I was planning on doing a post about the promise of salvation as part of my 31 Days Series . . .But now, I also have a new story to go along with it. So I’m sort of doing a 31 Days/Allume post.
Last Wednesday night I took the redeye out of SFO and flew into Charlotte, North Carolina where I was lucky enough to get a ride from Aprille down to the Allume Conference in Greenville, SC. I knew it was going to be a great time because we first stopped at Chick-fil-A which I have never been to (we don’t have any near us) and probably where all good stories should start. . .
I attended Allume last year and learned so much was SO blessed by the whole experience but I really didn’t have any expectations this year. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to get out of it but I was sure God would show up and I was ready to be open to whatever He wanted to speak to me.
So from the get go I was excited to room again with one of my good bloggy friends Debbie and excited to meet Lisha in real life (RL). These girls were SO fun to room with, we didn’t get nearly enough sleep but had some great conversations.
I knew I was in for some beautiful words to be preached with Ann Voskamp as the first keynote speaker and people she brought it. She talked about us being “stars”. That the “brightest stars let themselves be broken, beautiful to dying self.” And how together we are a constellation for Christ and my favorite “When you live only for an audience of One, you know that you always count.”
And this year I got brave enough to ask her to sign my book and got a chance to talk to her and she really is one of the most truly gracious women I have ever met.
Then on Friday night we heard from Jennie Allen whose book Anything I think I already mentioned wrecked my life (and I’m super stoked to have been able to receive her new book Restless that hasn’t even been released yet). Well she talked about the things that were keeping us in bondage and my brain started processing and so much of what she said was truth.
There were other great sessions I attended, I can’t even go into them now for fear I wouldn’t do them justice and had a wonderful time connecting with old friends and getting to meet some formerly online only friends in real life as well as meeting some wonderful new ladies that I had never met before.
One of my favorite moments was when I met Kristen Strong on the elevator and she is so lovely and she said I looked like this actress, what was her name? Oh, yes Vanessa Hudgens (of High School Musical fame) and yes, I had heard that before a couple of times and we all but started a round of “We’re All in this Together”; she is the sweetest woman.
And I was able to get to know Lani a bit better and was blessed by learning more of her story and was so thankful the Lord brought us together because I there were words I needed to hear. And she just blesses me so with her heart and how she carried that Katherine doll around all weekend.
Then I met Sharon who had just started blogging and was trying to find her way with writing and it turned out she had just been in San Francisco not long before and Lord she has such a beautiful heart.
And these are just a few glimpses of the precious moments I was able to experience at this place with these amazing women. I’m not even talking about the prayer room, the swag bags, parties, deserts and so much more. That will have to wait for another time.
OK so then on Saturday evening after dinner and a message by Jeff Shinaberger, we had a time of worship with the David Walker Worship band. It was beautiful as there were several artists all doing prophetic paintings while we were worshiping.
All ll weekend I had felt things stirring inside of me and was at the verge of coming undone. This time as I prayed expectantly I heard Him. Very clearly, “why are you trying so hard? You are already mine. . . and I am yours.”
And because of course God is great at being thorough; just in case there was any chance I missed what He was saying the band started playing Oceans, which brings me to tears in general but specifically this time because there is was. . .
And I will call upon your name and keep my eyes above the waves, my soul will rest in your embrace for I AM YOURS AND YOU ARE MINE.
Oh, for the love. And I smiled and wept at how gentle He is with me because I know those words. They are the exact same words I often tell my baby. My unexpected surprise who’s going to be 4 next week. Before he goes to bed. I say Jake you’re mine? He nods yes. You’re my boy, I tell him. And I’m yours. And he nods and giggles at the joy that is being each others.
And so it is with my savior. He calls me out. Because it’s true. I try too hard, when I don’t need to. People ask how I do it but the truth is I feel disappointed that I’m not able to do more. That I can’t be leading my family and doing ministry work and encouraging others, interceding for more people, doing missions, helping the poor, etc.
Cause here’s the thing. I love God and I know He loves me but if I can be completely honest, I really want Him to like me too. I want Him to look down and say “oh yes, all of them are my girls but Zohary, well she’s particularly dear to me. . .” That’s what I want. Or at least what I thought I wanted.
But He tells me that I’m already there. There is nothing more I need to do to get His love. I am His.
And all of the messages I’ve heard converge in my mind and suddenly I know I am just one small star and I need to be faithful to light up just my little part of the sky and not worry about being brighter because it’s enough. And I think about Jennie and I realize I have been in bondage of comparison and it’s just not necessary. And Jeff had talked about how we need to believe we are enough. Well, OK then God I think I get it. . .
But just as I knew those words He spoke were true I also knew with certainty that is also is true; not everyone is His. Meaning that He extends the invitation to all but not all will receive Him.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21
That’s hard for me to hear because I love Him so I want everyone to be able to have that relationship as well.
But He tells me I need to trust Him and know that these words that I write here on this humble blog, there may people that don’t want to hear them. That the encouraging words I share with women I come in contact with in my real life community may not be well received and I need to be OK with that.
Because He knows those who are His and they will hear His voice, they will receive Him and He will be theirs too.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20
So I know that He loves me the same on days when I’m home in my pjs all day just snuggling and watching movies with my kids as when I’m writing or sharing in front of a group of women but I want my life to be as Francis Chan puts in in Crazy Love “characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God, above and before every other thing and every other being”.
Because I am His and He is mine.
Where are you today friends? He’s standing at the door knocking, will you open?