He Speaks at She Speaks!
This summer is racing right on by! We celebrated all three children's birthdays in June. I have been away quite a bit and unfortunately I am one of the few people I know who does not own their own laptop. Hence, the number of recent posts! :)
I flew to San Diego with my husband the end of June and spent my time shopping and touring as he worked a conference there. In July, I vacationed with with family and friends for two weeks at Cherry Grove Beach, South Carolina. And this past weekend I attended the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference in Charlotte.
It seems like only a few short weeks ago, I registered for this event on March 15th, the last day to receive a discount for early registration. How many times did I consider cancelling? Too many to count, I'm sure! And now, I am certain that it was the enemy who attempted to alter my course for a phenomenal weekend of receiving spiritual nourishment, attaining practical information, and simply having fun and making new friends from all over the country and even Canada!
The conference was amazing. I had prayed that God would give me clear direction and boy, did he ever! He most definitely met me there this weekend.
Before I start, let me say that my dad has supported me with the publishing of my book, but he has told me over and over the last couple of years, "Your children need you...I don't belive it's God's timing for your ministry to 'take off'...maybe later after your children are grown..."
Even leading a women's Bible study, my dad does not agree with my priorities. In fact, he just told me at the beach a few weeks ago, "this is a critical time in your children's life."
Still, I wanted to lead a Bible study. My flesh kept fighting. The morning we packed up to come home, I opened my Bible to Proverbs hoping to find a clear answer about facilitating a study and participating in women's ministry again at my church. I began reading through Proverbs 22 where I found the familiar verse, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Prov. 22:6)
Hmmmmm. Was that an indication that I should be focusing on my children?
Just in case I misunderstood, I decided to keep reading.
Suddenly, there it was! Proverbs 23:22, "Listen to your father, who gave you life."
Okay God. I get it. My daddy was right. I guess I should listen, huh?
So, I decided leading a women's Bible study was not the right move for me at this time, and a week later I drove to Charlotte to She Speaks to learn more about pursuing my writing and speaking ministry.
It was profound.
There were over 600 women at the conference and I have no doubt that God spoke to each one in His own way.
So today, I wanted to share a few of my "take home" messages.
First, Lysa TerKeurst is a dynamic speaker! I have received Proverbs 31 daily devotionals for as long as I can remember and they bless me each day. However, I have never heard Lysa speak in person. Let me just say it was powerful.
She instructed that ministry is 24/7. That means at home, with your family. Ouch!
She also pointed out that our reaction determines our reach. Our reactions (good or bad) determine the potential of our reach in ministry. Something to meditate on as I head over to the DMV this week to renew my driver's license! Not looking forward to standing in that line. Again, ministry is 24/7. I shall smile and be patient. :)
Seriously, Lysa stated, "when we pause, the Holy Spirit has time to interrupt our natural flesh reaction." Please Jesus, help me remember to PAUSE!
Renee Swope explained that there are different seasons in a woman's life and ministry. Taking care of small children, the illness of a parent, empty nesters...you get the idea.
"GO" seasons are when we are speaking and writing regularly and are at a place where we are able to put a lot of time into our ministry. "SLOW" seasons are where maybe we can do some ministry work, but know that we need to be there for our families as well, and there are "NO" seasons when we realize we must tend to the needs of family only and put our ministry on hold.
Okay, so I am in a slow season. It has to be this way now. My daughter is 13, one son is 10, and the other son is 4. My children need me at home. My husband needs me at home. He is wonderful to support me in ministry and let me go do what I like to do, but I want to be sure I am not overdoing it.
Angela Thomas spoke on Saturday night. I LOVE THIS WOMAN! She was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina and she lives in Greensboro. She even has an accent like mine. And she said it's OKAY to sound this way! :)
She talked about the Sovereignty of God in our "calling." Simply put, "The Lord is the decider of who does what calling." When you see others doing things in ministry you would like to be doing, it's okay. Her response was, "Maybe it's not my turn yet." Our job is to become a woman who is ready while we are waiting for our turn.
Angela also instructed that we are to be seeking God first (Matthew 6:33). And very matter of factly said, "You can't 'bring it' if you haven't been somewhere to 'get it!'"
She was a treat to hear!
Karen Ehman gave the Sunday morning message based on Revelation 2, staying true to your first love. Good works are great, but they mean nothing if you have forgotten your first love...Jesus! She spoke to my heart about not allowing yourself to become distracted by all the things that tune out our time with Him (TV, facebook, whatever it is that are our time wasters). Keep Jesus our focus!
Finally, the most powerful message that I heard was from our surprise guest via video - Beth Moore! Her message was short, but packed full of Truth and practical advice. My eyes began to well up with tears as she spoke the very message my dad has been giving me for many months.
It was as if she said, "Christy Long, your Father wanted me to tell you..."
- "Never neglect your family for ministry."
- "Never go beyond where your husband is willing to bless what you are doing."
- "No amount of success in ministry makes up for failure with your family."
And the last one...here's the clincher...
- "Your speaking ministry will still be there after your children are grown!"
Was that why I was at the conference? To hear those words?
I needed new perspective. Unfortunately, it took Beth Moore saying it before it began to resonate with me.
My earthly father had spoken the same exact words to me countless times.
My Heavenly Father had whispered those words in my ear but why had I not listened? Still I pressed on to do what I wanted to do.
I am still available to speak, but I have determined that I am in a "SLOW" season and from now on I will listen to my Father about opportunities that are presented.
I will pour my life into my kids. In fact, I feel His "calling" in helping with the youth -to be more involved with my children and focused on their spiritual needs.
I will wait for my turn in ministry.
I will continue to write.
I will continue to seek the Lord.
I will work to become a real "Proverbs 31" woman who takes care of her husband, her children, and her home.
I will be content with my calling.
And one day...when my Father says, "Now, it is your turn."
I will "BRING IT!"
We traded a lot of cards this weekend at the conference and I would love to hear from other women. What was your "take home" message? Feel free to post any comments.
For His Glory,