A few weeks ago, my best friend, Amy, invited me to attend the He Loves Me Women’s Conference at First Baptist Church of Glenarden (FBCG), a church where she attends discipleship classes. Not only did the conference sound interesting, but also I figured it would be a great bonding and growing experience for Amy and me. Since the conference is three days in length and FBCG is 70miles/90mins from my home, I had only planned to attend the “meat and potatoes” of the event, which is scheduled for tomorrow. However, me being M.E., I waited until the last minute to register for the conference and its cost doubled in price.
A part of me was disappointed in myself for waiting so long to pay for my registration (Michelle, why do you always delay in paying for things? It’s not your money; it’s God money!) However, another part of me decided to make the best of the situation…so I decided to attend the free, open-to-the-public prayer service, which took place last night.
And that is where God happened!
God is Intentional…
As we should all know by now, I am currently unemployed so I try to be very cautious with how I use the limited resources that I have. In planning for this three-day conference, I knew that I would only be able to attend one day because the drive would be physically and financially demanding of me. While I knew God wanted me to attend this event, I was mistaken on which day God actually needed me present… I was meant to attend the Thursday night service.
Per our usual, Amy and I chatted on the phone during my drive to FBCG. We talked about the normal bestie stuff but then I wanted to resume a conversation that we had begun earlier when she was telling me about her discipleship class. When Amy had begun that class one year ago, we had decided that it was “her thing” that she would have to herself. As best friends for 23 years, we have learned to find balance and joy by having things that are only for Amy and things that are only for Michelle. For it is in our separate things that we are able to come back together and share the individual blessings that God has bestowed on our lives (yep, that’s how we #bestie). However, God had placed on her heart that it was time to mention this class to me… because I was ready to receive the information that would be taught. As she talked, I prayed (and drove), heavily considering the commitment that this course would mean.
When I arrived in the parking lot, Amy and I chatted a bit before we walked into the church. Immediately, the warm, welcoming faces of the women of the various FBCG women’s ministries greeted us. And of course, the first table that we saw was for the discipleship group that Amy and I had just been discussing during our drives to the church. It was God. This was my first time at the church and I was just amazed by its size and complexity- the church offered so much to those who dared enter its doors. Once Amy got her badge, we entered the sanctuary to find seats and prepare for service. On the way in, we stopped to fill out prayer slips to add to the prayer tree. I do not remember everything that I wrote, but I know the gist of the prayer was for God to strengthen me in this ministry that He had placed on my heart.
Ask and ye shall receive…
Service began like any other church event with praise and worship and opening prayer. Things took a turn when First Lady Jenkins began to speak and guide us in the service. She told us to get in groups of seven, form a circle with one woman in the middle, and pray for that woman…and then alternate. So here we are, strangers in a circle, praying for and over the lives of one another. It was powerful to say the least.
After that and another selection from the praise team, First Lady Jenkins introduced the guest preacher who would deliver the opening message. Charne Pretorius is the co-pastor of 3C Church in South Africa and a mighty woman of God. I am sure she thought she came to America to help women be brave (sub-theme of the conference) but the truth is, she came just to speak to me. Yes, as she stood on that stage, hundreds of feet away from me, in a room filled with hundreds of women, Pastor Pretorius was speaking specifically to M.E. and my life. Pastor Pretorius’ message spoke on going to battle for (and with) Christ; she spoke on how the Word calls us to pick up our battle flags (Jeremiah 51:12, 27) and mobilize (educate and charge) others because the time of spiritual warfare is now.
While her sermon was powerful, there were two specific points that stood out in my mind:
- The white flag is a universal sign of surrender that is waved when one side is done fighting and ready to attempt defeat. So when we wave the white flag in spiritual battle, we are saying to the enemy (the devil) that we are surrendering to him and ready to negotiate on his terms.
- We must not wave our white flags when faced with the issues of life (e.g. depression, fear, brokenness, etc.), signaling to the devil that we bow at his feet. Instead, we must wave our battle flags (red, for the blood of Jesus) and declare the victory- that has already been won for us- in Jesus’ name. From there, we turn depression into joy, fear into faith, and brokenness into wholeness.
My God, my God!!!
Moved to silence…
I sat there in silence and in tears as I prayed on Pastor Pretorius’ words. This entire week has been filled with one spiritual movement after another. From Pastor Henry’s word on Sunday about the preparation that God provides to us in our pits, to Monday’s prayer line call, to Tuesday’s bible study, to Rev. Hicks’ sermon on Wednesday about God’s divine assignment in our lives- God has been speaking and I have been listening.
God allowed me to be in the pit of my life in order for me to learn just who He is. While I was in the pit (my season of loss, depression, and brokenness), God revealed who He was and what He had planned for my life. From there He revealed that He is an intentional God and that He has something new planned for my life. He told me that what He has for me has never been done before but He is steadily preparing me for it. Furthermore, His divine assignment for my life will require me to inquire of Him for guidance and divine instruction every step of the way. Lastly, as I am battling for my life, I must not surrender or give in, because Christ has already won the victory…and someone else’s life depends on me succeeding.
That is what God said to me this week. Literally, one message/one day built on the message from the day before, all bringing me to this very moment.
Beloved, I do not know what God purposed for your life but I do know that your life has purpose. There is something that He specifically needs from you and your life. He is intentional! Seek Him and allow Him to reveal His Jeremiah 29:11 purpose for your life. The worst thing that we can ever do in life is assume that God has no purpose for our lives.
He speaks even when we do not hear or listen.
He moves even when we cannot see.
He is God and God alone.
Earlier this week I asked if your walk with Christ was convenient or intentional (read it here). Today I ask you this: do you believe that God is intentional?
(Me and Amy last night)