Where do I begin???? God is so good! The women's retreat was AWESOME! God was HUGE!!!!!!
He answered so many prayers! We prayed that God would be big, that His Spirit would blow through like a mighty wind! And, He did! Women's lives were changed! Praying over prayer cards, a woman came to Christ that weekend (hallelujah!), women were set free from bondage, hearts were healed. God's fingerprints were all over the place! He was working in the big things and the little things.
I was so overwhelmed by many things. All the women there had her own "story." What came to mind is that these were just "regular" women- women who are our friends, coworkers, neighbors, moms of friends, women sitting next to us at church. But, we don't know what is going on with women. As women, we put on a "happy face" and just do life. As women opened up, they told about broken childhoods, broken marriages, areas of bondage, disease. They honestly shared about their struggles and pain. They came and allowed God to heal them. God met each woman where she was, binding up her wounds. God loved on each woman there and brought victory! Praise God! He came to set the captives free!
The first message God laid on my heart to speak was on His love. That was Sat. morning. The Spirit filled my mouth with such beautiful words of love for the women and the importance of having an authentic, living, breathing relationship with each one. Listen to how precious God is. The director of women's ministry, Debbie, opened the conference and told a beautiful story using Psalm 139. God had given me a part of my talk on Psalm 139, and then one of the breakout leaders had Psalm 139 as the basis for her message! Did God work that out or what?????
Then, (this is so cool!) I had planned on doing the next talk Sat. evening on the theme verse, Romans 12:2, "Do not conform any longer to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The last part of my message for Sunday morning was supposed to be on forgiveness (God's forgiveness for us and letting go of our shame). God spoke to my heart Sat. afternoon and told me someone needed to hear that Sat. night. So, I flip-flopped my message and spoke on forgiveness Sat. night. We finished by walking to the cross- bringing to it whatever God laid on their hearts. It was powerful! Women were weeping as God released them! It was such an honor to be a part of it and to witness God's Spirit working so powerfully- and humbling!
I know God was working in the "little" things as well. Sat. night we were having some "technical difficulties." There was no sound for my PowerPoint. We couldn't get the projector to start. I could've gotten frustrated and flustered, but instead rested in God (thank You, God! this, too, was only by the power of your Spirit!), knowing He had all things under control. Of course, prayed over the computers, mics, etc. But, there was something more going on. (spiritual warfare, too- Satan was trying to get me nervous!) But, the tech. man from the hotel, Lawrence, was in trying to fix it. And, Lawrence was under heavy stress. He was sweating (it was 90 degrees, 2 weddings outside on the golf course- everything was going wrong!) and complaining. "I am running around. I haven't had a break since last Sat. and won't until Thursday...." Well two things- first what the enemy means for evil, God can turn for good. Satan meant to squash what was happening in that room full of women, but God turned it for good. And, second- God can work ALL THINGS together for good. I began praying fervently for Lawrence. I don't know where Lawrence is or isn't in faith. I don't know if he is saved. I don't know if anyone ever prayed for Lawrence. But, I did that night! Even back in my room, I prayed fervently! God says He is looking for someone to stand in the gap, and I stood in the gap for Lawrence. God then placed on my heart to write a thank you to Lawrence and inside I told him that God loves him. Don't know what Lawrence thought about all of this, but I am believing God is calling Lawrence to Him. Praise God!
Anyway, thank you, thank you for all of your prayers! Here's a funny: driving there, praying, I asked, "How did I get myself into this??!!!! I will never speak again!!!!! I can't believe I am doing this!" But, by the end of the first talk Sat. morning, I was soaring with God, thanking Him and praising Him for this privilege and honor to His mouthpiece and to minister to women. And, I was praying for more opportunities! Praise Him!
I love you all!
May the God of all comfort and joy give you eternal encouragement and hope! May He bless you abundantly and fill you will all peace and joy!
Grace and peace to you all!