Saturday, August 18, 2012

Compelled ~ ReNEWed Life '12

Have you ever had something so big happen in your life that you have a hard time summing it up? I have…yet again. Too often I get caught up in writing the “perfect” words, in telling it all. Today, I’m going to be easy on myself, and simply write what I have on my heart. What better?

Last Saturday, August 11th I was at
ReNEWed Life Women’s Event. If you missed my last post, this is a little of what I wrote about it beforehand:

Just a few months ago, this event didn’t exist and, as far as I know, nothing like it has ever taken place in our small community. My friend, Jill, and I had helped organize a big women’s retreat in a larger town an hour and a half from home for a few years. Although it was such a blessing, at different times, each of us had felt God leading us to step off that leadership team. One day afterwards, we discussed a prompting in our hearts to “do something” more for the women right here in our rural community...As we prayed about it, the Lord clearly opened doors for National Speaker and Author Lisa Whittle to come to our rural area, small town Cresco, Iowa.

I’m leaving out many details and many displays of God’s faithfulness…I can hardly wait to watch Him display His glory (again) next Saturday at this women’s event that two farmer’s wives and others in rural Iowa envisioned at His prompting! And we will give Him all the praise and glory!

The ReNEWed Life Leadership Team with guest speaker,
Lisa Whittle: Kim, Teresa, Lisa, Jill, Rachel (me)

What a blessed day it was, from small details to big! His presence was strong and sweet. The words He spoke through Lisa Whittle were powerful. He also spoke through the two local gals who shared their testimonies. The worship music was harmonious. In fact, I still can’t get the song “10,00 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” out of my head. He even ministered to us through the food and décor.  He showed up, answered prayers and did His work, as I knew He would.

I have found myself in tears of rejoicing several times since. I am thankful that we were obedient and did the work He called us to. That we chose to step out in faith. We are beneficiaries. HE is exalted!

The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
I Thessalonians 5:24   

The joy of being part of something like this goes way beyond that one day. In the preparation and praying beforehand He displays His greatness. We realize that we can not exhaust His resources and the things that He does through us are so beyond our abilities without Him. We get to praise Him for all the things that the one attending never gets to see, His sanctification starts in us. Although it’s work, it’s the greatest joy to have a “behind the scenes” view, to see and bask in His glory! Afterwards, I stand in awe of all that just happened…in small town Cresco, Iowa!
The night before the event, we got to meet and sit down with the speaker, Lisa Whittle, someone I’ve respected through her blog and books. And, yet, I wondered would her words match her life? Turns out she is an absolute gem, someone who ministers to your heart both with and without words. Down to earth, personable, authentic, Christ driven. 

That night, we followed Lisa to a local rehab where she spoke. A foretaste of what was to come at ReNEWed. That night and the next, the words God spoke through her pierced my soul, left my heart aching in a good way. The words caused me to think deeper. They stuck with me beyond that day and God began to change me (again) from the inside out. He's still doing it, days later.

Before she left, she asked if the day met my expectations. I stumbled over my words, but the answer was "Yes!" You see, we did all of this preparing to minister to women in our community, to impact lives with the Truth. Turns out, I’m one of those women.

Lisa encouraged me to keep on, in a way that is rare. Then, she wrote in my copy of her book
{w}hole to keep being brave. I thought she was the bold one, now she calls me brave? I felt the boldness rise up in me even more. I need to be, want to be, must be brave! She leads by her example.

I have several things from the event that I want to share with you, my blog friends. Instead of trying to cram it all in one post, I hope to spread it out over several. My first series! :)

Lisa Whittle spoke to us about Holes and the God who makes us Whole. I want to share how God spoke to me through each message. And, yet, today for my first post about ReNEWed Life Women’s Event ‘12, I feel compelled to write about this (to be honest, it kind of surprised me):

After Lisa’s last message, she shared with us about
Compassion International, a Christian child advocacy ministry. She said something that spoke to me in more ways than one, God wants compelled believers, not just ones that are stirred. You can be stirred and never do a thing, we must be compelled to step out (this applies to so many things in our Christian lives...including starting women's conferences). She said we need to open our eyes to the things going on in this world.

The words of the Casting Crowns song instantly started ringing through my head, “Break our hearts for what breaks yours”. The truth is, it’s easier to live blind. I realize children wait in orphanages, ravaged with fear, head lice and disease, bellies empty and hearts hollow when they lay their head down at night. Other children get sold into sex trafficking and their little bodies are sold over and over, day after day. Some suffer in war-torn countries, barefoot, thirsty, hopeless…with no one to tell them where real hope is found. Others live right under my nose who mock His name with their words and actions. Does it break my hear, really?  What am I doing about it? What should I be doing? 

I already sponsor a child through a different organization. How often do I even remember to pray for her? Am I so busy building my happy, plush lifestyle that I forget how others blessed I spoiled really? That this life is not about me. I pour money into new furniture, paint, landscaping, yet another toy for my children who have an ample supply. Never thinking of the one without…or to give thanks to the Giver who supplies all of it, or at least not nearly enough.

It’s easy to get stirred up about these things at a women’s conference. How compelled am I? Enough to do something, something that might cost me something or push me beyond my comfort? Do I truly want to be His hands and feet? Not only to throw a little money at it, but to do the Jesus work, even when it's hard and not so glamorous?  

Break my heart for what breaks yours, Lord. Compel me to help. Then, make me brave enough to follow through.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress and
to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
James 1:27

Next time: what God showed me about facing my truth through Lisa’s message “Wholeness Starts in the Heart”.  

Until then, live compelled, be brave and do the work!

1 comment:

  1. Rachel, this is so, so good!! God spoke thru you as well! I'm still in awe at all that took place, but like you keep praying that hearts (mine) weren't just stirred but we'd all be compelled to do the work God has for each of us! Then I pray for the wisdom to know what that is! Let's talk soon!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing from you!