I apologize for not getting this up right away after returning from the She Speaks conference, but the truth is, I haven’t quite known how to put into words the experiences that I had this weekend. As I write, I am praying that God will guide my words so that you might catch a glimpse of what is was like for me.
I discussed in a previous post attending She Speaks in 2005 and what has transpired in my life in the area of God’s calling since that time. I had not been back to the conference since then as I had not felt the Lord leading me to attend. When I became aware of Shari Braendel now being a part of the Proverbs 31 speaker team, and that she would be leading a track for women who feel called to Image Ministry, it seemed the Lord was again calling me to the She Speaks conference.
I signed up almost immediately after the opening of registration because the Image track was limited to only 12 ladies. However, as time passed and I found myself struggling with what a speaking ministry might look like for me in this area, I began to question why I was going to the conference.
I would like to mention here in case you haven’t read my previous post that it was an amazing experience the last time I attended. So God-filled and God-honoring, still…
I often thought about cancelling my registration but was never able to bring myself to do so. Finally, the time for the conference began to quickly approach, and I realized I had waited long enough that I would be unable to get the majority of my money back if I canceled. So it was with a confused heart that I accepted that I was going and began to try to prepare my five-minute teaching topic for Saturday evening’s evaluation group. And then…nothing. Nada. Zip.
I didn’t really panic about this because God didn’t give me my teaching topic when last I attended until the Monday before I was scheduled to leave on Friday. I was counting on the fact that He was asking me to trust Him once again, and when He decided the time was right, He would let me know what He wanted me to say. And He did…or so I thought.
He gave me a passage of scripture and supporting material on Monday just like before, but I couldn’t seem to pare it down to five minutes. I knew it was a message that needed to be heard because it was one that I needed to hear myself. Still, I was really struggling with the time issue, and this was not the first time that had happened.
When I attended in ’05, my speaker team evaluator said that she thought I was headed in the right direction with my topic, but that I had not really driven my point home in the time allotted.
I need to take a little detour here and explain a bit more about that. Ordinarily, I would have been crushed by my evaluation. I think I only received a 3 out of 5 overall. Being a perfectionist by nature, under different circumstances, I probably would never have attempted this again. But as God so often does, He had other plans, and He orchestrated a way for me to be okay.
The evaluations were completed just before the evening meal. I had already decided that what was done was done and knowing what my evaluator and peers had said before I retired to my room for the evening wasn’t going to change a thing, so I determined not to look at my sheets until that time.
I had only just entered the dining hall when one of the women in my group came running up to me. She told me how my message had spoken to her so deeply. She said that one of the personal stories I had shared was something she was struggling with at that very moment, and that God had spoken to her through me. Not only that, she and her sister had attended together, and they had only told one another on the way to the conference that they were both struggling with the same thing! She said she raced off after the evaluations were over to tell her sister about me and brought her over to meet me later that evening.
I was so humbled. Even before I read the evaluation sheets, I knew I had not done a very good job. I knew the topic was too big for the amount of time I had to speak, and I felt somewhat despondent sensing that I had let God and myself down.
However, the God of the universe who loves me so much, my Abba Father (I’m tearing up right now), reached down His hand to touch me through those lovely ladies to reassure me that it didn’t matter if my talk had only rated a 3. He had used me to speak a word to another of His children. If I would just trust Him and continue to step out in obedience, He could and would use my seemingly paltry offering for His glory.
Oh how great is our God! I do love Him so!
Since this post is already quite long, and there is still lots more to tell, I will continue with more tomorrow.