by Beatrice Decruz

Before attending Treasure#11, I had read and heard quite a lot of testimonies, on how it was a life-changing retreat. Although I knew it would be good for me to attend, I was hesitant.

I first saw the poster for Treasure quite some time back but decided to put the thought aside because I didn’t think I would be able to make it. I was reminded of this retreat again when a friend prompted and encouraged me to go. Still, I was reluctant because who would want to spend a weekend and a public holiday at a retreat when I could have a good comfortable rest at home. Fortunately, my schedule was free, so I signed up. I kept second-guessing my decision to the point that I procrastinated paying for the retreat.

But let me tell you, God was relentless and persistent! He intervened through my brother. My brother (who had attended Treasure last year) suddenly came to my room one Sunday afternoon, and asked if I’d heard of Treasure. He proceeded to tell me more and asked if I wanted to attend because his good friend was considering going and since we all know each other, we could all attend together. Right at that moment, I was like, “Wow God! You sure know how to make me say yes!”. My heart wasn’t ready but with a leap of faith, I finally completed the registration for the retreat.

The days leading up to the retreat were filled with worry and anxiety. I was worried because I had the feeling that I might have to face personal issues that I didn’t want to face. I was worried I wouldn’t have enough time to do my work. I was worried that this retreat would be the same old thing which would then mean I would have wasted my time. I was anxious about meeting new people and having to be vulnerable in front of them. I was literally worried sick. But knowing that my two friends were counting on me and waiting for me, I dragged myself to meet them. With their help, we made it to OYP.

Through the sessions at Treasure, I realised I had frequently placed God in a box. I only opened this box in times when I needed Him and then shoved Him in a corner when I didn’t really have time to think about God or when things were going fairly smoothly. Why did I limit God to a box? Why would I limit His power to a mere box?

Similarly, in the depths of my boxed-up heart, I had limited myself. For a long time, I had gone on believing that I wasn’t good enough to serve, let alone lead a ministry. I wasn’t smart enough or successful enough. Nor was I good enough to be loved. These insecurities and overwhelming self-induced pressure bubbled up to the surface. I knew then that I had to break open these boxes as a sign of trust and let God work through me the way He desired to because He can do the things I cannot do. He can give me everything even when I have nothing to give Him.

As I closed my eyes and prayed wholeheartedly (with my sisters-in-Christ from the prayer teams), I saw a vision of Jesus hugging us tightly and looking at us fondly with a smile. And then He said, “You are enough for me. You just need to come as you are. You don’t need to be do anything more. You are not a worker or labourer…You are a beloved child of mine. Find joy in me as My Daughter. Entrust your life to me and I’ll give you a heart of gold. Flesh but also gold (like treasure).” It was a beautiful reminder that I am firstly a child of God, deserving of His love ❤️

When the last day came, I was pretty excited to head home to the comfort of my bed. The packet of tissue that I had brought from home still contained quite a lot of tissues and I cheekily thought to myself, that it fortuitous that I didn’t cry that much! But of course, I was proven wrong.

During the session on Life of a Disciple, I was challenged to ponder how I’d been serving in Jesus’ ministry. I realised how prideful I was in wanting control over things I obviously had no control of and in assuming I knew better than God and how I had only been relying on my own strength. We took turns praying for one other in our cell groups. I was nervous as my turn came to hold onto the crucifix while my cell group prayed for me. It was truly a spirit-led moment as my sisters-in-Christ slowly revealed to me the words that God wanted to speak to me. As I looked at the crucifix in my hands, I clung onto Jesus tighter and my heart cracked open a little more. Through that, grace and peace seeped in and filled my heart. My eyes brimmed with tears as I looked at my Saviour nailed to the cross.

Then He spoke to me through my facilitator. She told me it’s okay to let my tears fall; that the tears fall to clear my eyes to see Him better. I couldn’t hold back my tears because by God’s grace, the eyes of my heart were opened. I was blind yet now, I could suddenly see Him ever more clearly in the people He brought into my life, and in the work He has sent me to do.

In the beginning, I was a lonely weary soldier fighting a losing battle. I was empty-handed with nothing to offer. I only had a burdened heart. With a renewed heart, I courageously proclaim that God is my Father and I am His beloved daughter and a warrior of Christ. Jesus is my Saviour who clears and makes my path straight so that I can see Him even more clearly. He is my Protector – the protector and lover of my heart and soul. AMEN!