fast or do as many pull-ups as me would beat me because they had better form. While I was leaning on my own strength, they were leaning on physics and the mechanics of the sport. Strength is no match for proper technique and physics.
In the same way, for so long I’ve tried to muscle my way through my relationship with God. And I think that God is saying, ‘Why do you make it harder than it needs to be? Why do you settle for self and lean on your own strength when you have the Spirit?’ No amount of knowledge or strength can hold a candle to the Holy Spirit.
Because of RECESS, I now crave to learn more how to worship in truth and spirit, I yearn to learn how to collide child-like faith and wisdom, and I desire to be with Father more than to just simply know about Him. I hope and pray that I will never be the same.” – Katherine, 23
“God has done amazing things in my life these past 10 weeks through RECESS. I went from having a rock-hard heart to having my child-like faith restored. Thank you, God. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Holy Spirit! He helped me open up about wounds from my past. He broke through the strongholds and helped me see those wounds no longer define me. He broke through the lie of being unworthy to praise Him. Through Jesus, I am worthy. I am worthy to worship and to talk to Him freely.
He showed me that I’m loved by Him and that the only love I need is His love. I am satisfied with His love. He showed me what it looks like to hear Him. I’m still learning what His voice sounds like, but I trust Him to teach me. I trust in the Holy Spirit to judge my thoughts and actions and the earthly things. Praise you, Jesus. He is making me stronger to fight against earthly pleasures. It’s hard sometimes to fight temptation, but I’ve learned it is worth the fight because He is greater. His love is better than life. I chose to lay down my goals and ways because I only want to live the life He wants me to live.