Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Deeper Still

For the first time in 6 years, I am not planning to leave tomorrow for the MOPS convention. I am still coming to grips with it, trying not to feel bitter about it :o) I wish I could go this time, but God is moving me onto another season of my life.

I was extremely blessed to be able to attend the Deeper Still Conference with almost 20 ladies from our church last weekend though. It was almost as much fun as a MOPS convention! The conference was Friday night and all day Saturday in Orlando. Most people went early on Friday to have fun and relax, but 3 of us went together later (read: after work) to catch up with the group. We got there just as the praise music was finishing up (led by Travis Cottrel) and didn't miss a second of the speaking! I rode with 2 ladies I have known but not really gotten to know well and we had such a GREAT time. My sides were aching from the laughing by the time we arrived.

Kay Arthur spoke that night about resting in our faith. How resisting (or questioning) where God is leading us is like disbelief. If we truly believe God is sovereign and has plans for us that are good, we ought to take each turn our lives hand us with calm reassurance and rest in the faith that God is responsible for the consequences! Wow, did I need that kick in the pants! I love how a familiar verse or story takes on new meaning in the light of a new truth. Kay brought that out when she discussed the story in Matthew of Jesus' first miracle. I know this story, but I had failed to key in on the point. After this miracle, Matthew states, the disciples believed. They had served Jesus as His disciples and yet they didn't really believe He was the Messiah until He performed His first miracle. Pretty dense disciples, don't you think?! I can be so thick-headed too! Can't we all??

That night brought a record amount of sleep for me while away at a girl's weekend! We had six ladies staying in our room and we were in bed, lights out by 12:15! I had a bit of a hard time falling asleep because I was out of my routine and I was certain Isaiah was tapping his toe and wondering why I hadn't showed up for our nightly meeting. (Isaiah, as in the prophet who wrote the book of the Bible where I am currently reading as I read through the Bible in a year, that is.) The next morning, we all managed to get showers and get checked out in time to get to the morning session.

More music, and then Pricilla Schirer spoke. I have heard her twice before, once a the MOPS convention either last year or the year before, and again quite a while ago at a HisWomen conference in Cedar Rapids. I really enjoyed her both times. But, when she opened up her talk, describing the time she lost her son at Disney World for 15 minutes and I started crying, I knew she was going to have a powerful message for me. I was not let down. I think I cried all the way through her message. It was Jesus meeting me there and speaking to me, just what I needed to hear. I was riveted and scribbled notes furiously, certain she was speaking directly to me! I just kept thanking God for being so near to me at that time and speaking such peace and direction to me.

The cliff notes of her talk were this: God is ABLE! No matter what my impossible situation might be, He is able to carry me through it. She used Ephesians 3:20-21 and broke it down word for word to drive home this truth. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

"Now", clearly, the time is now!! He is able! "To do immeasurable more than ALL we ask or imagine..." Okay, here is where she really grabbed my attention. She again drove home Kay's point from the night before that we can trust God to have good, no, even great plans for us that are immeasurably good, and more than all we could ask or imagine. She talked about going "beyond beyond". She gave several illustrations for this to emphasize God's abilities. One of them was of a parent drawing a boundary for their child such as the fence in the back yard that separates their yard from a forest. If you see your child on the other side of the fence, he has gone beyond beyond. Then, if you see him on the other side of the creek, also beyond beyond. BUT, if you get a call from your "neighbor" who lives on the other side of the forest behind your house, your child has really gone BEYOND beyond! God is able to go beyond beyond! Beyond what we can think to ask or even imagine! She shared that the knowledge of that should change the way we pray! She now prays for something, telling God, "Either do that...or something better!!"

I have been so stuck in my prayer life, forgetting that I serve the God who is able! I lose sight of the fact that His perfect love for me should drive out all fear and that I can lay my cares on Him. That He has amazing plans for me and I have no reason to worry about my husband's job or lack thereof because He already has it all worked out. My job is to rest in that FAITH! I either rest in it or I choose to doubt it. I have that choice every day. I choose rest! This other thing is exhausting me!! I am done with it! Won't you join me in resting in our faith?? If you struggle with this as I do, would you reach out to me here and help me stay accountable and I will do the same for you. I would be so honored. Love to you all and to the ladies in Nashville, oh how I wish I were there!! God surely has a beyond beyond plan for me instead!!


Anonymous said...

God Bless you dear Travis, I am so thankful that you were able to go to this event for such wonderful and much needed "food", and with some new friends. God was speaking to you personally through these speakers. I think of you each April when I attend "His Women". This last Spring it was Liz Curtis Higgs, and once again, I was spoken by God through her and the music. I am so happy for you in reading that you are resting in the Lord and having the peace that only He can bring when we have uncertainty. He loves us too much to let us stay that way. Thank the Lord that you had this opportunity to share with others and to bring you back home on a spiritual high that will stay with you. Thank you for sharing your heart once again and keeping us up to date.

We love you all and send hugs and kisses,
G. & G. P.

Melanie said...

Wow Travis, Thanks so much for sharing. I, too, am missing the MOPS Convention and trying to be ok with it, knowing what I'm missing. But God can meet me here, he isn't just in Nashville right now.

We continue to pray for your family. I'll rest with you in faith, and believe that God is going beyond what we ask. We love you guys!

Richard and Becky said...

Thank you for that Travis! That is exactly what I needed now too! How easy we forget that He is able despite our circumstances and the inability to see what lies ahead.

Rikki said...

Thanks so much for sharing these notes from the conference. I think we can all gain something from them. I need to be reminded of these things, for sure, but I also was struggling with how to encourage someone and reading this has helped me a ton. Can't wait to keep hearing how God moves in your life!!

By the way, I have never been to MOPS convention but this is my 1st year NOT doing MOPS and it's a new season for me, too. I don't know that I will do it again and it's WEIRD but I trust that it's good, too! :)

sara said...

Oh gosh, Travis - thank you for sharing how the Lord spoke to you through this amazing conference! So many times when I am pausing and questioning, I have to confess it is my unbelief! Clearly, I don't believe HE is enough. Clearly, I don't think HE is capable. If I DID....if I trusted Him, if I truly believed He was the Alpha & Omega - how would that change things????

Lifting you up tonight,

Prachar family said...

I look forward to hearing more on the content of this conference as I, too, am in the boat and needing to see beyond beyond to walk on the water to Him who calls! What an incredible blessing that we get to walk this stage of our lives together again...both of us having to believe beyond! You remind me that He is able on those days when I need a kick in the pants too!! Love you! Jo (I'm on your computer too!! :)