It's the scariest part of my job and takes me so far out of my comfort zone, I don't even recognize what galaxy I'm in anymore. Speaking publicly. My stomach turns flop flop. But I don't know why this happens cause afterwards, when it's all said and done, I get to meet people, share my story and tell how great God has been in my life. The most exhilarating rush in the world.
Jessie Sartin emailed me several months ago asking if I'd come speak to the Aggie Sisters For Christ during their upcoming weekend retreat. I was floored and thought it would be a blast - I have such great memories of College Station from David's time there. I figured I'd show up, talk with 50-60 girls and have some great laughs. But God kept drawing me away from these cute ideas of what to do and say and pulled me to really open up and share some grit. I wrestled with it so much but it wasn't until I showed up just after sunrise to Lake Bryan, approaching a field completely littered with tents (some blown over and others somehow still standing) I surrended the last bit of ME that argued with God over what to share.
After a few beautiful songs of worship, I stood before a group of 250-300 girls and just poured open. The lake behind me, the girls before me, it was so surreal and I felt more comfortable and welcome than I have at any place I've ever talked. The setting was so beautiful, so relaxed and it was more about the interaction between all of us together, not just me preaching to them. I shared some painful things about my life and how God so obviously carried me through it, through this refiner's fire, that He didn't just meet me on the other side but was with me every step of the way. I shared about His love in my life, about His best for us and about Luke 17 and forgiveness.
After an hour flew by, the girls broke off into smalls groups and later shared in front of the entire group the things they discussed. I was blown away by their beauty, their hunger for God in their lives, their maturity and their perspective. I wished I could have had what they had at that age, not just in maturity, but this support system of like-minded women carrying one another through the college years. Wow!
And just when I thought I couldn't be any more blessed or wowed, Jessie and her committee stood before the girls to close things out and present a surprise that makes me shake my head in disbelief even right now.
Jessie talked about how they usually give towards missions all over the world, sometimes AIDS in Africa and things of the sort. But she was struck by how we are so quick to help overseas (which is very important) and sometimes forget the need in our own city... that helping with AIDS in a country far away is easy but how dealing with it so close to home is scary and uncomfortable. After discussion, the girls were more than supportive and the money set aside was donated to AIDS Foundation Houston, knowing what an advocate I am for the organization.
As I drove away from Lake Bryan it started to sink in and I was so overwhelmed, I bawled. I pray one day my daughters will exude and display the kind of love and grace these women are living out loud... thank you, ASC.