Saturday, April 14, 2018

Velvet Ashes Day

One of my reasons for staying here in Croatia after Dave and our friends left, was to invest some extended time in my walk with the Lord. I wanted to just spend days alone with him, but also be purposeful about it too.

And one of the ways I planned to do that was through an online retreat for women doing life and ministry overseas by a group called "Velvet Ashes".

I did the retreat last year and was so moved by it that I've been thinking about it all year, and looking forward to another one this year. And that happened today!

The retreat takes place online over the course of a week and you can do it any time during that week, either solo or in a group. Today was the first day it was open to participate in.

It is brilliantly designed, and while I don't know these ladies personally, I can tell that they have invested a lot of time, heart and passion in it. And no doubt they've been covered in prayer. You feel it the whole time, that the Spirit is moving.

Sometimes in really crazy ways.

There was a section of teaching where afterwards there were reflection questions to answer. I spent quite a bit of time responding to the Lord, and was so moved by something that I went out on the terrace to stand with my arms lifted up to him to signify my commitment to him.

Just a few minutes earlier, as I was journaling, I had said, "I know you're in this and I am going to go outside and stand in faith that what you're telling me is true. But oh how I wish there was a way you could confirm it to me."

After standing on the terrace and telling him this out loud (hoping the neighbors didn't hear me!), I opened my eyes and saw this boat going by.

What led me to get the binoculars to look at it is one of those mysterious things that can only be explained supernaturally. I hadn't used the binoculars all week, but had gotten them out this morning and set them on the table (see the photo at the top) without knowing why.

When I zeroed in on that boat, going by at that moment, my eyes about popped out of my head when I read the name on the boat. Are you ready for it???


Do you know what the Hebrew name Emanuel/Immanuel means? GOD WITH US!! I truly about fell over!!

I looked it up later and sure enough there is a tour boat agency here in Croatia called Emanuel Tours. Never before had I heard of it, much less seen it going by. But of COURSE, the Lord would show it to me today, when I needed his affirmation. So stunning of him!!!

The rest of the day was that stunning as he met me over and over again through the teaching and reflection times.

The retreat is multi-faceted with not only spiritual input, but possibilities for physical activity, artistic endeavors and body care. But today I wasn't up for their kick-boxing activity, so decided to take a walk instead to process.

The Lord even met me here! Do you see the crazy likeness of the vines to the clouds in the sky? I honestly didn't see it until I looked at the photo. But when I did I saw his handprints there, and in other places on my walk.

Even something as simple as flowers in the middle of the dirt path spoke to me.

Not to mention that today was the sunniest and most beautiful day since I began this week alone. I was full of gratefulness to the Lord all day!

I finished up the retreat late this afternoon, so full of love for the Lord, and thankfulness to this team of women who care about women like me.

I've written pages of notes and will for sure be thinking on and pondering what I learned for months to come. That's the sign of a good retreat!

I came away to a quiet place and he met me here. What a sweet gift from him.

Printable made available through Velvet Ashes; designed by my friend, Avery Michaels


  1. I am so touched that you would invite those of us who read your blog to vicariously come with you on your journey this week via your retreat. WOW!!!! I literally CANNOT believe (and yet I CAN!) that the Trinity let a boat go by with the name EMANUEL on it. Can't you just envision the Three sitting or standing together and laughing (as Psalm 2 says They do) while saying, "Wait for it...wait for it...THERE IT IS..Connie saw the name of the boat we sent by her place with our name on it!!!). LOVE!!!!

  2. This brings tears to my eyes. God is such a tender Father, to pour out his love in such a sweet way. I am so very encouraged to hear how this time was for you.