The Epicenter of Destiny – Thoughts from She Speaks 2011

Proverbs 13:12 (NASB) reads, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” It’s true I’d wanted to attend the She Speaks Conference – this meeting of like minds in the areas of writing, speaking, and women’s ministry – since 2004. I’m not sure my heart was sick each year I was unable to go, but knowing God’s timing is perfect did soothe the apparent sting of disappointment.

Eventually…

As I walked into the grand atrium lobby, the sun’s afternoon rays perforated the windowed ceiling, and the gaze of eleven floors of hotel room doors and windows witnessed my arrival. On this day, desire had finally come, and I was positioned to experience the life and synergy this gathering of 650 women would inevitably produce.

I arrived 24 hours before the official start of the conference. With each passing hour, the atmosphere swelled with momentum as one eager woman after another stepped off a plane, out of a shuttle van, a bus, or a car, and clicked her heels onto the marble floor of the hotel lobby. Anticipation and great expectation filled the air as intoxicants, and I… well I deeply inhaled.

My brain contorted as my mind struggled to comprehend how each woman taking her turn through the revolving door entered with a similar gift and maybe even a similar story as the woman before or after her. Yet, despite our commonalities, God has a unique plan for advancing His messages of love, hope and freedom to a different audience, in a different way, through each willing and obedient vessel that passed before me – a plan that can only be accomplished by the power of His spirit alone.

Wow…

I was very comfortable in this place.

So, this is what it feels like to be at the epicenter of destiny – the place where a willing, obedient vessel commits her God-given gift(s) to be used to fulfill His plan for her life (the complete details she’s yet unsure of), for the purpose of freedom, by the power of His Spirit.

The epicenter of destiny is less of an event and more of a mindset, a place of true identity, and the actions and lifestyle that flow from that place.

Are you willing and obedient?

What is/are your gift(s)?

Do you trust God’s great power and His planning perfection?

Have you tasted freedom? Do you want to lead others to it?

Have you been to the epicenter of destiny?

Completely ME,

Advertisements

A Prayer Request for Writing the Vision

I simply could not let another day pass without writing a special post to say a special hello to my soon to be new friends who are diligently preparing for the She Speaks conference that will soon be upon us.  I must say thank  you to Kimberly Jones Simpkins from Mining for Diamonds for jump starting the She Speaks blogroll on the conference attendees Facebook page.  I know that I’ve already had many visitors from the blog roll, and I look forward to visiting your blogs, as well.  Thanks to Kimberly’s brilliant idea we will all get to do some meeting, greeting and reading even before the actual event.  Pretty cool, huh?  I think so.

For those of you who have no idea what She Speaks is all about, click here to see what all the online fuss is about.

Last week, I listened in on the first of two conference calls held for the sole purpose of preparing conference attendees who are writers, wannabe writers, and all writers in between for our Publishers Appointments that will take place during the conference.  That’s right, my friends.  I will have my 15 minutes of fame – an opportunity to sit down in front of people who work for real life publishing companies and pick their brains, ask them questions and propose a book idea.

I was overwhelmed by the wealth of information and encouragement we received from Glynnis Whitwer (Author, Speaker, and Director of the Writer Team for Proverbs 31 Ministries).  To be honest, I believe I’m still overwhelmed.  Even as I type these words one week later, my knees seem to knock together (though I am seated) with excitement accompanied by that old familiar spirit of fear.  I tell you, old man fear just has to be the “who invited that guy” guest to every God party in our lives, doesn’t he?  I always have to call on my bouncer friend, 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind” – and out on his keister he goes.

As I consider the opportunity that lies before me, I am reminded of two things:

1.  There are two verses of scripture I’ve written atop the pages of so many ideas – whether for books, blog posts, or ministry organizations.  They are:

Habakkuk 2:2,3 NKJV – Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make [it] plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.
For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”

2.  The first topic of our conference call, last week, was prayer.  Glynnis gave us specific areas in which to pray leading up to the conference and wisely encouraged us to ask others to pray for us as we prepare for this event.

