Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Conferences, Car rentals, and Airport Starbucks
4.5 years ago, I attended my very first Beth Moore Conference. I was very taken with the humbleness in which she went before the Lord, and depended on & glorified Him alone in everything. She really spoke my language. She said things in a way that got to me. The first night, I wrote in my journal that I was really struck by the way in which she glowed. Radiated. Like a woman in love. It hit me. She was IN love with Jesus Christ and it radiate in her face. I wanted that so desperately. To be mad about Jesus like that. But, oh, how impossibly far that seemed! I was a hot mess. In the throws of lifelong bondage and deeply intrenched in many pits all at once. Getting free from everything was a haunting picture that seemed to live in the distant corners of my dreams alone. That night, I scribbled a prayer next to my notes from her talk. "Jesus, I want to be like that. I want to radiate and glow because I've fallen madly IN love with you. I want to walk confidently & loudly in freedom over every chain of addiction, destructive thought pattern, and generational curse. I want the impossible."
August 26, 2011. Living Proof Live with Beth Moore. I travel several states away-alone-to attend a familiar conference that I've been to several times. I knew what to expect. Or so I thought......
I got a seat in the front row and the night was amazing. I can't even begin describing it to someone who wasn't there, but there was an insanely thick presence of the Holy Spirit that I hadn't experienced in that way before. And everybody else was experiencing it, too. The night was intensely amazing.
I arrived at my hotel for check-in to be told my card has declined. I was in shock. I had deposited over $700 that morning into my account! I checked my bank app to find that Hertz had charged me $700 for a $19.99 car rental! There really wasn't much I could do. I was broke, alone, stranded, and quite hungry. I panicked. I flipped out. I was completely overwhelmed. I felt like a fool for going so far to attend a silly, normal conference that I've been to many times. I began mentally beating myself up. And a whole bunch of issues with being in a season of such isolation and lack of community and single came to the surface and I lost it.
You know when you sob so hard it shakes your whole body? I didn't know a person could cry that hard for that long.
I dug up $2.00 in change from my purse and went to Denny's. I ordered a $2 breakfast and sat for a few hrs. Just dazed. Overwhelmed. Then I tried sleeping in the car, but I was scared. It didn't work too well. I went back into Dennys a little after 4:00 in the morning to wash up, change, and put my face on. The poor waitress must've wondered what the heck was going on. I returned to the venue for day # 2 of the conference.
I sat in my seat in the front row and pleaded with the Lord for a very specific word for me. I needed to know I had gone so far for a reason. During the morning session, Beth touched on the fact that EVERYTHING in our lives is with such purpose. Nothing at all is an accident or wasted. She shared some of her story, a very familiar topic to me. As she did, my mind drifted because I'd heard it a lot before. I began to think of where I've come from. The amazing number of pits and amount of bondage He's taken me out of, healed the effects of, and built beautiful ebeneezers from the ashes of. As I recalled a lot of the addiction, mental illness, etc..... I've come from and been completely freed of, I was absolutely floored by the vision of what He's done with me. In me. In spite of me. I realized the extent of His work. And right about then, out of nowhere, Beth walks over and stands directly in front of me, points at me, and declares, "YOU, sister. Every single thang you're dealing with at this very moment is with complete purpose. Do you believe that? Do you trust Him?" We locked eyes and I just began bawling. I nodded and whispered "yes" to her. She said, "I know."
I needed that. I needed to know all I'm dealing with-from isolation & singleness to the drama of being stranded- is with intense purpose.
After that session, I got taken backstage with a few other Siestas to get a picture and a hug. She asked my name and said "I KNEW that was my CA girl. You're almost too darling to stand. And I have to tell you, your face is radiating with Jesus today." I laughed and thought, "yeah. Radiating no shower!" Then, In an instant, I had a flash back to the very first conference I attended. To the journal entry I wrote that included a prayer of longing to be so in love with Jesus that I radiated. And how deep in bondage I was at the time. And I realized what-in this moment-through Beth-The Lord was speaking to me. (Because He knew it all started with Her studies and wanted to wrap it up with her personally speaking this over me). With the words she specifically used, He was saying:
"Baby Girl, we've arrived."
Maybe a lot of people won't understand it.
Maybe I'm sounding dramatic.
But coming from where I was, It's almost too much to bear.
(Back at the airport).....
After getting everything straightened out with Hertz and money back, the first thing I did was find my gate and then a Starbucks. As I waited, my eyes welled up with tears again at the thought of everything that had happened in 2 days. I said to Jesus, "Man. I just feel like hugging someone who'd understand how big this weekend was." And I turned around and ran straight into Beth. Yep. A good choice of someone to hug who'd understand. And isn't it just like Jesus to do that? Does it get any better?
I am wrestling hard with what all this might mean. Since I'm completely free and healed and passionately in love, I am aware I'm called to something. Deep. Intense. Sacrificial. Unique. Mis-understood by this world. (And sadly, perhaps even a lot of believers out there.) I know I'm only going to grow more abnormal from here. I'm going to make people uncomfortable. I'm going to have to get used to that. My feelings say that I need and want to figure out where I can go. What I can do. And perhaps that is the next step. Or perhaps I need to figure out how to successfully and completely live all this fully right here doing what I already do. I don't see that being a strong possibility. Starbucks forbids you to talk to each other or customers about your faith. It's making it hard to stay. To affect my co-workers. I don't know WHAT I'm supposed to be doing. So I will love Jesus. I will work on falling IN LOVE with Jesus & knowing Him more. I will work on loving those around me and those He's placed in my life madly to the best of my ability each day. Period. Everything else eventually fades. It's all crap that doesn't last. Love. Only love. Jesus. Only Him.