Let me just say I did NOT try to make all of these "Confidence" posts start with a "C," but God made it easy for me to remember and made it that way. ;) And I'm not making this up, but the Conference was in CHARLOTTE. :) Isn't that funny?
I've attended the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Speakers and Writers Conference before, but this one was unique. I'll admit that it usually requires a little (a lot) of beefing up my confidence in the Lord, because I take advantage of the chance to be evaluated in my teaching ministry and to present writing to publishing representatives. Translation? Truth can be uncomfortable, but I need it to grow. Can you relate? And there are hundreds of godly, gifted women swarming around the conference in cute shoes and sparkles (I just don't look right in sparkles). It's a weekend I feel like I need to know where my confidence comes from ... thus the month of "God lessons" tailor made for me, leading up to the final weekend of Conference.
Yesterday I shared how Paul set the example in looking at his weaknesses & difficulties as reasons to rejoice, to show off God's power. I had to hang on to this truth when I got back my speaking evaluations and read the one consistent comment: voice needs to be stronger. If you read yesterday's "Confidence in Cedarville" you know why that's sharp. I admit I did some, "Lord???" in response, mixed with a little lip quiver. Thorns are sharp. Otherwise they wouldn't be thorns. But God reminded me how joy comes from HIM in the ways HE deems best, with or without a strong voice. You would just think I have a soft voice; I know it's my thorn. But I enjoyed this Conference more than either of my first 2. Why? God's girls. He gave me such sweet, sweet "Body time." Not "body" time, but "Body" time.
I enjoyed a meal with my friend Cindy who has become so dear to me "online." Joy! I re-met a friend (ok - also sister of an old boyfriend!) from 25 years ago, and we had SUCH a great time together. Joy! ... I had time to chat with a ministry friend from P31 who has allowed our lives to be tied together over the internet... Joy! I had a "divine appointment" with a lady God seated me beside, and He continued to put us together; she prayed such a sweet prayer over me. Joy! ... And after months of praying and writing and visioning long distance, I was able to be "with" (in person) the godly and gifted gals of the Scripture Dig Team I am part of (in pajamas ... without cute shoes). Joy! ... Does being included with the ladies of the Dig Team make me feel confident? No ... I'd like to think it's a little bit of Paul starting to come out ... being counted among them is quite humbling. (Top: Moi, Stephanie, Kristi. Seated: Sandra, Kathy, Teri Lynne)
It's funny how I often think I need something in order to have my confidence full and strong, but the Lord wants me to let Him be the Lord of my thorns. HE wants to give me HIS reasons to experience Joy! When I let Christ's power rest on me, I can enjoy the kind of CONFIDENCE He means for me to know. The fellowship and encouragement and challenge of being with HIS people (especially His girls) brings a great joy and peace that bears Real Confidence.
2 Cor. 12:8-10 "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
In other words, God says, "Julie, My grace is enough for you, because My power is completed when you are weak, by your thorn. So you can be confident in your weakness, glad that Christ's power will rest on you and be revealed through you. Your voice doesn't need to be heard; My power will be heard! Sweet Julie, when you are feeling weak, you can really feel CONFIDENT in Me."
The Conference was truly sweet, full of encouragement and growth and blessing. All from the Lord, and I am glad to boast in that! That brought me near to the end of July, but there was one more lesson for me at home. I will only show you the picture, because I know you won't forget the last lesson if I set aside my pride and show it to you ... tomorrow. :)
How is God using other gals in His Body to give you doses of joy and encouragement that leads to Confidence?