An Impromptu Party & Training in the Desert

Have you had the experience of planning an important event or gathering months in advance, encouraging people to save the date, and then having people bail at the last minute?  I like to compare it to trying to hold water in our hands.  Despite all our best efforts to hold it in, the water seeps out of the crevices of our fingers, dripping down our hands and eventually onto the floor.

The days seem long gone when beautiful invitations arrive in the mail, are answered with a handwritten note, and the date honored above any other competing opportunity.

Now it seems, a Facebook invite or an Evite suffices, and sometimes never even get opened to view the invitation.


That’s why what took place one night last week was such a serendipitous surprise!

An Unexpected Trip to Denver

I made a decision to come to Denver because my Mom was experiencing some health issues.  We were preparing for the Revive Retreat while I made the decision, so I had no time to tell anyone (besides my parents) I was coming.

After I got to Denver, it took a couple of days to figure out if I would even have an opportunity to see some friends.  But, when I found out one day that my parents would be busy the next evening, I reached out to my dear friend, Martha Rust Jackson, who offered her home for a dinner if I wanted to invite others.

I knew it was super last minute, but I texted about 16 people who have attended a Reclaim Retreat in CA or a Reclaim workshop in Denver.  I invited them to a potluck at Martha’s to connect with how we are continuing to partner with God to Reclaim our Identities, Lives, and Destinies!

Amazingly, replies to my texts began to come in….one yes after another.  A miraculous 12 people were available to come.

My anticipation for what God wanted to do mounted.

An Impromptu Gathering of Friends

I was amazed to hear stories of how that night was the only night Martha was free that week, others rearranged schedules to come, and others still were in pits of discouragement and were asking God to bring some needed support and encouragement into their lives.

They saw our time together as His direct answer to their prayer.

As we all crowded around Martha’s big table, we began to share the stories of how God was continuing to work in our lives once we exchanged the orphan mindset for one of adoption, and stepped into our reclaimed identity as beloved children in God’s great big family.

around the table
around the table
  • One couple shared how they were shaping their small group into an expression of God’s family and learning to support one another through the real challenges and celebrations of life.
  • One woman spoke of her wilderness experience of coming to Denver for fitness coach training. She shared that after discovering faith training through Reclaim Ministries, she now has the foundation needed to return to her home state to teach others how to Reclaim not just their bodies but also their Identities, Lives, and Destinies.
  • Another shared of her experience of bravely confronting generational dysfunction as she was no longer willing to let the dysfunction hide in the darkness or the shadows.
  • One person talked openly of her challenge of walking away from the “strong woman persona.” She was replacing it with an invitation to let others into her weaknesses as she grieved over the death an important person in her life where she’d had no closure.

Not all was easy to hear.  One woman spoke of her devastation over her adult child--how broken she was over what seemed to be a lifetime of disappointments and dashed expectations for him.

The Reclaimed Vantage Point

What took my breath away was how a table full of people who did not know each other well, some meeting only that night, reached out to support one another.

They weren’t offering false promises or even worse, Christian platitudes, but real empathetic responses of how difficult life can be, and how much different life can look from the Reclaimed vantage point.

To Reclaim is to take those areas where we’ve experienced loss, theft, brokenness and inure and restore it to its true glory.

This is what God does when we offer up our broken pasts, struggling lives, and unreachable destinies.

I saw it happen before my eyes that night as the atmosphere of hopelessness, exhaustion, and isolation became a place of authenticity, support, and hope.

Pressing into the Word

After dinner we moved into the living room and took our Bibles. (I thought it was funny that I was the only one in the room who had an actual book—everyone else used their cell phones!)

We began to press into Jesus’ stages of identity development in Luke 3 and 4.  We discovered that after Jesus was given the heavenly party at his baptism where he heard the word of his father say, “You are my beloved son with whom I take great delight,” he was then compelled, propelled, pushed, and sent into the desert.

We often believe it was the devil who tempted Jesus into the desert, but it wasn’t him.  The Holy Spirit called Jesus into the desert.

Why?  It wasn’t punishment.  He’d just been affirmed by his Father.

It wasn’t failure.  He hadn’t started his ministry yet.

It was training. 

The Desert Training Ground

Jesus spent 40 days in high level military training learning to wield his sword of truth through Scripture and his identity as the beloved son in God’s family.

footprints in desert
footprints in desert

Luke 4:1 tells us Jesus went into the desert full of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 4:14 speaks this, “Jesus came out of the desert full of the power of the Holy Spirit.”

What’s the difference?

Jesus and all of us who follow him are filled with the Holy Spirit.  He lives in us, giving us the same power Jesus experienced while he lived on earth (see Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Cor 1:21-22).

Not as many of us know how to defeat the devil through the powerof the Holy Spirit and the practical reality of the power of spoken Scripture.

This is why so often when people leave Reclaim Retreats, the heat goes up and the challenges arise.

God wants us to live in the day to day reality of our true identity and the victory of fulfilling life, vocations, and relationships.

The Way Through the Desert

There’s only one way through the desert. 

We can’t bypass it or leap over it.

Just like Jesus, we have to be trained by the desert.

Maybe for you it’s unemployment.

Perhaps it’s a broken relationship.

Maybe your body has betrayed you with a disease.

Whatever your circumstance might be, the important shift we can make is to change our mind about life in the desert. 

When we begin to understand it’s training from our loving Heavenly Father, instead of praying it away, giving credit for it to our mutual enemy, or blaming the person or circumstance, we can learn the lessons Jesus learned and discover the strategies to defeat the devil.

Take a moment to ask God, “Where are you training me today?  What shifts in my thinking do I need to make?”

Training Support

One more thing, do you need more support for your challenge?


This reclaimed life is not for the faint of heart!   It is for those who know the depth of God’s love for them and understand that he is always working to bring about our good.

Reclaim has developed numerous resources to support you in Reclaiming your Identity, Life and Destiny!

Check out just a few of them:

  1. Join a Reclaim Journey with a Reclamation Guide.
  2. Attend a Reclaim Retreat.
  3. Engage the “You were Meant for More” eBook series." (Jesus’ training in the desert will be in the upcoming 5 Stages of Identity book.)
  4. Read the flagship book: Identity Crisis: Reclaim the True You.
  5. Engage the Companion Identity Crisis Study.

Here’s our reality:  We only have one life.

Are you willing to make the investment in you that God has already made when he deposited himself into you?

He knows You are Meant for More!

Do you know it too?

The Reclaim Team and I are here to support you so let me know how we can support you in your journey!

Let’s live the impromptu party of life!