There are moments in our journey with God that leave a mark. Sometimes it's a mark that seems a little bitter because of the ways God speaks truth into our souls. Then sometimes, it's the sweetest, most beautiful moment that marks us and makes us different. The kind of moment when you are reminded of what God meant when He created the Church. The kind of mark that opens your eyes like Gideon allowing you to see the ways God fights His children.
This past week I had the privilege of a moment like this.
I attended my third Speak Up Conference last week. My first conference was back in 2002 before I had any idea I would end up in vocational ministry serving in the local church. My second conference experience was last year. God began a journey last year that He continued to build on this year when I attended.
The moments this year surprised me. I don't know what I expected, but going to Speak Up this year felt like going home. I am amazed every time I attend by the beautiful way women champion one another. It saddens me that this is not a normal practice in our churches. I think we are so hurt by our own brokenness at times that we fear not having a seat at the table, not being enough, somehow being excluded.
That's right where the enemy wants us to be. Alone and against one another.
Here's what I'm learning. I'm learning there is a place for every woman's story. For every message God placed in the hearts of the women I met at Speak Up, God has an audience in mind. There is so much real estate in the Kingdom of God. When we tell our stories, something changes in all of us. The storyteller changes. The listener transforms. And as a result, the community around all of us changes, too.
At the same time, I'm learning it can be difficult to really see every woman's story without fully knowing my own. If I want to champion others, I must first have my own identity firmly planted in Christ.
A single flower is gorgeous and fragrant. But a bouquet of similar flowers does something remarkable. The aroma can't be ignored. The staggering beauty of a bundle of roses or a bunch of tulips brightens the space where you position them.
Gathering alike flowers together does something staggering. It changes a place.
The same is true for God's children. When we are like-minded, have the same love, and are one in spirit and purpose, something staggering happens. We brighten the space where we are positioned. We impact the world for change. Sure, a single daughter of the King can make a positive change for the Kingdom of God, but when you gather the collective of God's daughters (and sons) together, reminding them they are not alone and have been given a purpose for such a time as this, look out, world, because something incredible is coming!
This past week at Speak Up, God reminded me of this simple verse in Philippians:
This verse reminded me of the invitation I have been given to be a part of God's team. I stood in a room with hundreds of other women who have all been given a role, a part to play in God's story. God handed each one of us an invitation to join His work. What a humbling and beautiful truth! No invitation more important than the other, but every one vital to the story God continues to write.
So let's gather together, like-minded people, making the kind of impact a bundled bouquet makes as it brightens the weary world where it is placed. You are seen. You are known. You are enough. But most importantly, You are not alone. Our world is in need of our stories, so let's tell them! After all, it's really God's story we're telling in the first place.