Sunday, February 14, 2010

Here Am I, Send Me: Part Two

Leaving for Waxahachie
I had left Houston around 9:30pm to head for Waxahachie to speak at the Women's Prayer Breakfast at the Cowboy Church of Ellis County the next morning. My GPS told me that I would arrive in Waxahachie around 12:30am. I was so excited, because everything was going perfectly. I knew that going to bed around 1:00am would be just fine for me to get a goodnight’s rest before I was to awake at 6am and prepare for the prayer breakfast. Just as I was getting excited about how smoothly my plan was going… it happened. Houston had shut down part of the main interstate for night construction, and traffic had stopped almost completely. I began to pray and ask God what I was to do. “Lord, do I turn around and stay with one of the siestas for the night and get up early in the morning to leave?” I felt the Lord whisper to my heart, “no this is what you’re suppose to do…keep going, don’t turn around.” I almost cried as I sat there and watch the “arrival time” on my GPS slowly get pushed further and further back… 12:30 am, 12:45am, 1:00am, 1:15am, 1:30am, 1:45am, 2:00am. I almost felt sure that I had maybe missed God’s will at this point, and should have chosen one or the other to have gone to..either the SMT Celebration in Houston or the Prayer Breakfast in Waxahachie.

I sat in Houston traffic for nearly two hours before I finally got a break and was able to travel. I had been on the phone with Siesta Janice, for most of the wait time…, which was great, because she was helping to keep me awake. Then as I got moving and gained mileage towards Waxahachie, I began to pray. It then occurred to me that the traffic jam was the enemy’s plan to break me down and keep me from doing what God had called me to do. It was confirmed that something was trying to stop me from getting to Waxahachie when, about an hour from my hotel, I came upon some really bad smoke that almost looked like fog. There had been a wreck on the other side of the interstate. The moment the smoke had cleared, I saw it. It looked as if there was a gigantic log lying in the middle of my lane (no other debris around… just this single log in my lane.) I had no time to swerve….and it sounded like the bottom part of my car was ripped off as my car bounced over top of it, (but continued driving, to see if I could notice the damage.)

Simultaneously, my phone began to ring, and the jolt from hitting the log threw my phone into the floorboard… I managed to grab it and it was, Kathleen, one of my many “mothers” (I have collected several over the past two years) who had been praying for me over this trip. She was calling to check to see if I had made it to Waxahachie safely, which was so ironic, since I was kind of freaking out from hitting the Log. I was so scared that I had done some damage that might cause my car to blow up or something, but I was too scared to pull over on the side of the dark stretch of highway to look for things that I had no clue about. I assured Kathleen that everything would probably be fine (although I had no clue) and she assured me that I had better call her if it wasn’t and that she would continue praying for me. I totally felt the prayers, because I continued driving without any problems (and without the car blowing up.) I finally made it to Waxahachie at 2 o’clock in the morning, and prayed over my car that nothing was punctured underneath and that all the oil and other car juices would still be intact when I awoke a few hours later.

Women’s Prayer Breakfast
I checked into my hotel and immediately crashed, looking at the clock and counting up the hours that I had before I had to wake up…three hours. I prayed that the Lord would miraculously give me a full nights rest within the three hours that I had to sleep….and then I drifted off.

The next sound that I heard was the rooster crowing on my alarm clock. It was 6am. Time to get up, meet with the Lord, and prepare for the Women’s Prayer Breakfast at 8am. God is so amazing, because I was literally not tired when I awoke. Okay, I don’t mean for that to sound all blissful and perfect… I mean, I was tired, but I had this excitement, then renewed surge of energy. I was so excited too to walk into the lobby and see piping hot coffee with biscuits and gravy as a complimentary breakfast. I thanked Jesus for every single bite, because biscuits and gravy is my absolute favorite breakfast…period. And the gravy was SOOO very creamy. Yum.

God had been amazing the entire morning. I had gotten ready by jamming out to praise music and spending time repeating scriptures to myself. I was totally at peace. It might have been the fact that I didn’t really have time to be nervous, but I was so at peace with the message I was to deliver. Then I remembered..... was my car okay??? I immediately went outside to look to make sure nothing had fallen off or leaked. PRAISE THE LORD, there was not a spot on the ground from any leakage or anything. I always pray a bubble of Jesus around my car before trips, and thankfully His bubble had really been there when I hit that log!

Once I arrived at the prayer breakfast, I met up with Liz Prater, who had been the one in charge of the event.

