I have been pretty scarce in BlogWorld lately. My mind has been pre-occupied and much of my time filled with Rise & Shine Women's Retreat...not to mention all the other demands of a busy wife and mama. :) The retreat is only 2 weeks away now!!!
Being part of the planning committee for Rise & Shine has "stretched" me and increased my faith in a number of ways. Back in January our team met for the first time. My good friend Jill felt the Lord's leading to start a women's conference. She had felt this prompting for a couple of years, but wasn't sure how she could ever pull something like this off. She kept praying about it, until it came to a point that she knew that it was definately His idea and not hers. She shared the idea with her husband and a couple of friends (myself being one of them). Long story short, Jill and her friend/mentor, Leanne, decided to take the idea to Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. They opened their doors...and offered a lot of support!
Our little team was put together and we began planning a women's event. We were thrilled when Renee Swope, a national speaker and author with Proverbs 31 Ministries, agreed to be our guest speaker. None of us had ever done anything quite like this before...or at least not to this extent. We didn't know exactly how all of this was going to work or what it was going to look like. Yet, God did! He kept opening doors to lead us in the right direction (and continues to).
Interestingly enough (and you may not believe this, but it is absolutely true) almost 3 years ago, I sat in a women's conference listening to a women's speaker when I felt the Lord speaking to my spirit. It wasn't an audible voice, but I knew Who it was. It was like He said to me, "You're going to be part of something like this." And I knew what He meant. Yet, there I sat...I was pregnant, a farmer's wife living in rural Iowa. I thought, "What? ME? How could I ever do something like that?" I have to admit that I questioned the Lord. Did He get the right girl?! Yet, joy rose up within me and I remember praying in my mind, right there in the midst of this huge conference, "I don't know how, but I believe that you will make a way, Lord." I never told anyone about this. I actually shoved it to the back of my mind for a some time. Every once in a while I would recall what He said, but still didn't see a way. I would say a little prayer about it and shove it back to it's little corner in my mind.
Back in December when Jill first told me her idea about starting a women's conference, I wasn't shocked. I knew that I was suppose to be part of it, yet didn't say a word about this to Jill. I just told her that I would pray about it...which I did. I was thrilled a few weeks later when she asked me to be part of the Rise & Shine Team . Isn't this just the way that the Lord works? He opens doors where there doesn't even seem to be a door!!!
I'll be honest with you, there were some times along the way that I doubted myself (which I guess is really doubting God's ability to work through me). There were a few times that I wanted to quit (so thankful that I didn't!!). There were times when I felt in over my head (which I probably was and still am, but God always provides!). There were times when I wondered why on earth God chose me (ME!) for this job. Yet, each time, I felt God's prompting to carry on...and trust Him!
Now, I could tell you one story after another about how God has revealed His provision and faithfulness to me personally throughout this planning process...and I'm sure that I will have more to tell you in the next couple of weeks.
I'm thankful that Jill and Leanne stepped out in faith...and that Judy and I have had the opportunity to do the same.
I'm also soooo thankful...
For my part in Rise & Shine and all that I have learned.
That God continues to show me what He is capable of...and what He can do if we are obedient.
That it's not about me or my abilities, but about Him and His abilities!
For all the doors that He has opened.
For all the people who have come on board to help.
For the relationships that it is building.
For all the women who will attend (and I am praying that they will be blessed on October 31st).
For the doors that it is opening for others to use their talents to glorify the Lord.
That God is working through each person involved to pull this off.
Plus many other things!!!
However, I'm mostly thankful that I know that all of this is pleasing and glorifying to the Lord! It's a lot of work, but it's a pleasure to do the work of the Lord.
PRAISE HIS NAME!
Let me ask you, where is God asking you to step out in faith in your life?! Is there something He's specifically calling you to do? Have you prayed about this lately? What's holding you back? Maybe it's not the right time yet, but maybe it is. What are you doing to prepare while you wait? Remember two things: God WILL use those who are willing and obedience begins in the seemingly small things!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20 & 21 (NIV)