God has a funny way of getting me places. I almost always avoid conferences. I don’t know why. It might be my fear of cheesiness (I just can’t jump on some bandwagons) or more likely it is my fear of vulnerability (isn’t that silly?), but I will almost never be the one to initiate going on a retreat or to a conference. Never.
Over the past few years, the Lord has spoken up about this avoidance I have. You know what he’s done? He’s tricked me! Not really… but he’s signed me up for 5, count ’em… FIVE conferences that I otherwise would not have attended. And how did he do this?? He signed me up to be the worship leader. So there’s the trick… and the treat 🙂 One conference he led me to was about adoption and stepping out in faith in big ways. Needed that talk and cried all the way home. One retreat was focused on service-minded worship. Well, that was convicting and just what I needed. Another conference taught about co-dependence versus life fully dependent on Christ. Again, needed it. And then there was the Christmas retreat where I got connected with some amazing ladies that my life would be incomplete without. So while he has been tricky, he’s never skimped on the blessings of it all.
And I’ve also been avoiding this blog post, even though I’ve played the guitar in public for several years now at these conferences and for the youth. Why have I been avoiding it?? Because of the word “comfortable”. I’ve done it. But I haven’t been comfortable with it. And this time was no different… at first. But then there was a major heart change.
Thomasville has steadily felt more and more like home to me in these past few months, but the one thing I’ve really missed and craved are women. Women of the Lord. I was so spoiled during my 5 years in Athens to constantly be surrounded by encouraging, godly women. And while I knew all along that they were here in Thomasville too, I wasn’t really going out of my way to look for them. Maybe it was fear again. Maybe pride. But all I know is that when I got the invitation to go to the Fall Women’s Retreat as the worship leader, I knew it was another one of God’s set-ups that I just had to take hold of.
I had been sick all week leading up to the retreat (which was at the beach… Did I mention that they invited me to the beach?!) but I wasn’t going to let that hold me back. We got to the hotel where we were staying just as I was supposed to be starting the first night’s worship. Slightly panicked, I lead. But afterwards I felt about as big as an ant. I felt flat, like I didn’t play well at all, and honestly like the whole thing might’ve been a big mistake. Then, my wonderful husband looked at me and asked me “Did you believe it?” Did I believe what?! What was he talking about? Did I believe that I stunk?? Yes. Did I believe that I wanted to go home?? Yes. But that wasn’t what he was implying… Did I believe what I was singing? Eh… I really wasn’t thinking too much about it. Did I believe that my God was everything those hymns I had chosen said He was? Well, yeah… but…
And that’s when it all changed (and I knew I was ready to write this blog :)). The comfort and confidence and excitement to play my guitar and perform, which has been natural for me since my high school days, all came from the Lord’s heart and His strength in me… Not how well-tuned my guitar was and how perfect my pitch was. Because honestly, when I focused on those things… That’s when it went flat.
So did I get to perform… no… worship somewhere that I felt totally comfortable? YES! And did the Lord teach me and surprise me in bigger ways than imaginable?? YES! He gave me confidence in my worship of Him, gave me some sweet sisters in Christ that I now know are here in T-ville to love and support me, AND He taught me about “My Season of Change”, the theme for the retreat which was far more applicable to my current stage of life than I could’ve ever hoped for.
My God is greater, and stronger, and higher than any other. And He is my source of strength… even to play the guitar in a crowded room 🙂