Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sooooo Much Better than "Good"

On Wednesday I posted about my very bad day and my confidence the weekend was going to be good. I was shooting too low with my expectations. The retreat this weekend was sooooo much better than "good".
I went to the retreat with a couple of friends and we stopped to do some shopping on the way. Just as we were getting started, a phone call came saying they wanted all speakers at the conference center ASAP, so we had to cut the shopping short. My friends said this is the last time they're traveling with a speaker! LOL
As it turned out, the keynote speaker was stuck in Atlanta until 8:30 so they wanted to have workshop speakers present once Friday night and again Saturday afternoon (rather than twice Saturday). This change was fine with me because it meant I had a full hour to present Friday night and I wouldn't need to cut anything from the presentation. However, it was what happened after I spoke that really delighted my heart.
A woman who had been in my workshop approached me and asked if I had time to talk with her, then she began to pour her heart out to me. She told me about her struggles, which were huge, and that she simply didn't know how to pray anymore. As I listened to her, I was praying God would make me wise and give me the words to say to encourage my new friend. I had my Bible in the room and we sat down to look at a passage, then something she said reminded me of what I had been reading in Psalm 30, so I flipped to it.
I told her about the time God had encouraged me with verse 11, "You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy," and we talked about having confidence He would do the same thing for her. I told her about the way I read through a psalm one verse at a time, one day at a time, and encouraged her to give it a try. Then I read the entire psalm for her, while I held her hand and she sobbed. She said those words completely described where she's been. I squeezed her hand and suggested she start with Psalm 30. I think she's going to.
We prayed and we hugged, and I was overjoyed at God's goodness in bringing the two of us together that night.

In all, we probably spent 20-30 minutes together Friday night. The guys who were setting the room for Saturday graciously worked around us.
Reflecting back, I realize how significant the schedule change was. If we had done both workshops Saturday, there is no way we would have been able to have that conversation. Workshops had been scheduled with only fifteen minutes between them, so I would not have had much time to talk with her, and she would probably have been wanting to hurry to her next station. But Friday the workshop was the last scheduled activity so we had all the time we needed.
I am sure there were other amazing God appointments which occurred as a result of the changed plans - I doubt ours was the only reason He grounded Lori in Atlanta - but even if it was just for us I am so thankful God arranged things just as they needed to be.

Lori Salierno was the keynote speaker for the weekend and she arrived late Friday night, still able to give all of her talks with the changed schedule Saturday. She had a lot to say which I needed to hear, but there is one thing in particular I want to bring before you. She talked about how important it is to have people praying for us, especially in our area of ministry. I know many of you were praying for me, and the women to whom I was speaking, and I want to Thank you!
For those of you who may be willing to pray for me regularly, I want to invite you to join my prayer team. I have a group of women who pray for me now, and to whom I send monthly emails containing my schedule for that month and specific requests. If you would like to be a part of this team, please email me and I will joyfully and gratefully add you to the list.
Once again, Thank you to each of you who prayed for me this weekend. God's presence and grace was so obvious and I am so glad to have been a part of it.

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Corrie said...

Hi Karen,
I am glad it went so well. I always enjoy reading your blog, so I'm sure I would love to hear you speak as well! Hope you have a wonderful week.

Sarah said...

Hi Karen,
I would love to hear you speak. My friend Lisa (QtPies) said you will be in Rochester in the spring...that is great! I hope we can get you up in our neck of the woods!
I tagged you! Hop on over for a fun meme!

kreed said...

What a blessing to both of you that you could be there to encourage with God's word at that particular time. Glad your weekend went so well - you definitely were due after your day last week!

Angela said...

I haven't had much blog reading time lately, so I am just now catching up on your terrible-no-good-very-bad-day, followed by God's amazing blessings this weekend. You hit it on the head. You were under attack. Recognizing where the attack is coming from is sometimes hard to do in the midst of the chaos, but once you have made the realization you can fight back! We battle not against flesh and blood...true, but if we don't realize what's going on, our poor families often become the battle carnage. If the enemy cares enough to try and throw you a curve ball, then you know you are in the middle of God's will and He is using you to touch people's lives.

I would be honored to partner with you in prayer!



freetofly said...

I so agree wtih Angela's comments, and I am thrilled to hear your victorious praise report! I have a heart for prayer and for women's ministry, I would be honored to partner with you in this. (was already praying for you this weekend and yesterday) My e-mail is,

P.S. I have awarded you something at my place, when you get time, check it out!

Jenileigh said...

God is so good and is moving things and planning things using us when we are unaware. He is so awesome. Makes me like to stop and wonder what He is doing around me even now! Love ya! Glad you had a great time and thankful that you are a willing vessel!