This past month or so, I've been reminded that doing God's work is a process. Just because you've been put on assignment or you've discovered His plan for you doesn't mean you're set. It means you've begun your journey, and to get through it, you are going to have to check in with Him all the time.
After my first two stops on the Women of Faith tour, I knew that I wanted to go deeper, to connect more with the women I was meeting across the country. I knew that my story and my ministry were important, but I wanted to really bond with people. The trouble was, I got so much feedback from so many different people that it was hard to know who to listen to, what to take away from what everybody was saying. To get to the heart of everything, though, I knew it would take feeling and hearing Psalms 46:10:
Be still, and know that I am God
I was going to make sense not just of what my friends were telling me, but of what God was telling me, I was going to have to get some alone time. As a mother of five, that is easier said than done.
But God has a way of helping you out if you begin to move in the direction He intends, and so little by little, my schedule started clearing up last week: a couple kids had to go to a sleepover, another had a birthday party to go to, Emmitt had to stay home a day longer, and all of a sudden, I had some time! And so, after a monthly prayer group meeting on Friday, I knew I had a chance, and I wasn't going to waste it. I turned off my phone, and, to really ensure I had some solitude, I even checked into a hotel. Once that door closed behind me, I just shut down, and began to listen.
In that room, God turned my speech upside down. I knew that my story, the one that God had put me on the road to deliver, was about finding my voice. I had thought, before I got out on the road and went to Oklahoma City, that it was about finding my voice in the shadow of Emmitt's success, but in that hotel room God showed me something different. He showed me that I was supposed to be sharing the story of my mother's voice, and the effect its loss had on me.
My mother was a strong, opinionated, loving woman. She meant so much to me, and when I was growing up I looked to her for everything: advice, support, care and friendship, as well as love. Her voice was always with me, but cancer took her very early, and when she died, I was just 22. Her death left a huge hole in my life. I didn't know where or how to find the love that I got from my mommy, and it took me years to realize that I could turn to God, that the most important thing a person can feel sometimes is that they are in God's will. I still miss my Mommy, but I also feel so much stronger now, because as much as I loved her and as much as she loved me, God has always and will always love me even more.
God had been showing that to me for a long time, but I don't know that I would have been able to see it if I hadn't gotten away from the chaos and the madness of my everyday life. We've all gotta get quiet sometimes. We all need to find the time to be still, to hear what God is saying to us. He is always talking, always sharing things with us, but so often we don't notice it because we are bogged down in the day-to-day mess that we all have.
And of course, there's no real getting away from that day-to-day, either. Just a few hours later, after I'd checked out of the room and was walking to my car, I found myself immediately feeling guilty, worrying about Emmitt and the kids. But when I got home, everything was fine: no fights, no broken bones, no chaos. It was like that stillness had followed me back from the hotel room, and I can't wait to share that with everybody over these next few weeks!!