The cornfields stretched far and wide beneath me as I looked out the window of the plane. Nebraska’s snow covering looked more like powdered sugar from my vantage point. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I agreed to come and speak at an annual women’s conference in the middle of December. I had my doubts about women being willing to give up a Saturday so close to Christmas.
Was I ever delightfully surprised!
Over lunch I visited with the young pastor and his wife, whose church spearheads the Nebraska Christian Women’s Conference every year. Not long into our conversation, I knew at least one reason why God brought me.
The Father knew that after a long and difficult year, a year where I’ve watched a few dear friends turn their hearts to lesser things, a year when it seems the enemy has spread his darkness further throughout our nation, a year when I’ve struggled in my own walk with the Lord, He knew I needed this.
God knew I needed to see Him at work in a most unlikely place.
We traveled a ways outside of Omaha, to the conference center where I’d be speaking the next day, and throughout the ride, both the pastor and his wife shared story after story of God’s faithfulness, of His provision, of the vision He’s given them to plant a church in the middle of a very spiritually dark area.
Throughout the ride they expressed how they are crying out to God to bring revival.
We stopped at the conference center to have a time of crying out in prayer, asking God to meet with us the next day.
And He answered those prayers.
God graciously chose to visit us in the middle of that spiritually dark area of unbelief.
From the time I walked through the doors that Saturday morning, I sensed His presence at work. I looked out over the crowded hall and saw little ones in carriers and infant seats (one babe was only three weeks old!), young single women, white-haired ladies, and women from all types of backgrounds. I heard about one woman who brought her six neighbors, all who are in need of a personal relationship with God) . . . women from all types of religious (and non-religious) backgrounds came together on a Saturday with less than two weeks until Christmas . . . eager to hear from God.
I shared the beautiful truth that we are created to bear God’s image, but also the hard reality of our sinful and lost condition and the need to receive His provision, His covering, and atoning work (Gen. 3:21; 1 Peter 1:18–21). We considered ways we’ve tried to live out a “false identity” rather than our true identity in Christ. Finally, I shared with the women a few testimonies from some of my friends who’ve received God’s forgiveness and are truly living out their purpose as God’s image bearers. These women are walking in the freedom that comes from their identity in Christ. (You can hear their stories by watching this video clip)
In the second session, I spoke about the destructive cycle that is common in male/female relationships. We considered the contrast between the destructive fierce woman and the beautiful fierce woman.
I watched as women across the room wept when they viewed our marriage video.
Throughout the morning, the Spirit took His Word and opened women’s eyes to see what He had for them. It is an amazing thing to observe God’s conviction moving across a room, it is something that is tangible; it is the powerful effect of His personal Word being applied to needy heart conditions.
It was evident that God was graciously stepping into the room to open our eyes to our great need to move into a greater position of humility, of obedience, of surrender.
God’s eternal work in women’s lives that weekend may not be able to be adequately measured now, but some of the women shared at the end of that day how God met with them. Some said that the day was “life changing” for them, women expressed that they now had hope for their marriage where before there was none, one said her eyes were opened to identify the aspects that have been negatively affecting her relationship with God and her family, and others expressed that they came to understand who they are “in Christ.”
All I can say is: All glory to God!
He knew my doubts and fears, He knew my reluctance to agree to come to Nebraska (in the middle of December!), He knows my struggle with the awareness of my inadequacy, but He also knew He was planning to show up.
He spoke to my heart in a way I desperately needed.
He reminded me that He is still at work, sometimes in the darkest and most unlikely places, He has a remnant and He is working!
He is redeeming His own for His glory!
How are you seeing Him working in your life today?