This weekend I was able to attend the Belong Tour in Atlanta with women from my church. Words cannot describe how excited I was to be going to this event. For one, I was ready to worship. As a Children’s Minister I don’t get to go to worship very much, so here was a chance for me to worship the Lord along with many women. Singing to the Lord is one of my favorite things to do and I was ready to sing!
Second, I was ready to hear from the Lord from this amazing line-up of speakers: Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Niequest, Patsy Clairmont, Nichole Nordeman, Angela Davis, and Sharon Irving. I look up to these women and knew that I was going to get some awesome God-spoken words from them. I was ready to hear these women speak!
But as I walked out of the door after Friday night’s session, all I could feel was disappointment. Where was Jesus? He was mentioned very little. Where were the worship songs? We sang more secular songs than worship ones. Why did we not pray? I was praying in my seat, though! Why did they choose not to speak the Word of God that night? There was no mention of any Scripture.
More questions rang through my head…What did I sign up for? Did I misunderstand the meaning of The Belong Tour? Did I come with too high expectations? Did anyone else feel the same way I did? Where are you, Lord?
I prayed many times that night and on Saturday morning before we returned for another day of The Belong Tour. I asked God to be present. I asked God to take away my negative attitude so I could see Him in this event. I asked God to give me an open mind. I asked God to bring good from this event.
And friends….God did all those things and more.
I am writing this post because I want to share with you all the great things I did get out of The Belong Tour, even though it was not at all what I thought it would be.
- Fellowship On our way to the event we picked up a friend and when she got in the car she yelled, “Party!!!”. That’s what it felt like for me that weekend. A big party with my church friends. I got to spend a weekend in beautiful fellowship with the ladies from our church…which is something I don’t get to do often. One great thing about this conference was that we were able to get younger women from our church to attend, so it was awesome to see the merging of older women (who really aren’t old) and younger women. I enjoyed our talks, our prayers, and just being with them. They were a refreshment to my soul.
- Laughter The amount of time I spent laughing this weekend was crazy! Every time we got in the car someone would say something that started the non-stop laughter. There were times I could not stop laughing. These women brought joy and happiness into my life this weekend.
- Love My church friends showed love to everyone this weekend. From the hugs, high fives, encouraging words, and prayers, I definitely felt the love. And most importantly I felt the love of Jesus showered upon me by these precious women of God.
- Confirmation of God’s calling This was the most important takeaway that I received this weekend. I felt God confirming my calling to teach, write, and speak the Word of God to others, especially women. He confirmed this by giving me this verse from Psalm 40:9-10
“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.”
When I read that, tears welled in my eyes. God does not want me to keep Him hidden. He wants me to speak boldly of Him to “the great congregation”. God wants me to live a life that leads others to Him. He wants me to share the love of Jesus by telling them what amazing things He has done for me and for others.
I do NOT want to be a woman who conceals Jesus and hides Him away in my heart. When I speak in front of others, write on my blog or in books, or stand to teach about Jesus, I want God to get the glory. I want others to know who Jesus is. I want them to see how awesome, powerful, mighty, faithful, loving, compassionate, and holy is the Lord our God. I want “the great congregation” to see Jesus in and through me.
On our way to the hotel Friday night, after one of my own prayers to the Lord about where He was in all of that, we got off our exit and in a HUGE, bright billboard on that exit was the word, “JESUS”. He was there. He’s always there…even in events where I felt there should have been more of Him presented. He never fails to show up. He has been and will always be present with us.
I believe that no matter what happens to you, what expectations you have that are not met, or things turn out totally different that what you thought, that “God works all things for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
Friends, may we be reminded today of the words of Jesus, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way.” (Luke 10:2-3).
The name of Jesus needs to be shared. His name needs to be made known so that all can have eternal salvation.
Are you ready to be one of the laborers?