I took the plunge and attended my first retreat, voluntarily. Not just any retreat, but a woman’s retreat

… is your skin crawling yet? If you have spent more than five minutes with me you would know that I am

not a retreat kind of girl, especially not a woman’s retreat. My past is checkered and my journey has

been a long road with potholes and road blocks, the last place I want to be is in a room full of women

holding hands singing Kumbaya, but I felt led to go so I forked over the money and packed my bags.

Here’s the thing, when you decide to step out in faith Satan takes notice: Not only does he take notice

he’s going to get in the game, far too often we don’t give credit where credit is due. If you take time to

study God’s word you will find that Satan is real, and though he has been defeated by God he wants to

wreak havoc while he has the chance. Ephesians 6:12 says “For our struggle is not against flesh and

blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against

the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.” The struggle is real and he will attack in every which

way he can. Here are a few ways I have seen this play out in my life.

He lulls us into idleness with pride, busyness and deceit: When I first learned about the retreat I got a

little excited, this feeling surprised me because as I mentioned above, I have never considered attending

an event like this. God had been placing people in my life that started to change my opinion and peaked

my curiosity. However my life is crazy with four kids and I rarely get to spend time with my husband so …

I didn’t sign up until the week before. Satan almost won. It’s possible you have been in my shoes, you

feel a little push to do something but you can come up with SO MANY REASONS not too. Maybe you

have been tricked into thinking that the topic wouldn’t pertain to you; you may have missed an

opportunity to share your wisdom with women that are fighting the same battles as you. Perhaps you

thought your life was too busy to take a weekend for yourself; if you don’t take care of yourself there

will be nothing left for you to give. You may be thinking been there, done that; don’t underestimate the

power of God to reach you through another’s teaching and trials.

He plays on our insecurities: Do you have a mental tape playing in your head? What does it sound like?

Mine tends to sound like this, “Did you really just eat that? No wonder why you can’t lose weight. If only

you had finished college, you would fit in better. Remember that one time at band camp?” You get the

idea. This time was no different. I am fairly new to the area and didn’t really know anyone that was

going to the retreat? I knew a few women by name and had a few conversations with a handful of

others, besides that I was going in blind. Out of the 108 women I probably knew five of them, needless

to say I was a bit apprehensive to attend the retreat. The week leading up to the retreat my thoughts

went to dark places about not fitting in, sitting alone all weekend, being stuck in a cabin with four

women I knew nothing about…

When you take a step of faith God goes before you and leaves what I call little nuggets of gold for you

along the way. The first night as I was walking to the dining hall I started chatting it up with a couple

women, after a few pleasantries I asked how long they had been attending our church. They looked at

one another and smiled as one of them spoke up and said, “We don’t attend your church, I am speaking

at your event.” They invited me to sit with them at dinner and later on during the conference as well. I

was able to have a few intimate chats with each of them that I may not have had the courage to have

had I known they were both Christian speakers. One of them had just gone through some of the

struggles I am now walking through and she was able to speak love and light into my current situation.

Then, as if God decided to show off a little, the gal I carpooled with happens to be struggling with some

of the same issues as me. She grew up in the church and was able to share some wisdom and bring me

some reassurance. Isn’t God awesome?

He’ll hit you where it hurts: Satan can be so cunning you don’t often see his handiwork, but when all of

his other attempts have failed he hits below the belt! We all know a way to a woman’s heart is through

her family and I am no different. Twenty-four hours before I deployed to the women’s retreat I got a

phone call from my son’s school, he had broken his collar bone during recess. This gave me the perfect

opportunity to bow out of my obligation, no questions asked. I panicked and worried about how my

husband would survive the weekend with the kids, particularly one that is now injured (Side note: The

answer is ice cream, pizza and movies) After much reassurance from my husband I was more

determined than ever to get to the retreat. I knew that if satan was trying to deter me from going there

was going to be something life changing there for me and I didn’t want to miss it. Had I not spent the

months leading up to the retreat in God’s word I may not have been wise enough to see the scheme.

Satan comes to seek, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and I was not giving up so quickly.

In a study I am doing by Jennie Allen she quotes a pastor named Tommy Nelson and his talk called “If I

Were the Devil”. He starts out by saying, “If I was the devil, I’ll tell you what I’d do”, he goes on to list

the ways satan deceives us:” I would disqualify you, I would try to make you successful, I would distract

you, I would divide you, I’d discourage you, I’d try death”. There is much more to his talk, but do you get

the point? Do any of these sound familiar? 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober of mind. Your enemy

the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

While we need to be aware of satan and his schemes. We need to loudly declare peace and victory

through Christ. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will

have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

I don’t know what your next step of faith is, but I encourage you take it. Is it doing a bible study?

Creating space in your schedule for a quiet time to dive into God’s promises? Maybe your next step is

going to church for the first time or being bold enough to ask the questions that keep you from taking

the plunge into Christianity. Whatever your next step is, take it, God is waiting for you with open arms!