Saturday, September 16, 2006

TimeOut for Women!

I got to take a TimeOut today! No, not for bad behavior, and not for a mere five minutes. I spent the entire day in a sanctuary full of women who all needed a TimeOut. If you read Confessions of an Irritable Mother, you'll understand why this event is such a good thing.

Every September since 1997 has found my mother-in-law and I at the TimeOut for Women! conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. And every time I've gone, God has met me there. Today was no different. I love that I can be in a room overflowing with women, each one with her own unique needs, and God can be personally present to each one. For that matter, I love that even when I am on an emotional roller coaster (call it PMS, call it being a woman, maybe publishing a book, I don't know...) God understands me perfectly and is able to speak to me right where I am. Though I've been over several ups and downs lately, God knows my heart and He found it and spoke to it today through the wonderful speakers at TimeOut. Kathy Troccoli closed the conference with a concert and a time of sharing her heart. As I approached the altar to pour out my own heart to God, I was full of joy again as I sensed His closeness to me. I didn't want Kathy to stop singing; didn't want the conference to end. I would've loved to have stayed there with those women, basking in the presence of God.

But the conference did end, and I left with a little pink piece of paper upon which I'd written the statements God laid on my heart today:
I want to display God's glory.
I want a river of life flowing out of me.
I want to ooze the life and love of God.
I don't want to hold back the well of God bubbling up inside of me.
I must keep my eyes on Jesus and not worry about what others think.
I want to be who I say I am.

My desire is to please Him and to be an instrument He uses for His glory. If the hard times I have as a mother is what God is going to use to bring that all about, then bring it on! (I can't believe I just said that!!!) Seriously, I recently heard someone say, "You go through what you go through, so you can help other people go through what you went through." Well, I have been invited to do a workshop at the TimeOut conference next year, in which I'll be able to share about my journey and offer hope and encouragement to other women. My calendar is also quite full right now with MOPS groups to whom I'll be speaking from now until May, where I'll also have the opportunity to bring hope to overwhelmed moms. As I consider the statements I took from the conference today in light of the opportunities God is laying before me, I am hopeful He will work them all together for His glory.
Father, I pray You'll use me to speak words of hope and life - to my children, my husband, and the mothers in front of whom You place me. I want Your life and love to flow through me in my words and in my actions. Please help me to be real. I want to be authentic before You and my audiences, not trying to be who I think others expect me to be or who they may want me to be. I only want to be the woman You are shaping. Lord, please make me an instrument You use for Your glory. Amen and amen!

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