I went to the Women of Faith Amazing Freedom conference this weekend. The women I listened too had some great points. One thing I really didn’t want to let happen involves my forgetfulness. I never seem to be able to remember anything for five minutes, but I wanted what I learned this weekend to stick with me a little longer than that so I took a few notes. Now I’m going to take a few moments to process some of what I learned.
First off, I have to say that just the theme of the conference, Amazing Freedom, was just what I needed. Lately I feel bound and tied down by my circumstances. So going in I was hoping for a little encouragement to get me past this low point so I can hopefully start chugging up the mountain … I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
Friday night was Patsy Clairmont. She is a tiny bundle of energy. She started out by saying “there’s just something about freedom that gives you happy feet” and did a lot of dancing. Nice metaphor. All I thought was, “I’d love to feel that way!” And then she said something else that struck me, “If you think you have nothing to offer, He [God] has everything to give.” What a powerful statement. How often do I think there’s nothing I can contribute or what’s my purpose here. Where’s my focus?? On me. That’s one of my biggest pitfalls. Where should my focus be?? On God. He’s the one that has it all together. Holds the whole world in his hands and all. Guess that means he’s got me too, huh. “God is in the safe places and the scary places you end up.” He sure is, but I often only recognize His presence in the safe places. When things get a little scary I become a mess. Hence my problems earlier this month!
Patsy also encouraged me to “go on the ride and experience all the blessings God has for you.” Seriously, how often do I wish I could just have things as I want them and forgo the ride. Alas, the ride is how I LEARN. I need to “live lively, risk trusting God, and take the next step.” I’ve got to walk through the struggles and trials in my life. I can’t go expecting God to fast forward them, but he will walk with me or carry me through them. I don’t have to go through these difficult places alone. As Patsy challenged me, I need to take a risk and see what God has planned for me. I cannot see or know the future. Not sure I’d even want to, not really. Which means I have no idea why I’m walking through these struggles, or when they will be done, and what good will come of them. However, I can know that something good will eventually come out of them and that again, God will not leave me and will be with me through it all. “We will spend the majority of our lives in the valley … God will meet you there.” And He does. Often I don’t acknowledge his presence. I like to be in control. But as soon as I realize that I’m lost in the valley and ask Him for help, He is right there to hold my hand and walk with me through the valley and show me where I can find the path up the mountain.
Patsy’s parting words … Jesus comes in your darkest moment and wants to gather you up and teach you new dance steps that you couldn’t learn any other way. Aye, there’s the rub. I’m stuck in this struggle because there’s something I need to learn and there’s no other way to learn it. Reminds me of something I went through three years ago. I was applying for internship at the time and really wanted to get paid for working full-time, even if it wasn’t much. I applied all over. Went on several interviews. No dice. One Sunday morning early in my search I was singing along with the worship leader in church. Couldn’t tell you the song but I can tell you this, I knew I was going to work in DPS. Didn’t like that though. I didn’t want to work there. After a stressful summer with still no internship I mentioned to my professor that I still was looking for a position. She told me there was still an opening in DPS and let me tell you how excited I was to get the call and the internship in DPS. Would I have accepted that months prior? Probably not. Did I need to walk through a summer of uncertainty and stress and bitten nails before I could see plainly that God wanted me in DPS? Yes, I’m pretty stubborn. Now however, I see that I’m working in DPS for a reason and am content to stay there till I know otherwise, even if I may not always plainly see why God wants me there. Someday soon I’ll understand why I’m walking through this valley and until then … Jesus, please carry me through!
Thanks for reading. More will follow as I chew on what the other speakers had to say.