Today is Day Fifteen of 31 Days of Encountering God! If you missed the kick-off, you can go HERE and find the Introduction as well as each days post! (I will be adding every day as the month goes on!
I hope you are enjoying reading through some of these God Encounters from the Prayer Group that inspired this blog... It's been fun rereading them and stirring them up! I will share a couple more this week, but today I am part of a Blog Hop for an (In)courage Writers group and the writing prompt was "Story"
Because this is how I learned
how to live my story...
I have been sharing a bit here and there throughout this #31days series of my backstory... and I have shared bits of me in every corner of this little blog for years and years now. It's not a new call - this drive to live out loud, to be real, to risk being vulnerable and let loose of the masks that seemingly protect and shield, but really - they suffocate and isolate. I've long since let them fall to the floor, shattered. Some were boldly thrown out... others were pried out of my clenched fists.
Either way, I am freer now.
I came to know the Lord at all of 21. That is a young age to have an encounter that shifts all that my passionate heart thought it believed, but I was starving for Truth and hungry for love... for acceptance... for belonging. I was all in. It was a few years later that I found myself prepped for success. I was young and on fire, soaking up things like a sponge. I was a newlywed, a new Mom, and I was filling in the gaps, stepping up in ministry, and falling right in line on the fast track with the next generation of leaders.
But in the whirlwind of it all, I lost my voice. I fell for the lie that to be in leadership – to be in ministry, I’d better clean up my act or at least act like I was all cleaned up. I needed to dress differently, talk differently, and maybe not laugh quite so loudly. I needed to be softer here, and stronger there… I was full of tweaks and marketable potential. And I’m not even saying it was all bad…
But from the very beginning, God was calling me to Stand Up; to not blend in… to speak the Truth in Love and actually BE who He made me to be. It’s great to have mentors and leaders who pour into you and I am oh so thankful for the ones that I had (and have still!) but I was being lulled into following… mimicking… reaching to be and sound and speak like (fill-in-the-blank with the current anointed one.) That wouldn’t do! He has called us all to lead – side by side. All of us – He created on purpose, WITH purpose, and no one can say or do or speak things the way we can… we must find our own voice… tell our own story!
While letting things go, I found myself feeling quite shelved. I had to lay down my giftings… things that brought success in ministry or found favor with man. It was not an easy road, but I came to a bend where I realized I may never move in those giftings again… like, ever. After traveling with that for a little while, I came to the end where I realized that I was okay with that! If I never taught again… if I never spoke or wrote or led – anything – again… I was fine with that. (At least, on most days!)
We had a long dry season… well – I did. My husband is gifted in worship and it seemed anywhere we went, he had an open invitation, but me? I didn’t do anything that felt like ‘ministry’ for years.
Looking back on it now, however… I see. I see how as I gave up my idea of how these gifts would work, He allowed them to flow in ways I would have never expected. Ministry is not something we do… it’s something that organically happens because it comes out of who we are – everywhere we go. During that season, I felt like I‘d been set aside and forgotten but it was then that I was truly learning who I was… how to let down the masks and stand tall in the me He created me to be! I was shedding Fear of Man and Perfectionism and all sorts of ugly Religion.
I found myself encountering God in personal intimate ways and out of those times, ministry would happen. I was walking in more and more freedom… and all the while, I was telling my Story!
Tomorrow I will be writing about Encountering God in Waking Up to the ways in which we can Be the Gift... Be the Change that is needed... tomorrow is World Food Day and I will be sharing more about the work that WorldHelp is doing to feed the hungry and help the refugees in Syria. I hope you come back then!