I was able to have everything set up and ready to go as the women walked in. It was such a joy going around and introducing myself to several of the women there and meeting them. I had gotten up to deliver my message, and God showed up in such big ways. He ignited so much in my heart while I was speaking; I knew that if the women weren’t getting anything from it… I sure was.

However, that wasn’t the case at all. After it was all said and done, I had several women come up to me to tell me what the Lord had spoken to their heart from the words that I said. I’m constantly praying, that whenever I do something publicly for Christ, I pray that He would bring just one person to me to give me confirmation that He was using me. God outdid my prayer this day. I had women, one after the other, sharing their stories with me and blessing His name. One woman, was so precious…I mention in my message that I needed a translation of the Bible to meet me on my level of understanding when I’m reading to comprehend…well, this sweet lady came up to me almost in tears, as if a relief had come off her shoulders, with the concept that she didn’t have to read from the version that she had always known, but never understood. She asked me what kind of translation I used so she could go and buy it. Well, God didn’t stop there, my friend Amy, had already decided to bless me with one of the bibles that the church orders in bulk (which was the God’s Word translation-an easier to understand version) and she had brought down an extra one. Wouldn’t you know it? The Lord had already chosen that bible to go to that sweet woman. I can almost guess that she immediately went home to open it up and explore the bible in a way that she could understand. Bless God!

It is so incredibly amazing how God will break down walls for people. I have met many people who use to think that you could only “walk” with the Lord a certain way, could only read from a certain translation of the Bible, and could only sing certain songs. How cool is it though, that God can enter in… in all His glory….and reveal that He is everywhere…we can commune with Him in all kind of ways, and He meets us just where we are. Wow, We have such a wonderful Father! Just gets me all kinds of excited!

After the breakfast was over, it was time to hang out and fellowship with four of my dearest friends that I had met at a women’s conference the previous year. Andrea, Teena, Jessica, and Amy. Well, I had met Andrea, Teena, and Amy at the conference… and had gotten to know Jessica through Facebook. We were all so excited to be able to hang out and had planned to have a “girl’s day out” for the rest of the day.

We went shopping and browsing around all over the place, laughing and cutting up and just having such a good time by simply being together. While we were browsing around at Kirklands, Jessica decided to bless me with a travel journal. An empty-paged brown book with a cross on the front…such a beautiful book. Jessica made me promise that I was to use it to allow people that blessed me to sign it. That book has been such a blessing, as I had everyone that I encountered sign it on that trip, and God has blessed me so much through the things that they have written. I am so blessed to love and know these wonderful people who allowed me into their lives over the two-week span.

Later that night, God showed up in such a powerful way as Jessica, Teena, and I sat down and poured our hearts out to each other on behalf of what the Lord had done in our lives. In those moments, I was able to witness how God’s healing transformation can come in the simplest form…sharing and listening. It doesn’t take an altar call or splash of anointing oil to receive healing from the Lord. Sometimes it just takes a couple of friends with open ears and open hearts, ready to receive what the Lord has to offer. Boy, did we ever drink from the healing cup that night…. How precious is the Father to pour out His love for us through His Son. How precious…

His love-fest among these precious women and I didn’t end there, the next morning I went to breakfast with Andrea.

She and I have become so close through e-mails this past year and God has touched both of our hearts in such special ways. It was Andrea that had been praying over the prayer breakfast fervently a few weeks prior, and we had spoken about this trip many, many times. I was so thrilled when she invited me to breakfast to hang out one-on-one. It was one of the moments that I had prayed over, because before the trip I had prayed that the Lord would use me in every situation from the large groups that I would speak in front of, to the small groups of fellowship, and all the way down to the one-on-one times….which, at times, can be the most monumental in the way God moves. God opened both of our hearts and allowed me to peer inside this woman’s walk and love her more. She has such a radiant love for God and it is so inspiring.

After breakfast we went to church, and it was the first time I had ever been to a Cowboy Church. I was thoroughly blessed by the simplicity that God has wrapped among the believers there. Such a pure way of doing things and allows you to feel right at home.

I enjoyed spending the rest of the day with my friends in Waxahachie …complete with authentic Louisiana gumbo (courtesy of Jessica, ha!) It may have only been two days, but it’s memories that will last a lifetime.

But that is not it. This blog is still in the beginning stories of my wonderful road trip, after Waxahachie, I ventured to Dallas to spend time with one of my dear friends Ms. Janice, then another speaking engagement in Red Oak, OK, then had another lovely visit with a dear friend and her family in Antlers, a breakfast in Atoka, went back to Dallas for a surprise blessing, and then over to Shreveport to finish the two weeks before I headed back to GA.

