I sat in my chair, Tuesday morning, with a quiet ‘questioning’ in my heart. “What if I’m not equipped?… What if God doesn’t want me to move into this ‘abuse in the church’ territory?… What if… What if… What if? … And what if I’m not all He wants me to be and I’m ‘in the way’ for Him to do what He really wants to do in breaking the silence, and bringing freedom to my people from sexual abuse?…
The thoughts tumbled, emotionless, through my mind. They were very calm, reasonable thoughts, bringing no sense of alarm or distress. And then the thoughts escalated… “What if I’m not even ‘acceptable’ to God?”
Strange… these are not things I have struggled with or even thought about in, well, a very, very long time. Why now? Just before a conference?
As I contemplated the unbidden mental ramblings, I had a little conversation with my Almighty Friend. There are things I know, and those things are not up for grabs or question just because the enemy is on my case. They are what I stand on when the haunting begins. And to remind myself of them, I talk to God about them, because I’m not interested in engaging in conversation with the enemy. (Though I do remind him, from time to time, of my place in God’s heart.)
I thanked God that He uses my broken efforts and, even if every ‘questioning’ in my mind has a point–that I am not perfectly equipped, that I am not hearing right in every situation, and so on–that He is still God, and accepts what I give, and uses me for His Kingdom.
At that very moment I received a text message from a Mennonite friend, saying she is praying for me, praying that I will be protected from every attack of the enemy. She guessed it must be really bad, just before a conference like that.
I thought for a moment before I realized the questions in my mind had been just that. An attack to disarm me, to remove my God-confidence, to shake me up and look to my own ability, rather than simply falling hard on God.
I slipped to the local hardware store, not long after, and immediately, as I entered, my eyes caught a friend from my former church, when I was still Mennonite. She waved enthusiastically, wrapped up her conversation and came over. We stood and chatted for almost half an hour. She encouraged me to not quit, to not give up on a much needed ministry. Her home life was idyllic, as far as family environment goes. Loving parents. Wealthy. Generous. Kind. Sweet, sweet home. Her mom died when she was a newly wed, but apart from that, life was good. Easy.
“You must look at someone like me and think ‘they just don’t get it’, don’t you?” she said.
I shook my head. “No. I look at someone like you and I think, ‘you’re so blessed to not have experienced abuse.”
“But your ministry is needed,” she said. “I talk to enough women, and listen to their pain, that I know. I know how bad it is.”
Tears welled up in her eyes numerous times as she spoke. Her heart is beautiful, filled with compassion in spite of her idyllic home. That’s the best case scenario, to be protected and sheltered, yet compassionate and wanting to help. She encouraged me, before we parted, to keep on even if there’s resistance. Just keep on.
I left the hardware store with my few purchases, as if on eagle wings. It amazes me, always, how some people have a way of lifting you up, encouraging, and leaving you better than when you came.
I did a few more tasks before slipping out to see an Mennonite woman, whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know in the past few years. She’s not young any more, and the wisdom of her years comes through in conversation.
As I pulled in the lane, she dropped her yard work, and scurried over to my car, clapping her hands in delight. Her eyes sparkled, as if hardly able to contain what she wanted to say. When I stepped out of my vehicle, she greeted me enthusiastically, “Good for you, Trudy, good for you! I’m so happy you haven’t given up! So happy you’re doing this conference! Come! Come!”
She whisked me into her house and found a quiet spot, away from others who might listen. She put her finger over her lips, “Shhhhh… They might be listening…”
We talked for about 40 minutes. She shared with great excitement some things that are happening, every now and then declaring, “Good things are happening!”
When the time came to leave, she whispered after me, “You go Trudy! You go!”
Two in one day! What more can a person ask for? A text had come in just before I pulled in her lane-way, but I had not taken time to read it, distracted immediately by my friend’s enthusiasm. I opened it.
“I see an anointing being poured out thsi weekend. Oh Trudy, your obedience is providing a place for God’s Spirit to fall. I’m standing her crying at the kitchen sink. To think I have been allowed to see waht my heart has been groaning for. My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. He is going ahead of the weekend. Hearts are being softened. Ears are being opened. What you say will go into the territory that has never heard. How beautiful are the feet of those who proclaim the gospel. You have beautiful feet…”
Overwhelmed, the tears fell from my eyes. Last evening I sat in my chair, preparing for the conference when a friend texted about another suicidal woman who needs someone to walk her through her pain. The tears had fallen then too, as I realized the magnitude of what God is doing, and the extent of the need. “Oh God have mercy!”
But tonight the tears were overwhelming relief that God has not forgotten. That it is about Him and up to Him and He has warriors all around, rising up for His Kingdom, and inviting God to rise up and take His rightful place in their lives, their homes and their churches.
My heart was full. I returned home to task waiting for me, checked my emails for anything urgent and was further overwhelmed by another message. It read:
Just wanted to assure you of my prayers this weekend as you go through this very important conference. May God speak through you more powerfully than ever before and may every heart present soak it up to the nth degree! May an army rise up to defend the victims and may there be resources and powerful answers to help the perpetrators overcome their addictions! God bless you with the right thoughts and words and above all, may the Holy Spirit fill your heart and mind and being in every way, that all attending would be so overcome by God’s love and Presence! May hurting and wounded hearts find their healing in Jesus Christ and in loving and caring people around them!! You go, Trudy!! There is a multitude of people behind you cheering — “go, go, go, Trudy!!!!!!” We/I will be eager to hear reports next week or whenever you get around to blogging or putting something on facebook. =)
Grateful to God for women who are like lionesses, reaching the “masses”!!
PS I’m referring to the book, Lioness Arising, written by Lisa Bevere… I see you as one of “those”!!”
Never before have I had such an overwhelming series of encouragements, with such powerful messages cheering me on, as I did on that one day. And all except one of them came from people who are within the Mennonite culture, as pre-conference support.
And the texts, emails, phone calls and conversations at grocery stores have continued to trickle in from my team, mostly from conservative churches, letting me know they are standing with me, and fighting for the people.
I am humbled, amazed, blessed, encouraged, challenged and thankful! So very thankful that God goes before us, and takes care of our needs. So thankful that He reminds us, through His children, that He has not forgotten us, and that He blesses our work.
Thank you to so many of you for standing with me, in faith, in prayer, in confidence that God has a good plan in all of this. He is moving… healing… restoring.
Please continue to pray for this weekend, that the Holy Spirit will have free reign, and chains will be broken.
And, though I seldom ask for personal prayer, if you have a moment and I come to mind, I’d appreciate prayers on my behalf as well. It is no small thing to enter this hidden place, and reclaim what the enemy has stolen.