A circle is defined as a never-ending continuum. Onlookers of a circle find it difficult to mark its end or beginning. As we live this thing called life if we are not careful, we will think the events of life, the people we meet, and the experiences we have are by coincidence. But as a believer of God, I know that He has a divine way of connecting every dot and ensuring every occurrence is working together for my good.
This past weekend I was honored to be a guest speaker at St. Rest Baptist Church for their annual women’s conference. This wasn’t my first time sharing at these types of events. I’ve facilitated workshops and given keynote addresses before. But in addition to being a workshop facilitator, I was asked to share a message during their Sunday morning service as well, now that was a first. This might not seem like a big deal, but allow me to paint the picture to what a huge honor this was. The church is a historic church in the community with hundreds of members. The church’s founder was such a great leader that the street the church sits on was renamed after him. I mean the greatest preachers have stood in that sanctuary to give life-changing sermons for over 60 years. As a matter of fact, the last time I was at St. Rest was for the wedding of the current pastor and 1st lady. The ultimate level of nostalgia set in by being reminded that the church’s location was around the block from my home church. The place where both my husband and I rededicated our lives to Jesus, he was ordained and my faith grew leaps and bounds. It was there that he proposed to me on New Year’s Eve in front of the entire congregation. And although I wasn’t speaking at my home church, Pearly Grove, I felt like I was because all of the familiar faces that were present who knew me before I was a wife, a mother, and a speaker. They knew me when I hardly could pray when I was scared to lift my hands in worship, unsure of my gifts, and terrified to lead a ministry. But I sat back for a moment and thought about how God had all of this planned out before I ever stepped foot into Fresno during the summer of 2001. It was His divine plan to show people what happens when someone says yes to God’s plan. I have a feeling God was looking down from heaven smirking saying, “Yep…I’m getting the glory out of this one!” It’s one thing to tell someone about your story, but for people to know for themselves where you started and now see you front and center…glory to God! I’ll be honest there were a few former haters (or maybe still haters present), but God’s word does say that He will prepare a table for you in front of your enemies.
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This was one of the few times I didn’t have my husband with me, so I felt a sense of standing on my own two feet. But in attendance was our spiritual father who later shared with me how he was in tears seeing me flow in my anointing, bringing the word, and my capacity to expound upon God’s word. He assured me greater is coming. I have to be real and say the weeks leading up to the women’s conference were nerve wrecking. I had no clue as to what I should speak about, I had to find time to study, prepare, find a babysitter, and someone to travel with me. I had to battle the enemy’s lies and my own insecurities to believe that I was prepared and well-suited for the assignment at hand. The more I rehearsed God’s word about who I am in Him and the depth of His love for me, fear was driven out and I was able to stand before the congregation to deliver my message, “When Gifts Collide”. Hearing how much the message blessed folks humbled me to the core. That is surely an experience that will go into my memory bank forever. To top it off some accepted Christ, joined the local church, and I was able to sell many of my products. It wasn’t me of course, it was all God, but being used of Him is such a great joy.
As I packed up my daughter, books, and products to drive away on the dusty roads of West Fresno back home I felt the loop closing, a chapter ending while a new one simultaneously unfolding. Flashbacks began to play in my mind of the time I was the church secretary at Pearly Grove reserving rooms for our guest speakers, making welcome baskets, running copies of their handouts, and ensuring our guests felt our heartbeat of hospitality. But this time it was my turn to be the guest of honor.
This weekend showed me that God’s word is so true in two areas.
- When you are faithful over few God will elevate you.
- You must study to show yourself approved. I didn’t know it, but for the last 12 years, I’ve been studying. I didn’t know what I was studying for, didn’t even know I was taking a test being prepared for something greater. But I have a sense that God is pleased.
I’m going to hang my hat on God’s promise that says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
I love you Lord and I thank you for my beginning, middle, and end of this wonderful circle called my life.