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She Speaks 2014

The She Speaks conference this past weekend was the first writing conference I have ever been too. I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but I thought it was amazing. I received huge amounts of excellent writing tools and sound teaching. But that’s not why I thought it was amazing.

I thought it was amazing because God’s Spirit and Presence was overwhelming at that conference. I could see and feel how much the staff at Proverbs 31 Ministries must have prayed for the people that attended (around 800 women). They invited God to attend that conference, and wow did He show up! I was reminded of the life changing power of prayer. The enemy has no power or hold on us when we are surrounded by prayer. Thank you to those who prayed for me while I was gone. I could feel your prayers so strongly.

I had prayed that God would give me direction about the “next steps” for my writing journey. And He DID do that, because He is faithful. But it wasn’t anything like I thought (I should know that about God by now-it’s never what I think).

One of the speakers at the conference, Christine Caine, completely blew me away as she was talking the first evening. Christine is an international speaker and evangelist from Australia, and founder of TheA21Campaign, and organization created to fight against sex trafficking of young girls.

She showed us an old roll of film that we used to use in our cameras. Do you remember? You know, the ones in the little film containers we would take to Walgreens and seal in the big envelopes. Then we would have to wait for a week to see our pictures, wondering if any of them actually turned out well (if we could even remember what pictures we had taken). She talked about the old “dark rooms” where they used to develop all the pictures and you had to be so careful not to expose the film to the light from outside too early, or it would ruin the film.

Christine said many of us are running ahead of God with our calling. We forget to go into the “dark room” with God, and let Him do heart “surgery” first. We are more like Instagram; we want to click our picture (or our calling), and upload it immediately for the whole world to see. She said, “We come to Christ to die to self, not build our careers. You need God to get the you out of you and more of Him into you in the dark room before you will ever be effective for His Kingdom. Let God invade those deep places in your soul. Can what is in you sustain you, or do you need Jesus to do some heart work? Get knowledge, get wisdom, and get understanding in the dark room with Jesus. Let Him test you in the dark room and your test will become your testimony. Your only goal in your calling should be to make the name of Jesus famous. Stop chasing your dream. Wait for God to show you His dream.”

The room was completely silent. God’s Spirit was moving all over the room. I felt God whisper to my heart, “Tammy, come into the dark room with me first. Wait for me. Don’t run ahead.” I felt how much God loved me at that moment. I was surrounded by peace.

God lit a fire in my heart, a longing to know Him and love Him more deeply than I ever have before. I asked God to forgive me for my self-centeredness. It’s not about me and it never has been. It’s always been about Him.

My next question for God was, “What does the dark room look like?” I wasn’t sure what it meant. I was both an excited and afraid of His answer.

I took a breakout session about learning how to study God’s Word. The teacher (Wendy Pope with Proverbs 31 Ministries) said something at the beginning that stuck with me. She said, “I love God’s Word so much that if it were possible, I would eat it.” I thought that sounded kind of funny, but it got my attention. I want to love God’s Word that much. I have done many Beth Moore Bible studies that have taught me to love God’s Word. But I want to love it even more. I want to know it so well that it pours out of me. I want to take the truths of Scripture and help others (and myself) apply it to our every day struggles and pain. God’s Word transforms us. Nothing I could ever say to anyone by itself will heal wounds, but God’s Word heals, comforts and restores.

Love God’s Word. Search the Scriptures. Heal your heart.

And there was my answer.

Again, God whispered to my heart, “I want you to bring My Word into the dark room. Search the Scriptures, and I will transform your heart. I will prepare You for what’s ahead.” Of course, God didn’t tell me what’s ahead. He rarely does. But I trust Him and I’m so excited. I am also a bit nervous. Heart transformation is painful, and rarely easy. It will be hard, but I’m ready.

The last night of the conference Lysa TerKerust, best-selling author and speaker, spoke. God’s Spirit was pressing on her so strongly, everyone in the room could feel it. She said with tears, “The only thing we should be focusing on is making the name of Jesus known throughout the world.”

I had the privilege of meeting Lysa at the conference. She is beautiful on the inside and out. Her love and heart for Jesus pours out of her and overflows onto others.

Lysa TerKeurst and me

The She Speaks staff also matched me with two amazing women that were my prayer partners both before and during the conference. Brittany Jones and Darcy Cottone are wonderful women of faith and I love them dearly. 

God was so faithful this weekend. I know my next steps. They’re not what I thought they would be, and I’m so thankful they aren’t. So here are my "next steps:"

  1. Go to the “dark room” with God and let Him do “heart” surgery.
  2. Study the Scriptures.
  3. Pray without ceasing.
  4. Stop striving.
  5. Make the name of Jesus famous.

Of course, the enemy does not want me to accomplish any of these goals, and he started attacking me right away after the conference. My flight was delayed due to storms in Detroit, so I had to spend the night on the floor in the airport. It took me an extra 24 (yes 24!) hours to get home. My luggage wasn’t with me either when I finally did get to Ft. Wayne. I was exhausted and weary again before I ever got home to my family, which never helps to transition back to “reality.” It may have been a coincidence, but I don’t think so. Brittany and Darcy also both felt attacked as soon as they arrived home. Satan hates women with a voice (or any person for that matter).

A couple of Scriptures come to mind as I think about this:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. - Ephesians 6:12

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. - 1 Peter 5:8-9

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. - 1 John 4:4

Our God is greater…every time.

We are on the team that wins!

God, thank you for faithful women who love You, and who are leading conferences like She Speaks. I am so grateful I was able to attend. Imprint the truths I learned on my heart and my mind. Give me, and all of us, courage to go to the dark room with You when you call us to do so. You are safe and You are only good. I trust you, Lord. Amen.

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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