I know I’ve been absent from my blog for a few months. Life got very busy last spring and I was occupied preparing for this weekend’s women’s retreat for the church I attend. I am speaking for 3 of the sessions.
A few years ago, while at retreat, the Lord spoke to me and told me that one day I’d be speaking to women. Little did I know it would be in that very sanctuary. I kept this to myself for a long time because it’s a bit outlandish, and I was uncertain as to how others would respond. I finally shared with my husband and he confirmed God’s calling. A few months later, I shared with my mom and her response was positive as well. But my husband and mom were family. Could God really do this thing?
I prayed and told God that I was willing, but he would have to open the doors. Until then, I’d wait. God opened doors for me to occasionally substitute teach at the adult Sunday school class I attend. Although nervous, each time I taught got a little easier.
Last fall I visited with the chairperson of this year’s retreat committee. She told me that they were not going to seek an outside speaker, but were looking for someone within our church who could speak at retreat. My heart rate quickened. Could this be something God would have me do? I didn’t say anything to her about my desire to speak to women, but I went home and prayed. She had shared the theme of this year’s retreat and a few days later, God gave me a passage of scripture and a general idea for a presentation fitting the theme. I asked, “God, is this you? If it is, you’ll have to open this door for me. I am going to wait on you.” Some time later the chairperson called me and asked if I would be willing to speak at retreat. I began to cry and said, “Yes. God has already given me a message.”
So here I am, 8 months later. This weekend I will be the speaker for three sessions at our women’s retreat. This is new ground for me. The preparation, although led by the Holy Spirit, has been difficult. Things didn’t just fly together. I have had to rely on prayer through it all. But I think that’s a good place to be because when it is all said and done, I know that I didn’t do this thing. God did. I’ve struggled with my perception that the women attending will look to be moved and inspired at retreat. I’ve grappled with this and talked to God about it. He gave me this word of encouragement: my job is to just share my story; it’s his job to do the inspiring. He lifted my burden.
I was asked to write a bio for the retreat booklet. I’d not written a speaker bio before so I went to P31 Ministries and checked out some of their speaker bios. I noticed that every woman featured is slender, has picture-perfect hairstyles, dashing outfits, and look so put-together. They speak on a regular basis, are published writers, and leaders in ministry. I am nowhere near where those ladies are. They make a living at what they do. When I awoke this morning, I immediately thought of those women, and I said to the Lord, “Why did you choose me to speak at this retreat? I don’t fit the mold of an inspirational speaker.” God’s response: “That’s exactly why I chose you.” The more I thought about it, I saw a pattern with God. He chose a shepherd boy to be a king, a fugitive and murderer to be the leader of the Israelites, a persecutor to become a member of the persecuted, and an unknown young teen virgin to be the bearer of a king. I guess God often chooses those who don’t fit the mold.
I would appreciate your prayers for me this weekend. There could be no greater joy in all of this than to be used of God to minister and encourage someone who attends this year’s retreat.