So, will you pray for me?  As I spend the next few weeks preparing for what I know will be a great moment in time, and at the same time toiling over the fact that I feel like I know ABSOLUTELY NADA about how to prepare, picking myself to pieces as a writer, and narrowly missing the many comparison traps that are set for me, knowing that you’re praying for me is sure to give me the strength and courage to plow forward.  No matter the outcome, I’m absolutely thrilled about the journey, the opportunity, and my traveling companions – YOU!

Bye for now!

Completely me,

Bound, Broken, Desperate

“The Lord reassures me of His call each time I listen to the heart of or have an opportunity to encourage one of God’s daughters.  I see the pain.  I know the pain.  I’ve found the freedom, and I want to share.”

Seven or eight years ago one of my girlfriends invited me to attend a women’s bible study.  A group of women met for 8 or 9 weeks, reading and discussing the book Showing Mary, by Renita Weems.

I’ll be honest; I don’t remember much about our time together.  Yet the one thing I will never forget is the very moment the Spirit of the Lord enlisted me to share the pages of my life’s story with a young woman I didn’t know at all.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  She was bound.  She was broken.  She was desperate.  I recognize the bold, piercing stares of those three predators anywhere; I’ve seen them glare at me through my own mirror.  Bound…Broken…Desperate.

One evening, as this young lady was sharing the heartbreaking story of her then current situation with the group, I distinctly heard God’s whisper.  His instruction was clear. I was not to leave without tending to the wounds of my sister.  I had no idea what I would say to her, but I knew leaving that church without allowing the Lord to use me would be blatant disobedience.

So I did go speak to this woman.  What I said back then escapes me, but I left her with my contact information and an open invitation to call me anytime.

And she did.

I was honored to walk with her for years.  Our journey together blossomed into a beautiful friendship.  I’ve had the extreme pleasure of watching God transform her life, moving her from a place of darkness into the glory of His marvelous light of truth.

Saturday, while hanging out at a local mall, one of my girlfriends and I encountered a woman.  She stopped to talk to us after overhearing one word from our conversation. We later learned that pain laced with alcohol gave her the courage to pour out her brokenness on complete strangers.  Out of the abundance of her heart her mouth spoke, revealing stories of loss, adultery and abuse.  The look in her eyes was familiar – bound, broken, and desperate.

Before she walked away, I asked if I could pray with her, and she agreed.  As the three of us huddled together holding hands, her weeping became the forlorn melody to my fervent prayer for peace, healing and direction.  I can only imagine what other issues of her life rolled down her cheeks in the drops of her tears.  After my friend and I encouraged her a bit more, I gave her contact information, and she went on her way.

As Saturday’s dust settled, I began to reflect.  First, I thought about my encounter from days gone by with the woman who is now one of my sweet friends.  As the Lord would orchestrate, she called me on Thursday.  Next, I thought about my She Speaks Scholarship Contest entry.  I just narrowly met the Friday deadline.  Then, my thoughts naturally drifted toward God’s sweet daughter I’d met only hours earlier.  Tying all of this together, my mind came to rest, once again, on these words from my contest post:

“The Lord reassures me of His call each time I listen to the heart of or have an opportunity to encourage one of God’s daughters.  I see the pain.  I know the pain.  I’ve found the freedom, and I want to share.”

Today, I am

Father, in Jesus’ name, I thank you for continuing to use me.  Amen.

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago.  Today, I am re-sharing it as a contest entry (YES, I am at it again! lol) for another She Speaks scholarship.  The She Speaks Conference is for women, like me – writers, speakers, & women’s ministry leaders – whose desire is to serve our Savior by touching the hearts of His precious baby girls.  If you are one of those women, click here for more information on this scholarship and click here for more information on the She Speaks Conference.  On the official conference website you can sign up to receive conference updates from the She Speaks Conference blog and become privy to other scholarship contest opportunities.

I truly pray this post connects women who read it to my heart, but much more than that, I hope it connects them to the heart of the God who loves them so dearly.  As I re-read the words, my heart once again connected to that random, hurting woman in a local shopping mall (I think about her often) and that stranger-turned friend from so many years ago.  Even while we are apart, their hearts still tug on mine, not only linking my heart to theirs but linking it to the heart of my heavenly Father.  They serve as a reminder of the desire I have to serve Him by serving them, using my gifts as He sees fit.

