Wow!! The month is about to end, meaning this 31 day journey will do the same! Though my day after day posts will be done the quest to answer this question will never be. So rather than a post that wraps everything up, I want to share what's on my heart...
This past Saturday I was blessed to attend the Rise and Shine Women's Retreat! It's the 3rd time I've been there, but the first time I attended as one simply going to be encouraged, refreshed and renewed. The last two years I've been part of the team, which was wonderful and a blessing itself. But it was a bit different to sit and relax rather than be running around tying up loose ends and getting a bit stressed with thoughts of being on stage.
So Saturday I drove down a bit sad, though being on the team adds a little stress, it also includes a lot of excitement. As I drove I prayed and asked God to help me let go of what was and rather than miss what's always been I asked Him to help me enjoy the day He'd put together. I also prayed for Him to speak, I knew He would, so then I asked for His help in listening.
I walked in the doors greeted by familiar faces and the day began. Susie Larson was the speaker, but often times the voice I heard belonged to God. Her opening talk was all about identity and if you've followed my blog over the last month and really the past year, you know that topic has been on my heart. Much of what she said encouraged me and confirmed what God has already been saying...I truly was touched and blessed.
By mid-morning I realized God had heard and was answering my prayers - towards the end of one of her talks, Susie led women in a time of identifying the things we hold onto. She encouraged us to write these down, crumple the paper, walk to the front, throw them down and leave it all in God's hands.
As the music started some women began to write, others were deep in thought and for a few tears began to fall. I took my list, which basically consisted of fears and doubts, and went to the front. As I returned to my seat I was struck by all the women moving forward...many with emotion evident on their face. I sat and again looked to the front to see women of all ages, from all places and in various stages, many of them joined with one another praying.
Though the music was instrumental it was then I began to listen....the Lord spoke to my heart, "Jill, look around, do you see this? Look at what I've done. Leave those doubts and fears in my hand and trust - you can't, but I can. Remember this!!" By now I'm the one with tears in my eyes and emotion on my sleeve.
Friend I want to explain a bit more, five years ago this month for the first time ever God put the idea of a women's conference on my heart. Today as I've continued to reflect, I went back to my prayer journals to see how this all started...
From Oct. 16, 2006, "Lord, if this dream I had is at all a message from You show me what to do. Never in my life would I have pictured myself doing something like this...Open the doors to what You want me to do and then give me the confidence and ability to do it. Lord it is amazing how You work!!"
God let that all sit for awhile as He continued to prepare me for what was to come. So fast forward to December of 2008, this is what I wrote,
"Lord it seems you've really been putting this conference idea on my heart quite a bit. And revealing some more details...in my mind this makes sense and I can see it, but then I think of all it involves and this is so beyond me. Father I know that means it will be You, so I ask you to help me stay focused on that and please keep showing me what to do. Lord, I trust You and know you have plans for good - don't let me mess them up."
Then from the very next day, "Lord this conference idea is on my heart and it seems you are revealing more pieces of the puzzle. If it's me doing that show me, but if it's You lead me on. I want it all to go according to Your plan. It is exciting to think about what You could do with this - Lord I know You have this on my heart for a reason!!! Keep me humble and may all of this glorify You!!"
Why do I tell you this?? Friend this is an idea that I thought was crazy!! Seriously I was nervous to share it with my husband, but God wouldn't let it die. Every step He led me to was one I was afraid to take. Believe me, it has been a journey...one that has taught me so much!!!
Over these last five years, He has helped me ask the question "Who am I?" but more importantly He's given me the answers and is now helping me believe them!! This past Saturday, He reminded me I am His chosen child, a daughter He delights in!! A new creation He works in and can work through - when I say yes!
Friend, perhaps today He is trying to get you to take a step, but like me you're afraid or feel undeserving, let my story encourage you - it's not at all about us, He is the one who will do it!! Just say yes and prepare yourself to look back with tears!!
We serve a BIG God, One we will forever be in awe of!!!