Precious three-letter Ann, full of grace and sharing it all with us, reaching out her beautiful, humble hand that has cradled fragile bubbles and mended boo-boos and combed out grief tangles and reached for the moon, expressing a desire to help us all. A desire to help someone like me.
Why did I cry? Because I felt like she had been watching a playback of my life, listening to my dreams, hearing my heart for helping women the world over to speak theirs. She saw it and heard it all, and she wrote those words for me. And the longing of my heart is to do that for someone else. For many someone elses.
Funny story. I used to have this recurring dream of speaking at a conference to thousands of women, something like a Women of Faith conference, or something similar. In my dream I was an author of inspirational books for women. Over time I eventually managed to convince myself that even though that thought jazzed me to the core, things like that don't really happen to people like me.
I mean, the people who speak at those conferences grew up in Christian homes, never had years gobbled up by the locusts of abuse and family dysfunction, always had it all together.
But aren't there women I know, even personally, who have brought the brokenness of their pasts forward and risked it all by laying it out on the table? And I know why they do it, why I want to do it: because someone else needs to know she isn't alone. Someone else needs to know that He restores what the locusts have eaten and then so much more.
It's been my heart for as long as I can remember, this loving on others in Jesus' name. When I was little I always sought out the one person in a room that no one was talking to, sidled up alongside and said hi. Those people rarely rejected my silly-but-sincere friendliness, and many went on to become lifelong friends.
My love for writing has been with me my whole life, and has combined with my love for helping people quite nicely. The result has been more letters, notes, commissioned poetry and dedications, blog entries, and articles than I could begin to number.
It came naturally, like breathing, my passions all converging to form the perfect storm on the page and in conversations and in song, reaching up and out and painting with words the beautiful thing Jesus was making out of the mess that was me.
I know that if He can do it for me, He can do it for you, too.
And if He wants to do it for me, He surely wants to do it for you.
If He loves me this much, ordinary imperfect girl that I am with five kids and two grandkids and one beloved I'm still love-struck crazy for, a deep love for people and a heart full of wild dreams, He must also be crazy for you.
You, lovely one that you are, whatever you've seen, whatever you've done, wherever life has taken you.
You are not alone. And neither am I.
I, and hundreds of others just like me, keep asking God over and over for one thing: the opportunity to make a difference in a life. In just one life, and then another, and then more as He leads. We know that this longing was knit into us by Him at the forming, so all we are really doing is agreeing with Him and being true to our purpose: to love on His people and encourage them to love on Him and on one another.
I am nobody special, just a woman He created, a shadow of the Former who knit into me a deep passion for connecting with others and connecting them with Him. I'm so silly I get tearful every time I even talk about how much joy He has brought into my life just through the women He has given me opportunity to encourage.
I keep praying for more chances, more beautiful daughters of His to find a way to bless and with open hand direct all the glory back to Him. It's a dream too big to let go.
Know what my big dream right now is? To meet you.
There is a lovely gathering coming up soon with this dream in mind. The SheSpeaks conference in North Carolina July 22-24, 2011 is being offered by Proverbs 31 Ministries and is a time of learning, fellowship, encouragement, fun, and celebration of the common purpose of connecting the hearts of women with the heart of God the Father. I can't imagine what a blessing this conference is going to be. I'm hoping to find out first hand.
Would you like an opportunity for a scholarship to this treasure of an atmosphere? Please go HERE to enter. I would love to see you there. Walk in His grace, and perhaps our paths will cross in North Carolina. I would love that.