Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Fearless Bride Retreat 2011

I recently returned home from spending the weekend in fellowship with women all across our region and beyond who gathered together for the Fearless Bride Retreat. This retreat was presented by LifeGivers International Ministries in conjunction with Kainos Ministries through the Fellowship Community Church in Marlborough CT. Lifegivers Ministries is a ministry that truly takes to heart what it means to walk like Jesus, providing invaluable resources  to those locally and globally and is based in Cleveland Tennessee. Feel free to visit their website and learn about the amazing things they do and find out about ways you can assist in spreading the love of God to those near and far. Their website is: www.lifegivers.org.

The retreat took place at a camp nestled in the wooded hills of Connecticut. It was a time of reflection, of praise for our beautiful Savior, of laughter, of prayer and of growth. His presence blossomed within our hearts and rained down upon us as we came together to learn more ways to walk in His continual presence with fearless conviction. It was a time to become centered in the Spirit which resides on our soul's throne and find courage in our great God who steadies our hands and clears our vision during life's trials and tribulations.

The theme of the retreat was being a "Fearless Bride". It centered around the parable of the Ten Virgins found in the book of Matthew.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Matthew 25:1-13

 1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
   6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
   7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
   9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
   10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
   11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
   12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
   13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Speaker and co-founder Brenda Jones (she founded the org with her husband, Tom Jones) was the primary speaker at the event. She compared the oil in the lamps to God's presence (Holy Spirit) within us and emphasized the need to become continually aware of His presence throughout our lives and to never let our lamps run low, and certainly not out, of oil. For when our lamps are burning bright our lights shine out God's love and compassion to all around bringing healing, love and life and His Kingdom down among us.

I took away so many insights and truths from this past weekend! I have so much to share! Before sharing a summary of some of my insights I'd like to relate the importance of the bride's veil that was taught at the retreat. Jewish tradition teaches that the husband has three obligations for his bride: 1) food 2) clothing and 3) conjugal rights.  The veiling of the bride was the symbolic gesturing of clothing her and providing that material need. It also, however, meant a bit more than that. The fact that it hides the bride's face was symbolic that the groom accepted her for the inside rather than for merely her external beauty. It also meant, that when the bride has her veil on her vision is obscured and with an obscured vision the bride shows her complete faith and trust in her groom. Therefore, the veiling of the bride symbolized the husband's unconditional love for his bride and the bride's unconditional and complete trust for the groom. How beautiful is that?

The body of Christ is Christ's bride and these truths can be applied for us as well. God accepts us unconditionally, faults and all and we are, in return, called to trust completely in Him.

One line that Brenda said really stuck out for me, "Jesus is more than our Savior". Indeed He is! But sometimes I think that can be forgotten somehow. Jesus does much more than merely save us...he restores us, he comforts and heals us, he centers himself in the seats of our soul in the form of the Spirit and gives us an eternal love that is always there and waiting, eager for seeking souls to come to the door and just knock and receive His life-giving presence.

Another thing that I really appreciated was the emphasis of experience not just merely doctrine. I believe doctrine is very valuable and has its place but rings hollow if it is not accompanied by the experience of His presence within. I have to say that when I was born again, with joy, I accepted salvation and the knowledge of having a Savior but it wasn't until recently that I opened my heart up to experiencing the Spirit's presence within. I've talked much about it here on my blog-it is a transforming experience!

It was an amazing weekend and I look forward to sharing more things that I have gained from the time spent there in posts to come, but I'd say the most magnificent thing that happened was just becoming even more awakened to greater depths of my internal awareness of His presence. At times I became totally overcome by the reality of Jesus' love for me and all of God's children and creation and the fact that He is all around and in and through all that surrounds us. His abundant love and joy is always there for us to experience. All we need to do is open up with trusting hearts in complete submission to our King and He will flood us with a peace that surpasses all understanding.

I am happy to be back on my blog to connect with all of you once again! I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!


  1. Welcome back... I am looking forward to herding about your experiences. Just the title of the retreat sounds intriguing.

