Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Ocala Report

OK. I'm home and getting settled...
And I am excited to tell you about my trip to Ocala.

The evening was full of beautiful women who are so loved by God. I was delighted to meet several women who worked hard preparing for everyone who came, and then to be able to stand before them and hold out hope.
Before I began speaking, I did a fun little ice-breaker with the women. Everyone received a balloon and I asked them about the stress they faced that day as they got ready to come for the evening's event. For each stress "item" I blew in my balloon and invited the women to do the same.

We went through "getting out the door," stress with the kids, with Dad, with "to do" lists, and whatever else might be on a woman's mind. It was fun to see the smiles on women's faces as they blew their stress into the balloon. But the best was yet to come...

When I was pretty sure we had covered all the possibilities, I asked the women to hold their balloons up high, and on the count of three, we let them go! I told the ladies in front of me that the evening was a gift to them and I hoped they would truly be able to let go of the stress and receive the gift.

And do you know? I think they really did. I think they received the gift. It was such a delight to me to look out and see women nodding their heads in understanding, to hear them laughing, and to have a very real sense that God was speaking to their hearts.
I cannot thank you enough for your faithful prayers, and words of encouragement to me. God truly was present and moving. At the end of the evening I invited women to come to the altar to pray - for salvation or a touch from their Maker - and several women came forward. I honestly do not know if anyone made a decision for Christ Monday night, but I do know God was reaching their hearts.

And, oh, do I want to do more events like this one. It was a Moms Only program, so there were no interruptions because of children who needed consoling. (I am not against children! It's just that the interruptions really distract from a presentation. And when it's just moms, the women are able to be more "present.") I loved that I was able to give two talks and thereby was able to go deeper with the women - was able to share more of my heart and reach out to them more. And sharing the gospel and having women come forward to pray? I'm telling you, that is just where I want to be! I was truly blessed to be His instrument of grace and hope to this group of women in Ocala, Florida.

But that isn't all.

God also blessed me by allowing me to spend time with my dear friend, Greta, and He allowed me to meet two precious blogging friends.
This is Greta and me.
We have been emailing each other for over two years now, and we met for breakfast in Florida last October. But this time I stayed at her house and had a wonderful time just talking with her, loving her, and being her friend.
And the story of how she "found" my book - and me - is amazing. I may just have to share about it here sometime...

And THIS is Lisa Shaw. Lisa and I have "known" each other in the blogosphere for a few months and she is a total blessing. She was praying for me and Monday night's event. As I was presenting the gospel I looked at her and saw her smiling - knew she was praying for my words, and His Spirit to move - and I was so thankful for her presence.
Not only that, but Lisa completely blessed me at the end of the evening. After we posed for this picture she prayed for me and I was so uplifted by her love. You really should click over and pay her a visit!

Finally, I also got to meet Jessica Nelson. She and I have been blogging buddies for quite some time and I was so pleased when I found out she was going to come Monday night. Jessica is a mother of three little ones and I have enjoyed getting to know her through our blogs and email. She writes novels, and if you have an interest in writing you will LOVE her blog. If you're like me, you'll be overwhelmed with the amount of thought and effort Jessica shares that goes into writing a novel, but she has such a charming personality that it's a delight to visit her. *grin*

Whew! Are you still with me?

I know I don't usually go this long in a post, but I had so much to share today! Hope you'll be back tomorrow for this week's WORD.

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Leah said...

Don't you just love how HE shows up and just does the thing!! So glad it went well. God bless you, dear Karen.


luvmy4sons said...

I am so glad you shared it all! God truly poured out His blessing upon you and the event and the women present! Awesome! What a nice little extra to meet so many cyber friends! I love the balloon thing. Every now and then it is my little joke with some of my friends. I will tell them put it in a balloon and watch it fly away! Great stuff! Have a great day karen. Praise God you are home safely!

LisaShaw said...

I was honored to pray leading up to your ministering, during and thereafter Karen. You blessed ALL of us. I'm sure everyone walked out of there with something just from GOD FOR THEM and you were the humbled and willing vessel for Him to pour through.

I will have to visit Jessica's blog. Of course I've now met the bubbly Greta. Love her personality.

I hope you know that JUST BECAUSE Ocala is now passed DOES NOT mean that I have stopped praying for you. Add me to your list of Intercessor.

Also, I'm still praying regarding the New Testment Marathon.

I will be off line now until Monday as I'm traveling but God bless and keep you and your precious family.

Jessica said...

That's weird. I left a comment earlier but I guess it didn't go through. LOL

It was wonderful meeting you! Thank you for the kind comments about my blog. I hope you come to Ocala again. You're a great speaker. :) And you have such an important message.

km said...

What an amazing time. I'm praying that God's Words will continue to speak to the women's hearts.

Stacey said...

Sooo glad to hear it went soooo well! Very exciting :) God is so good!

Proverbs 27:19 said...

That is just too awesome that you did well and enjoyed yourself. It is also awesome that you were able to meet up with friends.

The icebreaker sounds like a really great idea!


Mrs. Sidney said...

That is awesome!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds absolutely amazing! Yeah God and yeah you!

Amanda said...

What a fantastic outreach Karen!!! I Loved it and it brought me to tears to think of the Glory given to God that night.

You rock!!!
God bless-