Sunday, August 10, 2008

Do you see this woman?

I honestly don't even know where to begin, as I share about the conference. It was one of those times that you know a lot is going on inside and you just can't figure out what it all means yet. I know God was doing something deep in me, and I don't fully know what yet, but I believe it will be evident in time, as the fruit of my time comes out in my life.

There was so much intense beauty in all that was shared over the course of a few days. One thing that struck me as I have come back and reflected is the unity that was so available there. I can't explain fully what I mean. But it was a time where so many folks, women mostly, just let themselves be loved and ministered to by the Holy Spirit. There were a lot of tears shed and much healing was taking place. I just believe God was unifying his body in a corporate way, in a healing way, to strengthen those who attended to take it back with them to their own churches, families, communities.

I just felt that this conference allowed me to grieve and process over the hurt and angst that came along with leaving my former church a year ago. The Lord allowed me to grieve and to process on a deeper level, over broken relationships, ones that no longer exist simple because I left a church. By letting myself grieve, I was opened up in a way for more healing more restoration and tender love from the Father. He showed me His love afresh and I realize, the more I let myself be loved by Him, the more I carry love for others that just comes unexplainably. I think the hard thing is, over time, I can't let the people go, as much as I wish I could, it would be so much easier. But I know that my life is not just about me, it's about my place in His Body. It also opened my heart in on a deeper level to love and have compassion for those who are longing for more of their God and need greater levels of freedom in Christ. I think we just get so hung up on right doctrines and right ways of living that we miss out on being real and totally raw and weak even! The truth is the Body of Christ is hurting! The Body of Christ needs loved up on!!!! The Body of Christ needs to chuck away all it's differences and all of the things dividing one from and another and unite in the love of God! I mean why on earth do we let hurts and divisions linger? That is missing the point of all that we have been given in Christ. I just feel like a new season is rising up, where we just need to stand together! Stand together despite all of our hurts, or fears or misgivings!

Anyway, that is not what I sat down to write about, but I can't ignore the fact that unity in Him hasn't been heavy on my heart. We all just need Him as much as the next person. We all need to stand up together and declare the wonderful works and goodness of our amazing God and Father who has caused us all to be born again to a LIVING hope in Christ Jesus!!!
Okay again, I can't help myself. Back to content.....

Thursday night, Amy and I arrived at the church a bit early for the conference. It was pouring down rain! After we had gone into the building, several people were staring out the window and someone said, "Did you see the rainbow?" I quickly ran outside to see a gorgeous full rainbow, with another faint one up above it. This gave me such joy and reminded me that the last time I had come to Life Center for a conference I had seen a rainbow the night before. Interestingly, I was wearing linen overalls covered with ladies holding umbrellas. Don't ask me why, but it seemed prophetic that I was wearing them. Several ladies and I discussed this, and as I continue on with my story it may become more clear. So moving on, we headed up to get our seats, which were all taken so we sat in the front on the floor. Worship was wonderful, led by Julie Meyer, a very prophetically gifted worship leader. Julie had a wonderful way of just getting worship to flow so that you were just quickly ushered in to the presence of the Lord. It was quite transcendant! After worship, Patricia King gave some testimonies regarding giving and sowing into the Kingdom. Then there was a beautiful prophetic act done by some ladies. They all carried red umbrellas and did a dance to a beautiful song about seasons of rain. Anyway, at the end of their song they all walked over to Michal Ann Goll, who is currently stricken with cancer and in a lot of pain and covered her with their umbrellas. (I guess you just had to be there to see the beauty in this act.) Then they all went up front and turned the umbrellas upside down as containers for people to bring an offering.

Worship continued a bit, and then Jim Goll came up to share. I had not yet heard much about Jim Goll, all I knew of him was that he wrote books and that there were two of his books I wanted to read. I was quite blessed by him that night, I will do my best to share of it here. Jim Goll was unpredictable, he was tender, crazy, really real and open, fierce and wild and passionate and just loveable!! As the focus of the conference was women, women on the frontlines, warriors of compassion, Jim spent a bit of time talking about his dear wife. I imagine she may normally have spoken at a conference like this but due to her health, she could not. Regardless, Jim did an excellent job and I believe it was crucial that a man shared at a conference like this. ( I will explain why in a bit). Jim shared that when he found his wife, he got himself a sweet deal. She was beautiful, had a 24 inch waistline, could sing like an angel, play the piano and cook for him. He said he had it made in the shade. Until one day, she started to speak up. Apparently, Jim had treated her more like a trophy and a maid than the woman she truly was. He didn't understand her true value as a woman. He shared about a time when the Lord spoke to him. He, being a man in ministry, was exposed to many "important" men of God. He had had the privilege of being sharpened by them and God reminded him of these men. Jim of course thought with pride, yup all these great men have influenced me so well. Then the Lord told him to look over at his wife asleep next to him. So he did. The Lord told him, "She has been more of a man to you than all these men combined!" Whoa! That was a turning point for him and he began to see his wife with different eyes from then on. He proceeded to talk about how for so long men in the church (meaning corporately) have not seen woman as they should. So much confusion has been in the church over whether or not women should be allowed in ministry or not. He then read a list of woman's names out of the Bible and their roles in the church. This was powerful!! This led to him apologizing to the women and asking for forgiveness for the men for how they have not seen the women as they should. Oh you could hear a pin drop! He spent at least 30 minutes walking around to numerous ladies and looking them in the eye, saying will you forgive us? He said, if he had time he'd would go to each and every woman there and ask for coporate forgiveness. There was not a dry eye in the building. What an intensely beautiful moment! I just had so much respect for this man. I wish so many folks I knew could have been there, it truly was a powerful time!! (By the way as soon as these messages and dvd's are available online, I will be sure to link to them, in case anyone may be interested in checking them out!)
He then gave a message on the woman in Luke 7. This too was a powerful message. This is the woman who came and soaked Jesus feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair and poured out expensive perfume all over him. The Pharisees had a little problem with this, they knew who this woman was. She was a sinner, a harlot. (I wonder how they knew?) And they seemed to disdain this beautiful act of worship. The text says in Luke 7:39; "Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." In verse 44, Jesus turns toward the woman, while still speaking to Simon, "Do you see this woman?" Jim really stressed how Jesus turned away from the man he was speaking to and looked at the woman. "Do you see this woman?' He didn't go on to describe her lavish act of worship, as we have all heard that point made time and time again. No, he really wanted to stress the "Do you see this woman?" He wanted to bring out the value of the woman, who she was was more important than what she did. And I suppose I will stop here and pick it up in another post......................................

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