Saturday, April 2, 2011

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,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Something is Just Not Write

I’ve been dry.  Well, not me literally, but my pen’s been dry.  It’s as if my sweet thing has lost its “swagger.”  Is that how you use that word?  LOL… Help me, Lord, because I have no idea!  I’m sure I’m way too old to be trying to use that word anyway. 🙂

*Sigh…*

It’s the middle of March, and my beautiful blog space is weeping from the sting of neglect.  Sadly, I’ve made an appearance only twice this year.  Yes, my friends, my pen has been dry.  Something is just not write (yes, I meant “write”), and now I’m a little scared.  The message is still alive inside me.  I feel it wrestling for freedom.  Yet, it seems my words have been taken hostage, being held for an unknown ransom amount.

So what brings me here today?  Some fear that time is running out…  Some desperation to get back on my writing track…  A sanctified, yet swift, kick in the proverbial rear…  And two simple words – She Speaks

I’m sure at least one of you recalls my zealous attempts, last year, to win a scholarship to the She Speaks Conference.  The annual conference is hosted by Lysa Terkeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries in Concord, North Carolina.  Well, it’s She Speaks time again, and I would love to win one of the two Cecil Murphy scholarships that will be given away on Monday.

The conference includes three tracks that only send a girl like me into tilt-a-whirl confusion.  The tracks are Speaking (She Speaks, speaking, get it?  Never mind….), Writing and Women’s Ministry.  Yep, my friends, ALL THREE!  Click here to check it out for yourself.

For those of you who know anything about me, I’m sure you understand at which door confusion entered.  Choosing between a speaking track and a writing track would be challenging enough, but no!  Lysa Terkeurst and her Proverbs 31 team had to go and throw in a Women’s ministry track, too.  Now God isn’t the author of confusion, so why in Jesus’ name would they do that to me???  LOL….

My writing has been stagnant for a few reasons:

1.  I’m just not always the best manager of my time.  I have it.  I counted, and all 24 hours are there.  But I’ve found that I often fail to give an assignment to every minute of my day, and I MUST get better.

2.  My life in 2010 and my life in 2011 are truly like night and day.  Joy came in the morning of 2011, and it’s been pretty busy ever since.  I have enough to do, plus my share of sweet distractions, and again, time slips away.

3.  Not managing my time well means not spending enough time in my Father’s word.  I recognize the thirst, and I’m working to quench it.

4.  The most profound reason of all, though, is that I have a message.  I have a message and a challenge from on High regarding this blog space and my writing in general.  I know my message, but I’m nervous about the challenge to transparently deliver that message.  This has undoubtedly been the biggest ink blotter of all!

I don’t have a dramatic reason for hoping to be chosen for one of the scholarships.  My wanting to attend She Speaks since 2004 probably pales in comparison to stories far more compelling.  I am simply a woman hanging onto her 30s by a thread and nervous that I’m missing my moment.  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.  I realize I need a jump start, and I simply believe She Speaks is just the voltage I need.  And yes….since I can’t figure out how to split myself in 3 (and believe me I’ve really been trying to figure it out), if awarded one of the scholarships, I would select the track that makes something write again. 🙂

Wise, Virtuous, Valuable,