  2. Any parable about Ten Virgins has my complete attention... glad you enjoyed your time away.


  3. Thank you Savira..hope you enjoy the article :)

    A...lol...thanks :) It's a beautiful parable! Had a great time...glad to be back.

  4. Glad you're back renewed, Jessica. :)

  5. Definitely renewed! Steeped in the Spirit! :) Thanks Corinne, it was much needed!

  6. Sounds great Jessica, and very much looking forward to your next few posts with all the insights which God has given you through this weekend. Glad you had such a great time :-)

  7. Jessica, I so enjoyed this post. I had never heard the meaning behind the veil.

  8. Thanks Mike :)

    Me neither Mary! I thought the symbolism and history was beautiful and full of meaning! Glad you enjoyed the post :)

  9. So glad you're safely back. Sounds like you had an amazing time and learned so much about Christ and yourself. Love the comparision between faith and the oil in a lamp, we must never let it run low. Take care!!

  10. “Fearless Bride” is quite an intriguing conference title. This meeting sounds like one I’d love to have attended myself.
    But the next best thing is hearing second hand what you experienced there… and I look forward to learning all I can on the subject of the fearless bride.
    Are you familiar with the works of Tessa Bielecki? She is co-founder of the Spiritual Life Institute and author of several books on St. Teresa of Avila. And she’s the one who first introduced me to the theology of Bridal Mysticism.

  11. It sounds like the hallmark of a great retreat: Sound as if you were renewed, enlightened, and inspired. That's great. Also, it's nice to lend support to each other as women.

  12. David...I loved the comparison too...and amen! May our lamps never run low! Thank you so much for your comment :)

  13. Debra, I am not familiar with Tessa Bielecki , but as soon as I'm done responding to comments I'm going to google her! You are a wealth of knowledge on contemplative spirituality and I feel so blessed to have connected with you, I always learn so much through you! Thank you :)

  14. Thank you Sweepy...and yes it was great to gather with other women for support and encouragement. I rarely get to have such fellowship, it was beautiful! Thank you for your comment :)

  15. What a come back...I have been apart of many retreats way back,but didn't know the depth and meaning of all that you have written here...thanks a lot..and do keep sharing such things..it gives me strength.

  16. This is my first visit to this site, I really like it, and will be returning to read more of your posts. God Bless you and your ministry

  17. I loved the symbolism of the veil (I had never heard that before) and that it shows the trust the bride has in her bridegroom. The trust the bride has in her new life, that where her bridegroom leads, she will follow. I'm reminded of the quote, "I don't care what comes from His (God's) hand, whether blessing our testing, as long as it comes from His hand, I trust He has what I need."

  18. Welcome back Jessica! The part about the veil is very interesting! I never thought about it from that point of view. I really like it! Happy Easter to you and your family and may we always remember why we celebrate it.


  19. Thank you Alpana, yeah it was an incredible time! I had only been on one retreat before, it was shorter and nothing like this one. I guess every retreat is different, this one was so Spirit-filled one could not be but deeply touched by all that was taught and experienced there. ~blessings

  20. Gift...thank you and welcome here, I really do hope you do return! I appreciate your kind comments, I went to your blog and found it inspiring and am now following :) I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts and comments in the future. ~blessings

  21. Bill, yeah I loved the symbolism too, I wasn't familiar with it either but it makes perfect sense. That was a beautiful quote, thanks for sharing :)

  22. Nelieta , happy to be back, glad you enjoyed the post! I pray you and yours have a blessed and meaningful Easter...I love your recent post that has the beautiful pics of the Russian Orthodox church...I love visiting churches :)

  23. i ate your post, i hope you don't mind :P... one by one...

    i took a quick browse on the lifegiver's link... the missionary spirit never left me... but i just have to be patient with myself and do my mission here for awhile ;)...will take a closer look at it in time :)

    the parable of the ten virgins is among my favorites... in our Bible classes, it says that for St. Matthew, it is a parousia parable and is therefore written after resurrection... verse 13 is a later addition... Jesus does not moralize...

    the symbolism of oil to the Holy Spirit :)is wonderful...

    plus the explanation of the veil in jewish tradition :)...

    would love to hear more of your insights and experiences with the Lord jessica... :)thanks...