I was invited to attend the Conversations with God Spiritual Renewal Retreat in the beginning of June 2017. I am writing this article in Medford, Oregon in the USA where the retreat was held. The invite came in April already and I hearkened to the call and booked my space. I have been wanting to meet Neale Donald Walsch for a very long time and had set the intention of attending one of the retreats he often holds at his very own house but it has never been possible to make those arrangements but when this particular one came my way, I knew that I had to come to America. This is my second trip to the United States as I had to come the first time in June of 2015 for another engagement. June seems to be the perfect time for me to come over here and besides it is warmer this side whereas at home in South Africa it is the beginning of winter. I do not prefer the harshness of winter, however, home is where the heart is and I will soon have to return.
I was introduced to the Conversations with God book One in the year 2000, when my life started taking a different turn from a relationship context. Things were going a totally opposite direction from what I had envisioned. I held the same image as many other women around the world based on our socialisation that at a certain point in time we have to get married and have children and I had hoped that my image would be fulfilled in this particular relationship, however, my significant other at that time was a carefree human being who loved the life of parties and friends and I could feel that my energies didn’t harmonise with this type of a lifestyle. I often felt very uncomfortable having to be at night clubs and the life of carousing and my spirit often rebelled as I didn’t belong in that kind of a setup.
That wasn’t me and I could not imagine myself living that way in the long term or being with someone who lived in that manner. It meant that I would have to let him be himself and enjoy his life in a way that made him happy, while I remained unhappy. I therefore made a decision to leave the relationship, a decision that was very hard having been with a person for four years. It is really not easy to leave the relationship especially if you thought that you loved the person. In any way, we have all been given free will and we need to choose wisely and ask for grace from God to make the correct decisions. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life though it came at a cost. It cost me emotional distress for a very long time but took me on a wonderful path of self-discovery, a journey that I would never regret.
I spent most of my time from that point trying to find myself outside of a relationship and being a single woman and this experience brought me closer to God. I met such wonderful spiritual teachers who had the same story as mine. Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes 1:9 says “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun”. Whatever that I was going through, many people have been there and many others were going through the exact same thing with me at the same time but how we all handled the emotional pain and stress was different. History was simply repeating itself and my experience was no different from the many people around the world. Its things that have taken place before on earth for many years since creation.
In my quest to find who I was I came across Neale’s book and started reading daily. I was drawn to his own story of poverty, living on the street and not having anything in life. Life had basically given him the raw deal as it could be explained from the outside but through the experiences that he had, he changed many lives with his books and still influences lives including my very own. I have been reading his books since then and have a collection of my own. I read through the trilogy of Conversations with God and other books that he has written and still find his books refreshing and easy to comprehend.
I am joyful that I’ve attended his live session right in the USA and really took time to be present. When Neale said that God has never stopped communicating with humans to this very day, I agree with him as I am having my own experiences with God. My own conversations with God in this blog, in my special meditation room at home, with my journals and wherever I am. I am always having a conversation with Him, talking to Him and receiving feedback. He leads, directs, guides and shows me the way. I see things resolved in my life that I didn’t know how they would be solved and realise that as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne says, the how’s are the domains of the universe. You need not know how it is going to happen, all that you need to do is to trust and have faith that God has your back. I see His hand in my affairs every single day and when I am afraid, He surely alleviates the fears and calms me down. I experience tranquility and the peace that surpasses all understanding as the Bible puts it.
We all have stories of pain and struggle but in the midst of those stories, we need to know that things can turn around and we need to be in sync with God at that time to be able to find relieve and understand the road that we are taking. Self-awareness, conscious-living or self-realisation is the key. It doesn’t matter the term that you use, it is the same idea as long as you come to a point of realising that God is with you. When I was going through my own issues, I never thought I would be where I am today but now I realise that all that happened, was to bring me to this point today. I had to go through everything to be where I am today. It couldn’t have been any other way. God surely turns things around for our good if we look to Him and realise that we are souls on a mission and a journey of going back to Him.
We all go astray without realising it or even taking different directions to get to the only road there is, which is the way to God and this as Neale puts it, is the way Home. The Sosotho hymn says that “ke mmila o mosesane, o hakang mawatla le kgoro e patisaneng e kenwang ka matla” meaning it’s a narrow road that stumbles the foolish and a constricted door that is entered with so much strength. We need to push with all of our might to get to where we are supposed to be. The cares of this world frequently delays us in finding our path and we often resist to our own detriment. A friend of mine who got divorced to her husband after seven years of marriage once said to me that “Kgalalelo, when you saw that things where not working out, you left the relationship, but I went through with the marriage though there were signs”. This confirmed what Neale and all other spiritual teachers say that God communicates with us all the time. We sometimes override the still small voice of the Holy Spirit or our consciousness.
We want to make things right and change people to being the way we want them to be, without accepting them as they are and how they show up in our lives. We can therefore choose, having free will at our disposal whether we would like to go ahead being in the relationship with our partners based on our vision for our lives or not. I know that it is not easy especially when we are in love and blinded but I believe that the formula is always going back to the Creator to show us the way and give us direction. The Bible in the Book of Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you”. God always watches over us and He loves us without any condition, that’s what unconditional love means.
Despite the different paths that we take in our lifetimes, if we look unto Him and cry out for help and a way out, God uses situations in life for our good and lead us into the right paths we should have taken initially. It doesn’t take Him days to do that, He does it immediately and changes your course. He ensures that you learn from the experiences to be able to help others and to depend on Him even more for added things to come as we all don’t exactly know the direction, we walk by faith and not by sight. He is the one who shines His light upon your path when you ask Him.
The hours that we spent at the workshop was to assist us in the practical application of the CWG messages in our everyday lives and we all had fun. I got to network with the most wonderful people who also, are on the exact same journey I am and that is the journey home to God who is, was and always been.
I am grateful for this opportunity of attending the Conversations with God retreat with Neale Donald Walsch and the many more opportunities that I have had in my life including many more that are coming. I can only grow, develop, advance and expand. Thank you God!
The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV”
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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