Wise, Virtuous, Valuable,

She Speaks Scholarship Contest

“Those of you interested in the She Speaks scholarship be sure to write a post on your blog this weekend about why you want to attend, what you feel called to do, or a story of what is drawing you to attend this speakers, writers and leadership training.” Lysa Terkeurst, President Proverbs 31 Ministries

Hey good people!  I know I’ve been out of pocket for a minute, and I so apologize for that.  Believe it or not I’ve really missed this writing.  However, there’ve been a few unexpected changes in my life since my last post, and I’m still trying to figure out how to balance it all.  When I read the words above, I thought, “Well I guess this is my invitation to ease back into at least one of the things I love to do, and that’s writing.”

I desire to be a great writer one day.  In addition to wanting to write and to publish and to write some more, I want to speak.  Can you believe it?  Not many people truly “want” to speak.  To be perfectly honest, using the phrase “want to” in the same sentence with the word “speak” is probably a bit of a stretch for me, as well.  I don’t know if my desire is as much a want as it is a simple answer of “yes” to God and an act of obedience.  It’s my attempt to fall in line, although somewhat reluctantly, to His pre-ordained plan for my life.

You see if I had it my way, I’d never speak beyond a small group of a few smiling faces (smiling, FAMILIAR faces, preferably, lol…).  I mean let’s face it; socializing is far less intense and intimidating than leading.  Chatting it up with 2 or 3 girlfriends (or even strangers, for that matter), in my mind, is simply socializing.   Anything beyond that turns into a responsibility I just haven’t felt like I was good enough to have (I can thank the minister from this morning for squashing that myth!).  I’m finding this to be one of the many areas where my thoughts are simply not God’s, as His word makes clear in Isaiah 55:8.

As most of you know, my life’s passions are music, writing, the Word of God and Women’s ministry.  In 2008, I started a small group women’s ministry and led a group of 6 women (4 in person, and 2 participated remotely) through a Biblically-based study that I wrote.  We met once a month.  I can honestly say I’ve never experienced more joy in my life than I did for the nine months that we studied and fellowshipped together.  I had finally found my “place”, that thing God created me to do, and it was the sweetest time of my life.  My goal is to get back there and to stay there until the Lord moves me on to the next assignment.

I could go on for days about what moves me to minister to women.  I’ll never forget sharing a story from my life with a coworker some years ago.  I was so elated about one of the countless lessons God had taught me, so naturally, I had to find another young woman to share it with.  She listened intently, but I could see the struggle in her eyes as she desperately tried to make sense of it all.  It was too much for her to digest, at the time, and with no one else around I’m sure it felt like she was being poured on.  Noting the deer caught in headlights look in the eyes of my “audience”, I fast forwarded to the point and ended the story.  I’m sure she was quite relieved. 🙂

I vividly recall walking back to my desk, sitting down, and whispering a prayer to the Lord, asking Him to give me a platform. For it was at that moment that I recognized that the weight of my passion for God’s divine destiny for women was becoming far too heavy to sit on one woman at a time.  I wanted to do more.  I wanted to share with more women.  I wanted to see more women become who God created them to be.  I wanted to become who He created me to be!

This assignment is what is drawing me to attend this year’s She Speaks Conference in North Carolina.  She Speaks is a conference specifically focused on training Writers, Speakers, and Women’s Ministry leaders (sounds just like me, huh? Lol..).  I learned about Lysa Terkeurst, She Speaks and Proverbs 31 Ministries a few years ago when I first began exploring the world of women’s ministry.  Since at least 2006, if not earlier, I’ve wanted to attend the conference, but for one reason or another I’ve been unable to do so.  I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, this year is God’s perfect timing for me.  This post is, again, my “yes” to God, my act of obedience and submission to His assignment for me.  At the end of the day, not my will, but His perfect will be done.  No matter what, whether I’m selected to attend She Speaks or not, I will continue to move forward.  I will speak.

%d bloggers like this: