Expectations. I struggle with them all the time. From bigger events such as my birthday (since I was raised to believe you were Queen for that day, anything less than that feels like a let down!!) to everyday encounters where I am let down, or disappointed, only to realize it was just because my expectations were probably just a tad too high.
She Speaks. The conference I signed up for, a conference for Christian women who write or speak publicly, or are simply trying to develop their skills in it. I really, really tried to have zero expectations. It was hard, since the cost of such an endeavor, plus the flight, hotel, etc was pretty high for us. But it was most certainly one of those things that God seemed to be pointing me to. So I went. With my expectations in check.
And I was amazed.
First of all, I was surrounded by 800 people who all feel led, called, asked, burdened to do the exact same thing I am. Or wanting to. That factor alone was worth going.
Secondly, as a wise friend told me, it’s all about networking. And she was right. I met some pretty delightful women that weekend. Some of these women I met from afar, on stage as they shared from their hearts and life experience. They encouraged us to stay true to our calling, to be bold in the telling of our stories and what God has placed on our hearts to share. They exhorted us to be aware that satan would love nothing more than to discourage us from finding or remaining on the path we are on…and he will do it in any way he can, using our deep rooted insecurities to stop us. Thoughts that creep in when we share our stories, and open our hearts to others. “Who do you think you are, what do you have to say that’s so special, or who wants to listen to you?” And on and on it can go. She Speaks spoke right to that issue throughout each session. Dispelling lies and replacing them with truth. We are daughters of the Most High, and we are here to give Him Glory and to tell HIS story. Period.
There was so much to take in. Since I am new to pretty much the entire writing scene, and everything it entails, I felt like an over-soaked sponge. I was full, and trying to glean as much as I could from the wise women around me.
So here is one, huge, game changing thing I took away from that weekend:
I had a pretty incredible, clearly God orchestrated encounter (as I grabbed my lunch I asked Him to show me who to sit down next to, which I rarely ever do!!!) with a woman who loved Jesus and spoke frankly, right to my heart, and she offered me advice and even a suggestion about my book. After hearing each others stories, and why we were there, she said it sounded like I had more to say than what I was saying. As if I had only begun to scratch the surface on what I was trying to get out through the writing of this book. Because I was articulating (and envisioning) that the whole book would be about infertility, and living in Haiti. But she saw that the under lining theme was more about saying YES to God. Even when I didn’t want to, even when He was saying “no” or “wait” to having a family. And she was SO right. Like couldn’t stop the tears right. I felt like I had so much more to communicate, more than what I had articulated and outlined in the book proposal I worked on non-stop for the last two months. But I didn’t know what it was, couldn’t quite figure it out. But she helped me figure it out. So I want to write about that. I want to write about how often God puts something on your heart, asks you to venture into new and uncomfortable position, asks you to talk to a stranger, give more of your time or money, invite others into your hearts, asks you to move you somewhere you don’t want to, and we have a choice. We can say YES. To those little things He quietly whispers to us. We can say say YES to those big things He asks of us that require stepping out and trusting Him in a way we never, ever,ever have. And there are so many things we learn from saying YES. So many ways we grow. So many unexpected gifts that come from an obedient and surrenderred heart to Jesus.
I want to write a book about that!!
So I am. I am going to start over. Ish. I really only had about 4 full chapters written, the rest were vague outlines, ideas, etc. Yes, it’s a bit hard to think about all the time I spent over the last two months working on that book proposal. All the evenings I forwent watching Netflix, not going to bed early, not reading… all so I could write. Or I think about all those nap times the kids slept, and this pregnant mama desperately wanted to also, but instead I wrote. Or heck, all the evenings, hours, dates, runs, parks Brandon took the kids to so I could have time to write. But alas, all is not lost!! I learned two valuable things from that:
1. I have more free time than I thought!!! (I mean, I truly believed I hardly had any free time with two young children. But turns out, as I restructured my day, and simply made writing my number priority for a while, I had lots of time to do it)
2. My husband is pretty amazing, and supported me in a priceless way stepping up his game and taking care of the kids even more than he already goes (oh, and watching the laundry pile up, eating random put together meals, and dealing with a less than clean house for those two months too was just as hard for him!!)
But we did it. We pulled together and we did it. Which shows me that I do indeed have more support than I realized. And I can indeed find the time to write. And I also am not on a deadline anymore, so life can (phew) resume at it’s normal pace.
SO…I’d love to invite you into this journey with me. As I think about writing about saying YES to God, I can’t help but think it’s obviously something we never “finish”. It’s a constant in our lives, the choice to say yes to Him, or no, or heck often we tend to just ignore what He’s asking. I battle with it often, still, even though I know, have seen, and understand how important it is to say YES to Him.
So, can I ask, what have you recently said YES to God about?
Was did He clearly put on your heart, or ask you do to and you did it? Was it finally talking to the neighbor and inviting them over for dinner? Was it pulling over to help someone? Or maybe opening your home for something? What about giving money to someone/something when you didn’t particularly want to?
I’d love to hear from you. Because I’d love to be encouraged. I know when I hear how other people are being obedient to Him, it makes me want to pause and ask myself what He’s asking me to do.
6 thoughts on “What I learned from She Speaks”
One thing I have discovered in the 81 years I have lived is that if you follow the leading’s of the Holy Spirit, no matter what you are asked to do, that God has a Master Plan for our lives that he hopes we will follow. Oh yes, we can say no, and go our own sweet way, and when we do, we also must accept the consequences. When we follow his leading’s Romans 8:28 comes into full focus, and we will be successful at the task in hand. God never makes a wrong choice for us, we are the ones who stray from the path he has envisioned for our lives. As I look back on all of the twists, turns, ups and downs, what I thought were failures, God later pointed out the reason for his leading’s.. Yes, Grandma and I are doing what he has lead us to do, even to this day. Age and experience tend to make us more aware of our calling, but that only happened over the past 81 years. Stick with God, listen to his suggestions and you can’t go wrong. You and your family have our blessing where ever you go, and what ever you do. One more scripture, 13th Chapter of First Corinthians. Love you and your family
Jessica – Hmmm… I just read – and then reread your post. And my immediate response is a resounding YES. Your not-by-chance luncheon conversation was exactly what I wanted to say to you when I read your initial thoughts. A start for sure – and we always have to start somewhere, don’t we?? But I felt you were only seeing the “tip of the iceberg” on a subject that has endless possibilities about saying yes to God. Infertility is the area of your life where God grabbed your heart and attention, but it is just the beginning of the journey I’m pretty sure. And in many ways I am still on the journey that started way back when I dealt with infertility and other life events that caused me to seek God in new and more fervent ways. I look forward to chatting with you and praying as you see where God is leading. Hugs to you today!
Sent from my iPad
My yes, is “surrender”. After a period of some major stubbornness and a hard heart I’ve learned and am continuing to learn to surrender my desires, my dreams, my heart to the only one who can fulfill and satisfy the empty holes anyway (something we’ve talked about a lot!) Apart from Him, it is so empty. My YES to God is every single day starting the day off with the Lord and listening to Him and being open to what He has in store for me TODAY.
I’ve found great joy in being with Him and waiting, not rushing along what I think should be happening…NOW. (gosh it’s harder some days than others).
I’m continuing to pray for contentment with the everyday of life–and learning to see God in the daily grind. I’m continuing to learn that he can use me right where I’m at.
Since I’ve said Yes, I have a renewed fascination with Him. I am wonderfully and utterly confused by his purposes and his ways. But I am in awe. I’m in awe of his love and grace and his blessings and I’m learning that it is far beyond what I can even comprehend. My yes, will continue to be a daily process of surrender but He is more alive and real to me than almost ever before.
I’m excited for your journey with this Jess! I’m glad to get to be a small part of what the Lord is doing in your life.
Grandpa~ I love what you wrote. Especially when you said, “what I thought were failures, God later pointed out the reason for his leading’s..” It’s so true, and so hard because we can’t see it at the time, when we are in the thick of it! Thanks for your words and encouragement!!
You are so right. Infertility was indeed the area of my life where God “Grabbed my heart and my attention” and we’ve never been closer because of it. And, man, I do love your perspective, years later, as He still uses “other life events” to cause us to seek Him more fervently! I appreciate that you are so aware of those things, and cling to Him in the midst. Thanks for your words
Melissa. A profound word my friend, “My YES to God is every single day starting the day off with the Lord and listening to Him and being open to what He has in store for me TODAY”. Oh, so true.And ” I’ve found great joy in being with Him and waiting, not rushing along what I think should be happening…NOW” I think that is always a struggle too, we want was is next, we want what we want, and we miss the NOW. So thank you for sharing your heart, and thanks for the encouragement !!!