This past April I admitted something to God I hadn’t really admitted before. I’m sure it wasn’t news to him. (smile) But, in some ways, it was news to me.
I was reading the story of Hannah in I Samuel. While I have loved that story for years, it spoke to me in a new way. In April when I read the longing in Hannah’s life for a son, I felt a longing in my own life. Not for another child, but for God to use me in a new way.
A full 8 months into my retirement, I was finally feeling rested and, in fact, energized.
It seemed God was pulling me away from previous ministry areas. But he wasn’t pushing me in a new direction — or any direction at all, it seemed.
Hannah’s groans to God resonated with me in a fresh way. “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime…”
I wrote in my journal, “I want my actions to matter. I want to do what God wants me to do now, here. Is it Bible study? Is it writing for my blog? O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, you see my sorrow and my lostness in life. If you will look on my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a clear view of your purpose for me, I will give it back to you. It will be done for your glory.”
Just as I was about to close my Bible and journal, I “heard” God quietly ask, “What do you desire?”
Excuse me? I always thought he would be telling me what to do, not asking me what I want.
I thought long and hard for an answer. Then I knew.
I whispered, “I want to speak.”
Like, public speaking. Like, to groups of people, even large groups of people.
For the record, I heard no response from God that day. Apparently our conversation was over..
Mark tells the story of Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, shouting out to Jesus who was nearby. People tried to quiet him, which, naturally, caused him to shout louder. (I might be distantly related to Bartimaeus. I share that same trait.) When Jesus called Bartimaeus to come near the blind beggar rushed to him. And then Jesus asked “What do you want me to do for you?”
Does that seem like an odd question? Did I mention Bartimaeus was BLIND?!?
But maybe Jesus knew it was important for Bartimaeus to know what he really desired. Sight? Means so he wouldn’t have to beg anymore? A new mat to lay on?
Sight seems obvious to us, but I found that day in April that things aren’t always obvious.
(wait for it) …
SIX DAYS LATER (seriously)… a friend contacted me and asked if I might, well, be interested in speaking at a conference in Indianapolis the end of May! My heart jumped! Honestly, I jumped. ALL. AROUND. MY. LIVING. ROOM.
I got all the details and then, y’all, in my best calm Christian Girl style said, why yes, I was certainly interested, and would think and pray about it and get back to her. (Can I get an amen?)
Now between you and me (and her, if she reads this), I prayed. I prayed a prayer of THANKSGIVING and AMAZEMENT and PRAISE!
And soon after that, God presented A SECOND speaking opportunity — very different from the first one.
Tomorrow I leave for the Influence Conference in Indianapolis. (I’m not speaking there, by the way.)
According to the Influence Network website, the conference is for “Sisters, friends, students, moms, artists, bloggers, creatives, writers, speakers, dancers, and daughters of God.
“We believe that every woman has influence, right where she is. (The Influence Conference) is a celebration and a starting place to encourage and spur on women in their passions, their projects, and the places they come from.”
God is helping me name my passions. He’s presenting the projects to me as I can handle them. He’s teaching me to do what he wants me to do here, now.
I can’t wait to experience what God has for me and 400 of my passionate, influential sisters this weekend. Some of it may “leak out” in my writing here. I hope so. I want to use what God gives me to influence YOU, sweet friends, so you can, in turn, influence those around you.
What are you passionate about? What do you desire? Who are you influencing in the place you are? How can I help you? How can you help me. Oh that we would spur each other on!