There were so many lessons learned and Holy Spirit moments during the She Speaks conference I attended last year, yet one stands out above all the rest; and it was one I almost missed. Why did I almost miss it? Because it was outside of my “normal church experience” comfort zone.
The last seminar I attended that weekend was titled, “Discovering God’s Power in Your Life and Ministry.” It was a three hour seminar late on Saturday afternoon. My brain was fried, my feet were sore, and I was hungry. A friend and I lingered over a much needed cup of coffee which resulted in us joining the seminar late and playing the role of back-row Baptist. I will admit that my attention span rivaled that of a squirrel as I sat in my far too comfy chair.
My head was not in the game, but thankfully God just wanted my heart. As Wendy Blight began speaking I couldn’t help but listen. Her testimony of surviving a horrific assault, living with paralyzing fear, and then being freed from that fear by the Word of God was moving and powerful. Her tone was quiet and meek, yet her message was fierce and bold. It was beautiful.
I sat memorized by her story. I wanted to run up and give her a hug, convinced we could become fast friends. I wanted to soak up her wisdom like a sponge. As I was gathering my nerve to go speak to her after the seminar, I heard her say something which pushed me right back in my chair, and threatened to push me right out the door. “Ladies, we want to pray over each one of you and anoint you with oil as we send you out as lights in this dark world.”
“Um, I’m sorry. What was that about oil and anointing? Ummm God, I’m a Southern Baptist girl. I do sweet tea, fried chicken, and an occasional ‘amen’…. but I don’t do oil.”
I am embarrassed to admit this, but I really started freaking out a little bit. Why? Because it was different than what I was used to. I was scared of being anointed! Really???
A spiritual battle waged within as negotiations started: “God, I have to go to the bathroom.” (His answer: Who made your bladder? You can hold it.) “Whatever, You win that one Lord.”
“Aimee is finishing up with her publishing appointment, I should be there to support her.” (text comes through – Aimee is one her way back.) “Awesome..super.”
“I haven’t even looked at the Sunday school lesson I’m teaching tomorrow, I should excuse myself to go prepare.” (Sit down Jen and just be still.)
I as sat and
stewed prayed, women began walking toward the front of the room. One by one they were anointed with a drop of oil and prayed for by name. These were not symbolic prayers. These were not cookie cutter prayers. These were heaven bending – earth moving prayers! As I waited for my row to go up, I felt God whisper: Do you want what you can do, or what I can do? Do you want your plan or mine?
“Yours Lord, only Yours!” I wanted to shout back (but I am way too Southern Baptist to shout out during a quiet prayer 😉 So I sat there and surrendered everything to Him: my book, my goals, my plans, my future, myself.
It was finally our turn. I made my way to the front where precious Wendy dabbed the most amazing smelling oil on my forehead, placed her hand on the top of my head and prayed over me. She prayed over me almost the exact same prayer I had just silently prayed moments before! I could not hold back my tears or speak a word to her. But I did get to hug her 🙂
Obviously the oil had no power, but it was a beautiful symbol of the One who has all power. And to think that I almost missed one of the most sacred moments of my life because it was out of my churchy comfort-zone. The experience made me wonder: what else could I be missing because it is different than what I am used to?
I am so thankful that God put me in my place that day and kept me there. I would not have traded that experience for anything. As doubts creep in about my writing path and as I continually surrender my plan to His, l will reflect back to that moment and remember that this is not about me – it is all about Him. And when it is all about Him, then personal preferences and styles no longer matter – and oh what a glorious world that would be!
May 2016 update: The God-confidence I gained at She Speaks has been invaluable to me. That is where I finally gave myself permission to pursue my dream (and God’s plan) of becoming a writer. After attending the conference, God brought a literary agent into my life and really cool things are happening. Things I will be able to share soon. I am so grateful to She Speaks, to Wendy Blight, and most of all to the God who delights when we surrender our plans and our will to His. Besides His plan is always SO much better than mine!