There I was.
Closing my eyes and hitting submit for 1 ticket to Allume writers’ conference.
What was I thinking? No one was going with me, it’s all the way in South Carolina for 4 days and…
But yet, something in my spirit said, “Just say yes. Just keep saying yes to the small things and God will direct it.”
So I did. In total faith that this was where I was supposed to be.
Thoughts, doubts, fears and questions mounted in my mind as the day approached. What have I done? Am I crazy?
Two weeks before take-off, my friend Jennifer received exciting news that she could join me. Yeah! At least now I had a friend.
In blind excitement we set off for South Carolina.
From the first flight, God overwhelming confirmed yes, I am crazy, but He put me on this plane bound for Allume.
By the morning, God began forming our circle of friends. I met Leigh on the plane flight, Cambria from the shuttle bus, and Julie arrived the morning following the opening presentation. It was as if we’d known each other for years and had planned months in advance to meet up at Allume.
But we didn’t. Twelve hours ago, we were strangers.
I walked into Allume a few days removed from being totally broken. I was lonely, confused, depressed and lost.
I felt like I was supposed to run a three mile race every day. I battled with thinking I was supposed to live totally drained all the time, because when I’m empty, I’m totally dependent on God to fill me up.
I remember going out for a jog one afternoon, set on running three miles. Now, let me tell you, I have a 2 mile course I actually like. Yes, I know you can roll your eyes. I like it because it’s not too hard, it’s not too long, it’s not too hilly. And because of these, it’s not too hards, I actually thought I needed to run a hilly 3-mile course instead, because then I’m trusting in God’s strength.
You get what I mean? I can run 2 miles, but I need Jesus to help me run 3, so He would want that.
I easily rolled that mindset over into my daily life. Oh, this is easy, and I love doing this, for I still have energy left over, but God must not want me to do that, because then I don’t need Him.
I have thought that by wearing 27 different hats during the day and always embarking on the impossible, I was doing His will.
But I wasn’t.
Instead I was living a life of drudgery and defeat, devoid of any joy, life or peace. Which is not His will for me. His will is the fruit of the Spirit and I wasn’t seeing any.
“How do I get there Lord,” I asked at Allume.
The first night during worship He answered. All the ladies were standing and singing with the band, when I heard the word, Kneel.
But everyone’s standing and I don’t want to cause a scene….I say back
The song passed and I stayed standing, hoping the next song would bring everyone to their chair. The next song came and all were still standing. I heard that voice again, kneel.
So this time, I did.
As I knelt before the Lord and the ladies voices wrapped around me, I heard His voice again.
For me to become greater, you must become less.
Which was beautifully illustrated by my position. Tears rolling down my face, I agreed with Him.
Twelve hours later I woke up in the morning to the most beautiful sunrise. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know, I have a thing for sunrises. My son thinks God paints them just for me.
We were supposed to be downstairs for breakfast in 20 minutes and I just rolled out of bed, but I couldn’t move. Journal and pen in hand, I just stared out through the parted curtains at God’s masterpiece before me.
Sunrises remind me God is Faithful. He has proved that to me all my life. He is faithful. Always.
When the sun emerges above the horizon, not only does it spill breath-taking color across the sky, but the trees next to it are darkened. Silhouetted.
The words from the night before flashed into my mind. For me to become greater, you must become less.
Here’s the prayer I wrote in my journal on that hotel bed gazing at this scene and drinking in the Lord’s words to me: O Lord, as I focus on You, may you cause my questions, my troubles, my mountains that seem insurmountable to blacken in the background. May Your Glory silhouette my world. May my inadequacies be blackened against the back drop of your faithfulness. May your Glory be so bright I cannot even look straight at it and these trials, these trees would be completely overshadowed by your faithful Sonrise.
He is amazing folks. Breathtaking. Life giving.
I went into Allume a shattered, mixed up mess. I came out, refreshed, refined, refocused, and so thankful for the friends He brought my way.