Monday, September 15, 2008

Step Up

I had a wonderful weekend. I traveled to a small town up north called Markleysburg, Pennsylvania and was blessed beyond belief! I was even told that my Southern accent wasnt all that bad - what a compliment! Smiles.

I was speaking at a women's conference there, that my sweet friend Gretchen had organized. Earlier in the year, she had a vision, a God sized vision, about this conference and she was so excited to see her vision actually become a reality. She hoped to bring in women from all walks of life and all different churches, so that they could be fed and nurtured with Gods Word.

At first she was a little disappointed in the turnout, only 50 ladies had signed up - but by the time the conference began on Saturday morning, 100 ladies showed up! We had an amazing time in praise and worship with a great praise band, and God was so obviously there with us. We knew God could do it!!

After I had given all three of my speaking sessions (the weekend was focused on the Reinventing Your Rainbow theme), I saw lots of tears and I saw God moving. Not because of anything I had done, but because He had prepared hearts to see, hear, taste and smell Him and the exact words from His Word that they needed to hear.

He had worked miracles in peoples hearts and helped them to realize that He loves them unconditionally and they are forgiven for their sins, no matter how bad their sins are. They encouraged one another and laughed and cried together. It was so great!

The most exciting part was the women that came up to speak to me after the seminar, and shared with me how God been calling them to a special task, each one which was completely different than anyone elses, and that for the first time, they felt like maybe God could use them. One lady felt she had been called to write a book; another was called to take over the greeters program at their church; another was called to be healed from her eating disorder so she could minister to others; another's heart was healed from the pain of a past abortion as she accepted Gods forgiveness. And the list goes on.

For the first time, they felt encouraged to actually allow themselves to believe that God could use them, and that the painful experiences they had lived through could actually be used to Gods glory. I was amazed at the faith and the strength of all of these women, and I know they are going to make an impact in the kingdom of God. God was working hard on Saturday! Wow.

As I wiped my own tears, I found myself asking God why He gives me this privilege. What had a I ever done to deserve to be a part of seeing Him work in peoples hearts? Why did I deserve to be blessed by women, total strangers, but sisters at heart? Me, just a shameful, broken, and imperfect sinner, is able to be used by God. It still astounds me.

Have you ever felt like God couldnt use you because of your brokenness? Have you ever felt like God could never do anything big through you and your life because of sins in your past, current patterns of sin, relationship problems, money issues, lack of skill, wavering faith, doubt and insecurities?

If you have, I want to encourage you to pray this verse all day (and I mean all day!):
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose.

Now, take a moment to read the same verse from The Message Bible:
Romans 8:26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Did you catch that last part? Every detail in our lives can be used for something good - the only thing that will keep that from happening, is if we choose not to respond to Gods call. If we choose not to put aside our own feelings, and to allow our fears and insecurities keep us from taking a leap of faith, then God cant use those things in your life as He had planned.

And yes - God does have a plan for you! Remember Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

We may not be able to see the whole staircase, but we can always see the first step. All things can be used to His glory, if we trust Him enough to take the initiative to take a risk.

Ready to go for a walk?

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Joyful said...

Tracie, God is using you not only at these Ladies Events, but using you to speak His words to those of us who read them here. Thank you for this encouragement today.

Ready to walk,

Karen said...

Tracie -
I have been reading your blog for the last several weeks to months now. I started following you after I read one of your devotions with Proverbs 31. It may have been about concerns with the world around us... or the one you ran on the beach without sunglasses... Anyhow, it seems you ALWAYS speak/write directly to something that is on my heart!! You are speaking what I have been praying about. Today I read your blog that references Romans 8:28. This is very important as I have been praying about being used in God's kingdom. Where He would have me... spiritual gifts/earthly gifts. HA! The amazing thing is... as I looked back at my prayer journal from 9-17-07 I read Romans 8 on that day and highlighted Romans 8:28! I love these amazing moments with God. Thank you!!