Last weekend, I spoke at a retreat in Northbrook, IL, offering material from my book, The Wide Open Spaces of God. It was perhaps one of the richest experiences I have participated in to date. I have continued to reflect, asking God for insight into the unique dynamics that created such a responsive environment.
I read something in Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, and it helped name at least one of the dynamics that I experienced. He said in his chapter on worship that "When more than one or two come into public worship with a holy expectancy, it can change the atmosphere of a room. People who enter harried and distracted are drawn quickly into a sense of the silent Presence. Hearts and minds are lifted upward. The air becomes charged with expectancy."
It was a spirit of expectancy that permeated the planning process. Every time this team contacted me, via email or phone calls, they had an expectant attitude, often naming how God was already working through the details of their planning. Their anticipation was contagious. As I prepared myself for the retreat, I looked forward, as well. I began to expect God.
On Friday evening, they prayed with me before hand and when the conference began, the spirit of expectancy began to spread. Women were deeply engaged, hungry to wrestle with the terrain of each landscapes we explored. It was a sacred experience and one that I will cherish for a very long time.
I bless God and the team at North Suburban for their hearts and hard work. Most of all, I am grateful to them for sowing this spirit of expectancy. Women were poised to experience God because of it.