Last week I attended an exciting planning meeting for WHOLE Women's Conference coming up at the end of Aug. I have the humbling privilege of leading break-out sessions where I get to share with as many women who will listen, the journey back to wholeness after the life-shattering pain of sexual abuse.
The conference is offering 17 breakout topics, each being led by 17 incredible women with a heart for God and for his children. Women who will boldly share truth, hope, and encouragement, drawing on their own very real, very personal stories.
But first... We must plan - with God's leading, of course.
Our first order of business is naming our breakout session and providing a few sentences to describe it. Now... I'm a woman who likes to talk. And I like complete details, not snippets of information. I generally fall on the more is more side when it comes to this sort of thing. Yet, I only get a few sentences to describe my break-out session.
And then there's the break-out session itself. Forty-five minutes. As my friend Mary put it, "I can't say hello in 45 minutes!" So... To narrow it down, I keep asking, "What am I meant to say at this point in my life, to this audience?"
There's also a 10 second blurb in which I am to answer the question, "What does it mean to be WHOLE?" I can gush over that for an hour, easily.
These are the things that wake me from a dead sleep in the middle of the night. Things I think about throughout the day, every day, and even while I sleep, yet I can't quite sum any of them up in complete thoughts.
Good thing I have a month and a half. And GREAT thing that I don't have to rely on me to come up with what to say... I rest in the gentle assurance that God has a plan and can overcome every shortcoming I have.
In the mean time, I think. And pray. And blog a little.
Hmmm... What does it mean to be WHOLE?
Knowing who and whose I am. Knowing that I am not defined by the sins I've committed or the sins committed against me, or what I think of myself or what others think of me, or by the things I have or the things I don't have ... but rather I am defined by what GOD says about me. "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14. "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
Finally knowing what the ever-elusive parent / child relationship looks and feels like. "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5 "He rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you - under them you're perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm." Psalm 91:2-4 (Msg).
Living a life free from shame and secrecy, knowing first-hand the strength of the human spirit. "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
Peace. That feeling in your heart when forgiveness is real and the anger, fear and bitterness are noticeably diminished. "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one anther, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:31:32 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Living out the impossible - enjoying the sweet restoration of relationships. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18 "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them." 1 John 2:9-11
Having had a sad life of despair completely exchanged for one filled with hope and joy. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
God is good...all the time. Grateful to wake up today, free from the bondage of darkness and brokenness.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10