Renee Swope kicked off the morning and spoke on Hebrews 10:35-36- “Do not throw away your confidence.”
As soon as we step out on faith into what God has set before us, we will face doubt and insecurities and fear and worry (and the list goes on and on). But when we say “I am not capable,” we give room for God to say “I AM.” The accusations and condemnation we face when we step out in faith are a direct result of the Devil. And these lies must be properly dealt with before we can embrace God’s truth.
Shane & Shane call it “Embracing Accusation.” Because, you see- there is great truth in some of the comments directed toward our hearts. “You can’t do it….You aren’t good enough…You are weak….You need to do more of this or less of that.” These comments are true. I can’t do it. I’m not good enough. I am weak. And I always need more than what I intrinsically possess.
But, I also cannot make up for my shortcomings. Not by any measure of strength or goodness or performance. No matter how many tries and “redo’s.” God and God alone can bridge the gap between who I am and what I’m supposed to be. Embrace the accusations, for those are the very things that can lead us closer to the heart of God.
I also had the privilege of listening to my sister, Whitney Capps, speak on spiritual warfare. It surprised me to hear her say that she didn’t expect thirty people in her breakout session. “Why wouldn’t you want to know how to fight the battles God has called you to?” I thought to myself. And here is where God says, “Oh, Chelsea…you are not called to fight, but to stand. I fight for you. Stand on my promises. Stand on the knowledge I have given you. Stand on your past experience as reminders of my faithfulness. Just stand. Claim what I have already promised to you, and I will take care of the rest.”
Yes- the sword of the Spirit is the only weapon listed in our spiritual warfare get-up. But it’s the sword of the Spirit. It’s not mine to battle with, but His.
And here’s where the day goes downhill.I went to a few sessions that weren’t “my faves.” Please understand that I am human, and yes, I didn’t particularly “enjoy” every second of every minute today. In fact, there were many yawns and “Why God’s?” in these next few hours.
The fourth study I attended reminded me much of one from the night before. Though the points were wonderful and the stories animated, I had heard most of it. “Man, I should have taken that other class…” my mind would wander. At the end of the session, a woman who was attending the next teaching in that room asked if the seat next to me was taken. I explained to her that I had just finished and was headed out to my next session down the hall. It seemed like our cordial conversation was through.
But, I just had to tell her how cute that scarf was…and I did ; )
We then exchanged names and states and dreams and snippets of lives and hearts. And God used her in a way she might never understand. As I explained to her the “funky times” I’ve been having with the Lord lately, she prodded deeper, not content with the vagueness of my speech. “Well, how is it funky?”
Do I really have to explain, God?
“I’m home for the summer and God has given me incredible ministry opportunities. But I’m also living in the middle of the family room because we’re remodeling our house and there’s no space to get away. And it just feels unsettled, and I feel unsettled. And I’m not quite sure what the plan is or where I’m going…”
The passion in her eyes inspired me. “Have you ever thought about this season in your life as you think about the state of your home? This sort of unsettled mess? I challenge you to think about that today.”
*Jaw drops* Another one of those “Why didn’t I think of that” moments.
“I am so glad I got to meet you. You are a true blessing.” And I give her a good, Southern hug- to a sister who I felt like I had known forever, though we only met moments before. She wouldn’t let go before she asked me, “Can I pray with you?”
And she prayed. And I thanked. And if there was ever medicine prescribed for my soul, that was it.
Oh, Lord, thank You for being so faithful. And so good. That You would take a “been there, done that” session and transform it into an intimate and magical experience with You.
Minutes later I found myself in the midst of a session for which I had great anticipation. It was entitled, “How Do I know I’m Called?” And, yes, we’ve talked about purpose and God’s will on here before, but Lord- if you want me to do something for You, how do I know that I know that I know? Wendy Blithe’s session captured the attention of my heart because she spoke with such wisdom directly from Scripture.
She began to talk about her personal experience when she recognized God calling her to ministry. She loved the Word. She loved to study it, bit by bit, and enjoy the nuggets of knowledge. She treasured unwrapping the sweet gifts packed into each passage, and she loved sharing those gifts with other women. My attention was fully captured. This is my heart! To study, really study the Word of God and share it with others.
Wendy received her confirmation to ministry through a few Scriptures: 1 Peter 5:2, Isaiah 55:9,11 and 2 Corinthians 9:10. This might not seem like a big deal to you, but oh my goodness! My whole body just begged the question “Really, God?” These same Scriptures, especially the last two, were some that God had been teaching me about these past few weeks in ministry.
Oh, Lord, thank You for being so faithful. And so good.
You spoke to me, Lord, and You said, “Chelsea, represent me well.” And as soon as you saw those fear-filled eyes, You walked me through each step today, encouraging me. Do not throw away your confidence. Do not fight the battle on your own. Do not doubt divine appointments. And do not doubt My sovereign will.
Always be prepared to “Do the next thing.” (Elisabeth Elliot) Every single thing that enters our life is filtered through the hand of God. Every person we meet, situation we’re in, place we visit- everything comes to us through His hands. And while I sometimes doubt what He allows into my life, I know that I serve a good God, who is in the business of redeeming even the bad for my good. It’s not about me knowing where I will be or even who I will be ten years down the road. It’s not about this big, new vision that I’ve suddenly discovered at this conference. Not at all.
It’s just the discipline of doing the next right thing. Taking the small steps of obedience so that when He calls me to take a bigger one, I’m prepared to leap.
Oh, Lord, thank You for being so faithful. And so good.