Driving home from a ministry trip always gives me a little time to reflect. Saturday was a very meaningful time of reflection. I was the first of four speakers at a one day women’s conference. It was fabulous. Having grown up in a small town……I was pretty confident of what was in store for me….it brings back the most WARM memories of growing up.
The minute I drove to the back of the church “social hall” I was met by smiling faces…eagerly awaiting to help me unload my car. The swarm of ladies in “lime green” shirts that read “Women of Excellence” were streaming in and out of the social hall to the sanctuary. :o) I had all the help I could have hoped for.
Every person I came in contact with took the time to stop…and talk….or at least say hello. I felt like a “queen”. The red carpet was already rolled out and the preparation for the event was as top notch as anything I have ever been a part of. The ministry team even had a videographer to video the event and give all the speakers a copy. I loved being the first speaker because I could then sit back, relax and listen, take notes and truly be “all there!” There was breakfast and lunch…book tables set up for our books…decorations and sweet iced tea!
The other speakers, the music and the emcee of the event were amazing. This small town could have taken their conference on the road. WOW! is all I can say. I am very blessed and humbled to have been invited to be a part of such a “fine tuned”…meaningful event. There was standing room only in a church that holds around 200 people. On that country road in a church that was built in the 1920’s…there was a “Jesus Calling!” for sure.
Out of the four speakers one was asked to share her personal testimony. She had reluctantly said yes to speaking because she doesn’t usually speak in front of an audience. All the speakers sat on the front row and prayed for her. She was the first speaker after lunch. I, of course, had never met her until Saturday morning and certainly didn’t know of her testimony but as she got up to speak, she carried a box of tissues.
She stood with so much grace and poise as she began to share about her “perfect life”…great husband who was successful…two beautiful children….and then she stopped. She paused for a very LONG time. The sanctuary had a “quiet hush” that hadn’t existed there all day. She then began to share about the day she learned from her son that he had been sexually assaulted by a family friend. Her son carried so much anger as he finally shared his “trauma”.
At one point she told her son, “Jesus can heal you!” His response for a very long time was, “Jesus allowed this to happen to me!” This precious mom, who was a very soft spoken and a reluctant speaker, continued to tell of the “prayer” she poured out to God over her son’s devastation. She shared that over time a beautiful Christian girl came into his life and influenced him to go to church and Bible study…where he found healing.
He came to realize that he was a victim of evil…of someone else’s sin…but that Jesus could and did bring healing to his heart.
She then told about the Wednesday night their family had gone to church. After getting home her son had gone out for a “run” and never returned. He was found dead by neighbors. He had dropped dead while jogging. By this time…her tissue box was empty…as she shared her immense pain….but as quickly as she got to the climax of her son’s death…she paused and shared in the most amazing and tender way…”I refused to go to the pit of despair!” She said…”I chose a “heart of gratitude.”
She ran to Jesus with her pain.
As the tears subsided she continued to share and list what she was thankful for: her son’s healing, that she had him for 37 years, that he loved the Lord and returned to HIM, that she had a beautiful daughter and son-in-law and 3 beautiful grandchildren, a loving husband….and the fact that she wasn’t dead and that God was not done with her…that as long as she was left behind there were things God had for her to do.
WOW ….WOW ….WOW….her testimony was powerful. As I was sitting, hanging on every word she said, it was as if I could physically see…a white mist of the Holy Spirit flowing out of her…blanketing the audience…a warm…a comfort….of her choice of trusting a Holy God. :o) I looked around the sanctuary and saw the “captivation” of the entire audience.
God was washing all of us with the encouragement to TRUST HIM in the most critical and painful circumstances!
Kathy Troccoli sings a song entitled, “My Life Is In Your Hands.” She sings,
“My life is in your hands
And though I may not see clearly
I will lift my voice and sing
Cause your love does amazing things.”
We don’t always see very clearly what God is doing. We may not know how it will turn out. But we do know God is able “…To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;…” (Isaiah 61:3).
For me the take aways from the day are too numerous to write about in one post….but I can share this: as I continue to say “yes” to God in the big and small things…I continue to RECEIVE MORE than I EVER give.
Just as my new friend Yvonne chose a heart of gratitude in the midst of devastation, I so encourage you to continue to follow Christ with a YES and to CHOOSE A HEART OF GRATITUDE. The promise is that God will show up and show out and give to me/you HIS GRACE AND MERCY…just as HE has for Yvonne. She ended with the same verse that I ended my message with earlier that morning, Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Funny, when I go to an event to speak I know I have already said “yes” to God. But when you complete the “Yes,” I can always look back and see how HE went before me. I can always see with clarity how HE has orchestrated the events. You see, I only knew one of the four speakers and never interacted with any of them about what we were sharing. But at the end of the day…it all went together… down to the order in which we spoke.
It was SUPERNATURAL.
The flow from one speaker to the other was amazing. To sit and listen, having been the first to speak, to the other speakers and hear the order of the messages, you could just see “God’s fingerprints”. There was NO DOUBT that IT WAS GOD WHO ORCHESTRATED THE WORDS AND THE EVENTS OF THE DAY! It shows me once again that “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
Point of post….say “yes” to God…give Him your pain and your fear…HE will use it….and others will be blessed.
“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps” (Psalm 40:2).