I’ve been marinating on my trip to Indianapolis these last several days. I went silent here on this little blog in order to listen, to read, to pray, and to repent as a result of my experience at Revive ’15.
For those of you who may not know, the Revive Conference is an outreach of Revive Our Hearts Ministries led by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Each year there is a conference for women. This year happened to be Revive: Women Teaching Women Conference. You can read more about why I choose to attend the True Woman Conferences (the sister conference to Revive) here. The reasons are much the same between the sister conferences so I won’t repeat myself here.
I have attended two True Woman Conferences, but this was my first Revive Conference (you can listen to the main conference messages here). I was a little nervous and feeling very out of sorts upon entering the doors to this conference. I found myself asking, “Why am I here?”
In the opening session of the main conference, Jen Wilkin challenged us to ask ourselves three questions:
- Why am I here? (this made me feel much better!)
- Who are the women He wants me to teach?
- Who has He placed above me that I can turn to for help?
Why am I here?
I don’t know that I’ve always felt the call to teach other women the Bible or whether I’ve really seen myself as a leader of women or not. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t.
It makes me uncomfortable knowing that I am leading any number of women, but God in His gracious love revealed to me throughout the weekend His call on my life. And, it’s really not about my feelings regarding the calling, but about His glory and desire to be heard through the gifts He has bestowed upon me, His servant.
My husband accompanied me to the Revive Conference this year. He was there to serve in whatever capacity needed, and one night he found himself walking to the nearest drugstore to pick up formula for a speaker’s baby. He consulted his map, got his directions, and set out swiftly and confidently in the way of his destination. But the landscape changed and he sensed that maybe he wasn’t going in the right direction. He checked in with his GPS system again and discovered that he had turned the wrong way at some point and was now further from his end point than when he started.
When he shared with me later what happened, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if he had just left the GPS system running. What if he had checked the GPS at each turn in the road instead of trying to remember it all in one fell swoop? Even more, how often do we receive a word from the Lord and just take off sprinting in the direction we feel He’s calling us? How often do we unplug from the Word because we’ve “heard” and now we’re “doing”?
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” ~Romans 1:21
My heart is incessantly prone to deception. The longer I pursue an intentional life sold out for God, the more I realize that seeking Him is an on-going, every day, daily bread sort of need. It’s not about doing. It’s about abiding.
Where do we learn to love and obey God? In the Bible alone. God speaks His will through His word! We cannot know God’s will for our lives apart from His Holy Word!
The disciples walked with Jesus (the word become flesh) from town to town. They listened to Jesus teach the multitudes, and it was between destinations that they learned what all of it meant. The disciples didn’t get directions to the next town and tell Jesus they would meet Him there. They walked with Jesus. They ate with Jesus. They prayed with Jesus and wept with Jesus. They hungered and thirsted and experienced all of life alongside Jesus!
At the Revive Conference I was reminded of my need for Jesus. I was at the conference to draw closer to Him without distraction. To strengthen my faith as I listened to His word preached so that I might not become futile in my thinking.
We need Jesus all day every day. We need Him to give us direction. We need Him to teach us His paths. We need Him to give us on-going strength and wisdom. We need Him to guide us and lead us all the way to Heaven. He will not be relegated to the outskirts – the mere direction giver or traffic director of our lives. He wants to walk with us every step of the way, teaching us His paths and more importantly, more about Himself!
It’s not about getting from point A to point B in our ministry work. Actually it’s not even about the work He’s called us to do. It is completely and totally, forever and always about Jesus! As we fulfill the work of the ministry He has set before us, we must dig deeper into His word and into the person and work of Jesus Christ.
This may mean that we will move more slowly in our ministries as we drink more deeply of His word, listen more closely to His whispers of love and grace, and worship in holy reverence. That’s okay! He is far more concerned with our hearts than with our actions because He knows that our hearts will overflow and inform our work.
During the Revive Conference I tasted what it means to truly worship God, to be faithfully poured out, and to be anointed for the work of teaching others about Jesus, my Lord and Savior.
Who are the people He wants me to teach?
Salvation is not just for the next world. It is for now! I can’t just hold on until Jesus returns and Heaven is revealed. I can’t hide behind my religious cloak and not roll up my sleeves any longer because Christ didn’t just die for us. He lived for us too!
Now is the time to engage. Now is the time to rise up and live for Him. If Paul could write from a dungeon, surrounded by filthy stench, and chained to a guard, what’s my excuse? A four year old and a two year old? I can utilize my sphere of influence all the way to the edges. I can stop looking around me at what everyone is (or is not) doing and start maximizing right where I am. I can start asking, “How do you want to use me, God?”
