Sandra Yaroch with classmatesThis year the annual Aglow retreat and my 45th class reunion were scheduled for the same weekend, writes Sandy Yaroch. After a little struggle choosing which one to attend, I decided it was possible to do both. In my mind they were two separate and unrelated events, and I did not want to miss either of them.

Sandra Yaroch with classmatesSandra Yaroch (left) with classmatesThis year the annual Aglow retreat and my 45th class reunion were scheduled for the same weekend, writes Sandy Yaroch.  After a little struggle choosing which one to attend, she decided it was possible to do both by leaving the retreat on Saturday afternoon and returning early Sunday morning.  In Sandra's mind they were two separate and unrelated events, and she did not want to miss either of them.

Sandra Yaroch, Wisconsin South Area Team Area Field Assistant, writes:

About 10 days before the class reunion I was thinking about how to share with others about my family, because I have 7 children and 5 grandchildren. I wanted to come up with a really brief way to share, because few people are willing to sit and listen for a long time. Then I heard God say, ‘Just listen.’  I was a little surprised, but thought to myself, ‘Oh…Ok…  I will listen more and talk less.  Maybe I will start with a question and then wait and listen for an opportunity to share something about my life with them.’

During the retreat I learned how to renew my mind by thinking in new ways about God and who He is, but also to think in new ways about me and who I am to God.  All too soon it was time to hop in the car and get to the reunion.  I was eager to see old friends and catch up on their news and lives.  The first person I met shared about their life, and at some point they touched on a topic that related to me and my family, so I took the opportunity to share about it from my perspective.  But the person seemed to look right through me and continued talking as if I had said nothing at all.  I was really puzzled.

When they were done sharing I moved on to another classmate.  Again, I asked questions first, drawing them out and learning about their family and present life.  After hearing all their details, I offered what was up in my life.  They also acted as if I had not even spoken.  I wondered what was going on.

I noticed the husband of a classmate who had recently passed away over by a memorial display I had made for her.  When I got near I saw a tear sliding down his cheek. I just looked into his eyes and put my hand on his shoulder.  We stood in silence for a few moments.

As he moved away, his wife’s twin sister came up to me and thanked me for putting up the display and for helping her to encourage her brother-in-law to come.  She said that it was the first time he had left the house except to go to work since his wife died 11 months ago.  Then I said to her, “How are you doing?”  She started to cry.  There was nothing to do but to hug her and hold her.  Someone else came up and began talking to her and I moved on.

Next I spoke to another classmate, Susan.  After she explained a very difficult situation, I empathized telling her I had gone through something similar. Her eyes widened and she said, ‘Oh my! You really understand!  We really need to talk!’

After that conversation concluded I sat down at an empty table to just watch and enjoy.  As I sat there one of the guys in the class came and sat down and began to talk.  He was our Pastor’s son and he talked for nearly an hour!

It was a wonderful evening but all too soon, it was time to go. Early the next morning driving back to the retreat was a wonderful opportunity to commune with God.  I wondered, ‘God what was that all about last night?  It was like people could not even hear me.’

God said, ‘Sandra, I told you to just listen. I caused them to not hear you.’  I was a little ashamed.  That IS what He told me to do.  ‘So what was that all about?’  God said, ‘They needed to be in My Presence.  The longer they sat with you, the more they needed My Presence.’  Tears started flowing from my eyes as the reality penetrated my heart.  God said, ‘I dwell in you.’

Reflecting on each person I had listened to, I realized He had touched and hugged those who were grieving through me.  Some sat in His presence briefly, some for a long time, some just had a glance of compassion.  ‘But what about Susan?’ I said, ‘She heard me.’  ‘Yes,’ He said, ‘She needed what you had to give.’

Then the Holy Spirit brought Isaiah 55:9 to my mind, ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’

I was undone with the revelation God was giving me.  As I entered the conference grounds I was overwhelmed by the love of God and filled with joy! So what I had thought were two separate and unrelated events, were in fact part of God’s wonderful plan. It was kind of a ‘field trip’ for the retreat – one that I will never forget.