I haven’t had the capacity to write things from my deep place lately. I was blindsided a few months ago and it took me some time to recover and find Jesus in it. I will share more with you about the blindside, that will be a blessing, soon. Today, I am so excited to share with you about my last two and a half weeks, it has been life changing! I am so grateful to be a part of the Kingdom of God and have the opportunity to travel and hear incredible speakers and meet fabulous women God has called. Blessed is how I would put it.
I got the opportunity to go to Lysa Terkeurst’s She Speaks 2019 conference in Charlotte, NC. I am definitely called to teach and write about the love of Jesus and his truth and how it sets us free. I’ve known that for many years. Getting started and making it happen is quite another story and I had no idea where that “start” was. Lysa offers a conference annually that teaches us just how to do that. We can meet with publishers and other writers and teachers for tips they offer and pitfalls we can hopefully avoid. I met so many incredible women there and knew God had me exactly where He planned for me to be.
Because of the blindside I mentioned, when I got there I was pretty depressed. My personality is prone to depression, I can’t help that part, but typically with God I can pull myself out of it. Naturally I am a positive, enthusiastic woman, but when things hit and I take time to look at them, in comes depression. I was struggling with coming out of it this time. I went in early for the pre-conference (Day 1) and didn’t even go to the evening class. I was down. Instead, I got a bottle of wine, ordered pizza, and watched a movie. Productive, huh? Hubby arrived at 1 am that night so I knew his presence would motivate me to move forward and go to the conference. After all, he would pull the “you paid for it, you may as well get your money out of it card” to motivate me to continue to go to classes.
By Day 2, I was at least able to drag myself out of bed and get ready for the first session, glory, halleluyah! I was a few minutes late but I know that is an area God is working on me and didn’t stop to sit in shame. The session began with praise and worship and immediately I felt part of the cloud lift. I love how letting go of myself and praising my Dad will lift all that I’m struggling in and put it on His great big shoulders! The day was filled with classes and stories, struggles and hope, it was beautiful. Everyone has a story. Everyone. Sometimes it’s so hard to get outside of my own story to be able to let theirs in. After all, won’t that just cause more pain? I don’t like pain, you know? I want to avoid it in fact. As I opened my heart to hear the stories that day, God took me to a beautiful place of hope. So, Day 2, hope got in. I went back to my room a bit less down, less scared.
Day 3 arrived and sadly, my little girl inside realized it was the last day. I don’t like endings. I don’t want to see friendships end, jobs end, churches end, I don’t like endings! When I was reading the Left Behind series years ago, I was the one that was at the book store the day the next one was released. It couldn’t end, I had to know what happened next. When they completed that series I was left empty and I discovered they had a youth series too. I read every one of them and still have all the books in my book shelf. I loved those books! But, this day was the last so I was determined to get all I could out of it. I scribbled notes like a mad woman in each class. My last break-out class is the one that stopped me in my tracks. The class was titled, “Living a life of Influence On and Off the Stage”. I had no idea what was in store for me, but I listened intently as the speaker, Sharon Glasgow, talked about being LIT for Jesus. I know that I want to be LIT for Jesus! She pulled every ounce of my attention as she spoke about callings and surrendering to Jesus because of all He has done for me. At the end of the class she asked us if we wanted to be LIT for Jesus and told us that if we did here is the answer, fast from everything that doesn’t glorify God for 30 days. What?!? Does she have any idea what that would look like for me?? And, if I make that sacrifice will Hubby join me or tempt me? We had a two hour dinner break between our class and the evening session so I headed upstairs to have dinner with Hubby. So many questions ran through my mind as I made the trek up to our hotel room where I knew Hubby sat awaiting my arrival. Would I tell him? Would I risk it and hope that he would consider joining me? How would he react?
We got our things together and headed to dinner. I knew we might have a glass of wine and it might give me the liquid courage to bring up the subject. Liquid courage has been a part of our lives now for over five years. While the kids were growing up, it wasn’t as big of a thing in our home but once they were gone, it was a favorite past-time of ours to sit on the back porch with wine and visit. A few nights a week turned into most nights of the week and some weeks, every night of the week. It’s just wine right? And wine is good for the stomach and in Bible days they drank wine daily. In Paul’s letters to Timothy, Paul tells him not to neglect drinking wine because it helps the stomach. I have stomach issues and it helps to settle my stomach, right? I can think of every excuse in the book that I chose to drink most nights and a lot of it was simply, I had a hard day. We weren’t hurting anyone right? Hubby and I both had left our ministries so obviously God hasn’t called us to lead, right? Boy, I promise I can come up with every excuse in the book. But, the question is this, does drinking every night, or even most nights, of the week glorify God? My answer was “no”, I prayed Hubby’s would be too.
Sitting at dinner I shyly said to Hubby after telling him all about the session, “Would you consider fasting for 30 days with me from things that don’t glorify God?”. I was truly surprised when he, without hesitation, looked me in the eye and said, “YES!”. I felt so blessed in that moment. You see, it isn’t just drinking too much wine, it’s also about eating junk that my body doesn’t recognize as food, it’s watching shows and movies that don’t honor the God I love as my Daddy, it’s spending the time He has given me watching videos, it’s so many things. God has more to life for me than this stuff and I want it! So, that night we started our plan of action. I was traveling again the following week with friends to another women’s conference and when I returned, we would begin. Guess what? We have!
While I was gone I prayed for God to reveal to me some truths about who I am and what He has for me. I prayed about what I would offer up as my sacrifice for 30 days and God so gently has walked me through the first four and a half days. It’s not much but I am on the way and He has shown up mightily already. I know God was preparing me before I even heeded the call to fast. Since I began, almost every day during my quiet time He has led me to verses calling me to fast, His way of winking in my direction and letting me know He sees me and is coming for me in this fast.
Thank you for walking this journey with me and encouraging me along the way. I appreciate those of you who read what God gives me to write and I pray I always lead you to more conversation with Him. I will fill you in on my second conference in the next few days, until then, God bless!
“For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13