Right now, I’m sure of this:
I am called to invest deeply in the lives of my children. No one else can be their mother. I am their mother, assigned by God and called to disciple them in the ways of Jesus.
I am called to strengthen the bonds of my marriage and support my husband in his calling as a minister of the word. He will be starting seminary at the turn of the year. This means long hours, nights away from home, and an intense season of learning for him. As his wife, I want to be available to love him well.
I am called to get to know my fellow church members. We recently joined a new to us church, and it’s time to invest deeply into the lives of those in our immediate reach. It is here that I can use my gifts of teaching the word by starting a Bible study for women as I feel called, as well as coming alongside other women in the church praying with, discipling and being discipled, and equipping for the work of ministry. I am called to go deeper into the tangible, in-the-flesh relationships.
I am called to write, and to write often. I write as a way of breathing, and I am called to use my gift of writing to bless the readers of Intentional By Grace. I am aware of the deep privilege it is to be given a voice in the lives of women around the world through writing. These words can go further than I could ever go on foot. But I want to do the slow work of writing, staying a little longer with my words when necessary, and delivering writing that satisfies.
There are other desires in my heart, even plans the Lord has laid before me. But I must do the slow work of ministry, being faithful in the small things, in the mundane moments of life, and daily walking with Him. I am not guaranteed tomorrow, of course, but if we consider how many years I likely still have before me (60 years), I can rest in this slow work of ministry relying fully on His grace.
As a mom of young children, it’s easy to think my children are a hindrance to “my ministry.” Perhaps you feel that way too. Can I encourage you, young mom?
Be patient in your work. You are the only one who can mother your children. There are others who can write, speak, lead the PTA, start orphanages, or even fill in for the children’s ministry. You maximize the season you’re in! But don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to push the edges a little bit, and don’t rely on your own strength and wisdom.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” ~James 1:5
Do you believe there is power in God’s Word? Do you have gifts but feel like they are wasted? Oh, He does not give gifts without a purpose or a need for fulfilling it! God doesn’t waste a thing, but we do. Don’t take your mundane situations as an excuse to miss what God has for you right now. Things in our nation will get worse, but as Dr. Mason said in his conference message, “Our witness must get better!”
In whatever season of life you are in, you must seek the counsel of the Lord. You can’t just check in when you discover you’re lost. Being filled with the knowledge and spirit of God is not a one time thing. It must be a life of filling – emptying of self and filling of the Spirit. Do you dare to ask, “How do you want to use me now, God?”
Who has He placed above me that I can turn to for help?
We are not meant to do this life alone. Christ died for His church.
I know the pain of church gone bad. I know what it’s like when leadership is abused and you’re left reeling from the after math. I know what it’s like to trust no one and wonder if you’ll ever have friends again, let alone someone to lead you, guide you, or help you.
But God is bigger than all of the pain. Jesus declared the church worth dying for. How can I not do the same? We must learn to love the bride of Christ!
I have been asking God to grow my love for the local church for several years now, and He is already answering my prayers. I’ve been distant for too long. It is time to allow others in. I am being brave and asking women to coffee, meeting with my pastor, and praying for God to bring the women into my life that He has for me to teach and learn from. The more doors I fling open in my soul, the more room the Holy Spirit has to fill and heal!
God has affirmed my calling to teach the Bible, especially to women.
“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” ~2 Timothy 3:6-7
I am called to encourage others in their purposes, again, especially women. I don’t want to be a weak woman, and I don’t want you to be one either.
God showed up at Revive ’15. He delivered on all His promises. Prayers were answered and His goodness shown through the darkness.
- I want to learn everything there is to know about my community.
- I want to gather with women to pray and to study the Word of God.
- I want to become a true, spirit-filled worshiper of God.
- I want to know my Bible more fully every single day.
- I want to be emptied in my service to my Father in Heaven.
Therefore, may we be women who plug into the Word together. May we worship God with our whole lives. May we take advantage of the season we are in, maximizing it to its fullest! May we trust Him to lead us, and best of all, may we remember that we are loved! We have been bought with a price, and we are now seated with Him in the Heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). There is nothing to earn, but everything to give for His glory.
In the name of Jesus,
Check Out Revive Our Hearts Ministries
I am so grateful for Revive Our Hearts Ministries. I am grateful for the yearly conference they put together to encourage women in biblical womanhood and gospel-focused living. I am grateful that they are now investing even more deeply in the lives of women around the world.
My favorite resource is their 30-day challenges. Actually, the 30-day respect challenge was my entry point to Revive Our Hearts as a newly wed almost a decade ago! The podcast is also another great tool to have under your belt when you need to get work done around the house.