|Mercy House Kenya's table in the (in)courage Lounge, sponsored by DaySpring|
A year ago, a then - friend (now co-worker) tried to get me to go to this blogging thing in PA - and last minute at that! As much as I wanted to go, I couldn't see how I could master the drive from AR to PA, just a few weeks after moving (airline tickets were astronomical). Not. going. to. happen. But I vowed that I'd go the next time it came around, and go I did - this last weekend to LOVELY Greenville, South Carolina, to Allume 2013! (Never mind that we JUST moved from AR back to KY... and I still had boxes stacked around my house... THAT is another post all together!)
|SWAG. (need I say more?)|
I'm so glad I did! Worth every penny (and then some) to be able to hear the hearts, and look in the eyes of so many great women writers. Not just the famous ones, but lovely ones. Not just the ones with books, but the ones with teary eyes and weary bones. Not just the ones with regularly scheduled posts on popular topics, but the ones that fight through the day to get to their keyboard out at night and tap tap tap while their baby's sleep, and barely get a post up once in a while. And those that are part - time bloggers too... the ones that come to encourage, and learn, and meet up and pray. We were there.
I took a few things away - not hot new tips or latest sites to link in to - but wisdom of the ages. God truths I needed to hear. Today.
I have FIVE pages of notes from Ann Voskamp's opening night keynote, and left carrying a torch to become a part of the "Esther Generation," to be a bright star in a lovely galaxy. I had 4 pages of notes from Holley Gerth's workshop on "Brand You" - branding and influence that we all have, and have responsibility to use - something I'd hardly ever thought of - but learned all about! I had only 3 simple lines written on Bianca Olthoff's keynote, but walked away profoundly changed and willing to "see dead people" (everyone we know that isn't saved) and prophesy over dead bones (lost and weary people) when she was done. It was a stake in the ground moment. I think it was so good I couldn't stop TO take notes, for fear I'd miss her next line! Good teachers are like that, you know. And I didn't take any notes while I listened to my friend Diedre Riggs come out of her "31 Days off" to speak with Nasreen Fynewever in a workshop called "From Maybe to Mobilized: Awakening Your Dreams to Action" (which, by the way, started the whole thing you'll read about later... AND you can read Nasreen's commentary on the topic of their speech at her website... be warned.. it might make you get up and change things in your life!)
|Nasreen and Diedre after the Jumping Tandem Meet Up... they co-led a session the next day telling about how God used each of them to spur each other on to achieve His dream for them.|
But in retrospect, it was Melanie Shankle's breakfast keynote that hit me square between the eyes. It. was. so. good.
Melanie spoke from Ephesians 2:10... I can't recall the translation she used, but I love the way that The Voice translates it;
She spoke of the song "Into the Glorious" by Christy Nockels. SO lovely. Yes, "So take me deeper, oh. I can hear You calling. Inviting me in. Into the glorious."
She emphasized that He has called us to do something that WE NEED HIM to fulfill. We are MADE to feel inadequate in trying to achieve it alone. He gave us that craving, that job, that vision to rely on Him MORE.
I love how she phrased "Don't let our ambition get in the way of HIS will." Amen.
She spoke to the heart of those fooled (or consumed) by feeding our egos with social media. Nothing will satisfy us, but Him. We should desire praise from HIM ONLY. Our worth is ONLY from God. Only HE sees us when we are alone. EVEN when we are alone. People never can, never will. Don't seek their approval, count their numbers, run their analytics.
Melanie wove words of scripture wonderfully with points to hold us. It was a sermon; we did church.
From David's life I learned that God teaches us in obscurity, in the pasture, not just on the throne. Everything David learned, he learned before he was king, while he was still a shepherd. He learned to sit in quiet places with God, besides still waters - just as he says as he penned Psalm 23. In the same way, everything we learn in our school of hard knocks, will in turn be beneficial training for whatever His dream is for my life (our lives) in the future. Nothing is lost.
I heard her speak to something I've had happen several times: it's all about timing. HIS timing. We can catch the vision, get the anointing, and still be sent back to the pasture. Still, it's not wasted. I love how she shared Zechariah 4:10;
"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin...".
It's SO important to take one. step. at. a. time. It's HIS plan. HIS way. He WILL bring it to fruition in HIS perfect timing, but I have to take the steps. It will likely start small. It will require attention and work. One day at a time. He will allow the world to be changed one day at a time. Just don't doubt the small things.
God's so great to use us despite ourselves - doesn't He do that often? Oh, how many times I will stumble, or fail completely, and I learn that I can't do this on my own. Hello? No kidding? He's created me with imperfections so I HAVE to lean in hard on Him. I NEED His help! I WILL fail alone, yet IN HIM, I can (like David) RUN IN TO THE BATTLE. In Samuel 17 David was prepared to fight to the death. He ran TO Goliath, not away from him (v48). WOW. So, I need to take a big breath, pull up these big girl panties, get a fresh word from the Lord (daily) and head into the battle... being obedient each step of the way.
And likewise, if it's a word from God that I've received, I need to not apologize for it - He is the only voice I should listen to! And in the same manner, if He brings someone along for me to assist - I need to help them - and if they are to assist me, I should LET THEM! (I can hear my 3 year old self saying "but... I can DO it MYSELF!" Yeah. Right.)
We are challenged to make mistakes... we are going to anyways, and that's ok. It's a part of the process of learning to trust Him with it, broken or whole. We are called to leave comfortable behind. That change is good. A part of it is that we tend to stay where we get comfortable, let our guard down, stay with what we know. If our boundaries are challenged Satan encourages us to hunker down with what we are sure of, and tacks on a lot of "what if's" and fear. Although I hold all things pretty loosely, I still do that... let Satan get into my head and doubt. Worry. Wonder.
Call it what you will, I'm not trusting God in all the ways He's intended me to. He will be here for me. Or there for me. Wherever He leads me - I just need to SEEK HIM. I belong to God, and He created me to be who I am. Period. Let Him move me, move IN me, as He wills. Accept all that He gives me, and give it back to Him to fulfill HIS will. Let HIM work His will, His way, in me.
She shared this GREAT quote from Elisabeth Elliot, whose life is such an inspiration,
|Getting to practice what they preached with emily p. freeman|
For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. John 3:16 (The Voice)