I have Tom Petty in my ears and ideas behind my eyes. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the vision that has been in my head for the last few years. I’m standing in front of a group of people who are there to hear me say something and I’m looking through all of the faces to find mine.
I remember sitting by myself at a Women’s Conference several years ago. It was my mom’s church group and the women in her church looked forward to this conference every year. It wasn’t my kind of thing at all, but I was cracked open by my own sin and the magnitude of my own wounds was eating me alive. She was so excited to have me with her. Like a mother lioness, she let me hide in her shadow while I was too wounded and scared to be out in the jungle where I belonged.
I sat in the chair and silently begged God to find me. I looked for Him in the worship. I listened for Him in the speaker. I closed my eyes and tried to feel Him. But He was nowhere near me. I watched women cry happy tears with each other. I watched them go through the appropriate moves of Christian gatherings like I was watching an off-Broadway play I had seen million times. The sounds were hollow as they echoed through the deep cave of my despair.
I was a spectator wondering what it was that made them think they felt God when I could not feel Him at all. A woman tried to come pray with me (because that’s part of the closing of the service), but I was so consumed with pain, emptiness, and confusion that I couldn’t stomach someone saying my name to a Holy God. My name was a curse word and I knew it.
I was an unworthy impostor. My lip gloss and mascara were deceptive. You can put jewelry and heels on a pig, but she’s still a pig. My chest aches with the memory.
When it was over, I walked close enough to my mother to smell her as we made our way back to our cottage. A woman stopped me and told me that I looked familiar. I get that a lot and she wasn’t familiar to me, so I tried to dismiss her. She pressed for my name and when I told her, she backed away and said, “Oh, I’m sorry.” As she turned away, I asked her what her name was. When she told me, I felt like I had been slapped. She did know who I was. More importantly, she knew what I had done and she was sorry she asked.
I went back to my cabin, trying to hold back the stinging tears, and crawled in my bed to disappear.
God found me over the few years that followed and He carried me close to His chest until I could walk again. He taught me about His grace, His gift, and He let me in on some of His most illusive mysteries. Providence makes everything make sense.
Since then, every time I put my words out there in the space of life, I tell myself that I, (the me back then), will find them. Every time I stand up to speak, I’m speaking so that I, (the me back then), can hear it. That’s why I look for me when I’m scanning the faces. I’m drawn to the dark spaces where hearts are isolated in the reality of seeing their worst and the hopelessness that comes with knowing.
I have found that it is the bystanders of the crashes that want to help, but don’t know how. They see their friend trapped in wreckage and are on the hunt for someone with the jaws of life to free them from the steel lies that are twisted around them. The twisted steel of reality without God, trapping them like a beautiful captured prize of a horrible spirit cannibal. That’s how many people find my words. Someone sent my letters to them.
I kept waiting for something to come up. Waiting for an available slot on an agenda formed to dismantle the dam of unbelief to let loose the flood of grace. Waiting for someone bigger than me to put a grace event together and invite me to take part. In all of the waiting, it occurred to me that if I have a vision, then maybe it is because I am the one who needs to assemble the agenda.
And so it begins. I am planning a conference called, “Sifted As Wheat”. I plan to hold it in the Spring of 2013. I’ve left room for plans and for some kind of miraculous coming together of ideas and met needs to make this possible. I don’t know how small or big it will be, but I know that every part of me soars at the thought of people coming together to learn how to accept and give grace. I want sessions to geared around navigating the aftermath of sin. Truth gives hope, it sets people free. The need is overwhelming. I’ll be working out all of the details and keep you posted on the new facebook page for the conference. Please connect with me there to show your support and to keep up on the progress. I can always use your encouragement, your prayers, your ideas, and your stories.
Below is a video about the vision. Let’s see what happens…