Something happened in the months from June to December last year…. I was broken beyond recognition; except He recognized me still. I felt left behind and alone but He reminded me no matter where I was; he was with me. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do as He asked and then a friend reminded me “You may be the only Jesus they see.” I thought to myself: “ Any bit of Jesus I can share is better than keeping quiet in fear of failing.”
In my past life I was the life of the party and always wanting to lead people to the ways I was living. When I found Jesus, he told me that was one thing that wouldn’t have to change…it was just the life I would lead them to would be a different one; an everlasting one.
I belong to an amazing church…one I never saw myself attending. “Who would ever want to go to a church that size? It’s huge and they must all feel like numbers and not faces.” Out of 25,000 members, I am Gidget…not number 24,897. We have small groups and bible studies, LifeShare classes and seminars, missionary trips and volunteer opportunities. This large church is a building with many churches (bodies of Christ) making up its numbers. The opportunities offered since first walking in its doors a year ago have been limitless and fulfilling.
I am not a number but a face; a face that just happens to have an unusual name attached to it… a name that many of the staff know, along with many others that walk through the doors for services, events, studies, or classes. My husband and I wanted to be a part of it from the minute we crossed the parking lot and sat in row five, seats ten and eleven, for the first time last spring. We found Jesus just before moving and found our way to a baptism before thousands in May of last year. Let the life-changing begin.
With a church that size there are many staff and more volunteers to keep it running as smoothly as it does. The fact that I live across the street only keeps me there longer and more often, despite the weather conditions…studying, speaking, or vacuuming; bring it on.
What does this have to do with “Plaid Luggage and Pom Poms”?? Let me share, my friends.
There is a little conference (cough) about 600 in attendance last year I am told; that happens every summer in North Carolina…. the She Speaks Conference that is hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries. It is this amazing opportunity (funny how they number so many since becoming BFFs with Jesus)…. but I digress. This fabulous opportunity is for Christian women; all walks of life, all directions of addresses, and all levels of wanting to “Cheer for Jesus.” Speakers, writers, and leaders Oh My.
This is the Cheer Camp to end all Cheer Camps and if you want to come with us, please follow the link to She Speaks Registration information. Yes… I said US. There are four of us going together….so we can be filled to overflowing and learn how to fill others. (Hint: this is where the pom poms come in).
I’ve never been to a Christian conference of any kind and now I want to go to one that is part conference, part fellowship, part seminar, part learning opportunity, part publisher parade, part speaker forum, part writing critique, part… who am I kidding; this isn’t part anything but a FULL three days of networking with those that have already lit the way for us to follow and those looking to do the following. FULLY AMAZING and FULLY for HIM…not PART anything.
I have no experience in leading just yet but I do hope to gain some. Jesus tells me “Be bold. Be transparent. Be the spokesperson I created you to be.” He doesn’t tell me in the “If you build it … they will come” kinda whisper but reminds me that I was created for this every time we get together over coffee or share the excitement I feel each time I learn something new from Him; through my mom, my church, or my friends. He is responsible for them all so He just smiles and, like a parent to a child when learning to ride a bike….excited at all of the places I can go now….(without the flowered basket on handlebars of course….but pom poms stuck in the handles would be a nice touch).
I write (blogs, devotions, stories, and thank you notes). I speak (sharing my testimony and past, and cheer wherever someone will let me). I sew (bible covers, journals, totes, and coffee cozies). I bake (scones, cakes, and cupcakes….even though Lysa’s “Made to Crave” has squashed that for me for a little while).
I have taken advantage of any opportunity offered at our church; taking classes to learn my spiritual gifts (scared of the word Evangelist until I learned it just meant Cheerleader for Jesus…. Sooooo me), learned to be a small group leader, involved in Prison Ministry, Women’s Ministry and Bible Studies, and currently taking a class to help the LifeShare Ministry… facilitating counseling and advising through challenges we have overcome in order to help others through divorce, cancer, addiction, weight loss, depression, etc.
When I felt alone during my isolation for six months that helped further the transformation He began two years ago…I missed my friends; the friends that Jesus himself hand-picked to be a part of my life. That feeling of loneliness is one I never want another to feel and I wanted to start a fellowship of Christian women when I returned… I did. We call ourselves “Lylas”…. Standing for “Love ya like a Sister….in Jesus” and we do. We are there for each other despite the circumstances; in person over coffee or just a shoulder, via email or text, biggest of smiles or with tear stained cheeks. We go to movies and dinner, host luncheons and teas, and even make handmade totes and jewelry, speak, or cook food in His name; each having a ministry of our own to Cheer for Him….spreading his name in any way possible, with multiple opportunities for people to feel as intimate with Him as we do.
I have never been to She Speaks but I assure you… receiving a scholarship or not, I will be there….along with three other Lylas (one already being blessed to receive a scholarship of her own)….a woman from Proverbs 31 Ministries left a comment on her blog that has become our motto (“The world says “Where there is a will there is a way.” The Father says, “Where there is a heart desperate to follow hard after me, I can make a way.”) Guess what? We have four hearts that are desperate to follow hard and cheer others to do the same…. We’re goin’.
And of course…. any group of women with a motto for their first Cheer Camp has to have a theme song “Get Here” by Oleta Adams says it all….
“You can reach me by railway, you can reach my trailway. You can reach me by airplane…… “
This isn’t about “winning” the Cecil Murphey Scholarship for attending the conference, because that would mean there was just one winner amongst us striving for this opportunity, making the rest of us “losers.” This is about hoping to be blessed enough to receive this gift….and if not this gift, another He has planned for us down the road. He has many blessings for us all and we only have to ask for them. I am asking for this one but I know if it isn’t me this time…He has another way and I will seek out the receiver of this gift at the conference and be sure to bring an extra set of pom poms for a woman picked “for a time such as this.”
Luckily for me my plaid luggage has extra pockets for just such occasions.