Way back in the beginning when God was creating the world, He paused at the end of the day and saw that it was good. He approved completely of the work he had done on the earth. Then we see something curious in Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone….. Something was ‘Not Good” and God set about immediately to fix it. He created woman. Eve was the solution for mankind’s first problem. And I believe with all my heart that God’s design for woman hasn’t ever changed. We are carriers of life, we are nurturers, and we are keepers of relationship. We are created to bring the answer. Unfortunately, I’ve learned from my own experience that we can’t very well reach out to offer a solution when our hands are bound. We desperately need to be free. For me, that is what the Shine conference is all about: God bringing freedom to His girls!
A few years ago our Shine conference was the catalyst for change in me. I was bound in shame, fear and pain. I had been hurting for so long and had learned quite well how to stuff those feelings inside. Denial was a lovely salve, until I began to reach capacity and all the junk I’d kept inside started coming out sideways. I was angry for all the ‘whys” of my life. I was lonely and sad and the last thing on earth I felt was shine-y. I did not want to go to the conference that year; in fact I was working on the excuses I might use with my friends…. “I don’t have anything to wear, and I’m so busy at work….” But in the midst of planning my avoidance I found this scripture, Psalm 18:28 reads You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With that, God melted my jaded heart. Yes, my light had been doused by the pain of my past but it wasn’t up to ME to make it shine again. God said HE would do it! I went to the conference with a heart to receive all God had for me. I really had no idea what that would mean, but looking back it has been one of the landmarks of my journey. I came away with two vital things: Courage to face the truth about my life and Hope to believe that I could be free!
When I compare who I am today with the woman I was several years ago, I see more wrinkles, more mid-life breakouts and a lot more gray hair. But on occasion, it seems like God changes my perspective and what I see amazes me; because I see beauty for all my mess, I see joy for what I felt was lost and I see a gorgeous garment of praise for the heaviness of heart that weighed me down (Isaiah 61:3). And I’m so thankful for the difference Jesus has made! It thrills me to tell you that I am more alive than ever and this is the reason: I know that if God did this for me - He will do it for you!
God wants you free. Galatians 5:1 says It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. God wants his girls to be free so we can reach out to a younger generation, so we can extend a helping hand to hurting humanity and so we can be the solution He created us to be. But I think God really just wants us to be free….so that… we are free!
Free to Hear the cry, See the need, Feel the pain and RESPOND with love!