There is so much to write about (and not enough time to proofread, I apologize!)… and I know I am not able to tell it all in a way that shows it’s true worthiness.

To be continued soon, in Here Am I, Send me: Part Three…

Here Am I, Send Me: Part One

Have you ever just sat in the quiet, and all of a sudden you feel this immense joy take over your entire thought process and you just take the most wonderful deep breath because you feel extremely blessed. That’s me. I feel so incredibly blessed. I love the journeys of life. I love where the Lord longs to take us if we just listen and have the courage to go with it. This past month the Lord has taken me to so many places. He has taken me to so many wonderful people and has touched my heart in so many ways, because He used me to touch their’s. It’s an incredible feeling to know that the Lord chooses you for specific things.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has chosen me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” Luke 4:18-19

This is one of the 24 verses of scripture that I memorized last year as apart of Beth Moore’s blog community. All of us, Siestas, joined together to commit ourselves to memorizing two verses of God’s Word a month. Since I came to Christ a little over two years ago, it was the first time that I had actually made myself memorize scripture, and the great thing is… I had over 2,000 women to keep me accountable. A few months into the formation of our scripture memory team, Beth announced that we would have a celebration for staying glued to God’s Word at the beginning of 2010. I knew that I wanted to go to this SMT celebration, because last year was absolutely amazing for me. God did so many wonderful things in my life with all my internships, the Christian families that I lived with, the amazing people I met, and the incredible experiences that I had. I had walked through all of last year clinging to the Words that I had embedded in my heart, so I knew that there would be a great yearning for celebration with all the wonderful women I became connected with. We all had different years and different verses to represent our situations, so I prayed and prayed about joining them for a time of fellowshipping in a cloud of scripture.

Planning the Trip

Eventually registration time had been opened up, and I didn’t see any way possible for me to drive all the way out to Houston from Georgia by myself. I didn’t have enough money to my name to even pay for half of the gas that a trip like that would require. Then God did something really cool that led me to believe that the trip needed to be made. However, I hated to drive all that way for just one weekend, so I began to pray more about the trip. Then it occurred to me that I could e-mail all my friends out that way to let them know that I was planning a trip. Well, one thing led to another and God opened up speaking opportunities for me to boast in His glory! Totally amazing.

So this one-weekend trip grew into a two-week event of fellowship with many different people. I had planned to go to Houston and celebrate with Siestas for two days and then travel and speak. Well, one of the speaking engagements fell on the Saturday that I had planned to be in Houston. This opportunity for this church had been prayed about for over a year by one of the ladies there and myself. So it was a big lesson that God was teaching me. The entire purpose of the trip in the first place was to go to the SMT Celebration and everything else was just an addition to the plan, but when one of the additions for God’s glory affected my original plan, I had to make a decision. Do I turn down an opportunity to speak and bring glory to the Lord for an opportunity to hang out and fellowship with friends? Or do I die to my own wishes and run after His?

Hmmm….hold that thought.

Here is a cool thing? Before my trip I attended the Passion Conference in Atlanta, and Beth Moore happened to be one of the speakers. I remember Beth talking about getting on with what God has called us to do. She told us that it may be uncomfortable or out of the ordinary, but He will call us to it and fully equip us for it.

After reflecting back over those thoughts, I knew that I needed to give up my plans and follow through with the Lords.

Then came the ordeal, of whether or not it was worth it to even go to Houston. However I knew that it was because everything fell into place perfectly. I didn’t have a place to stay, but found out that my great aunt and uncle lived just outside of Houston. God opened many doors, and I was able to go and spend time with them…getting to know family that I had never met before. I was able to leave Georgia on Tuesday, January 19th and stay in Houston until the scripture memory party on Friday. It was absolutely wonderful. The Lord used those moments in a way that I could connect with my distant family and get to know and love them for who they are. I especially enjoyed connecting with my 2nd Cousin, Cheryl. It’s amazing to find out how much in common you have with someone….instant connection. I felt as if Cheryl and I were able to share anything with each other, to give each other uplifting encouragement. I’m so happy that our paths were able to be crossed…God is so great.

SMT Celebration
Friday afternoon came around and it was time to start- what I like to call- the joining together of several friendships. I was extremely excited to come face-to-face with these women that I had prayed for over the past year and vice-versa. There is just something special about when women who love Jesus come together. I’m convinced it’s something like that old cartoon of Captain Planet when all the heroes put their rings together of earth, wind, fire, etc., and they become one and join Captain Planet. Wow, now I’m convinced there is a really good message that can be formed through the analogy of that cartoon. However, before my A-D-D gets me sidetracked, let me pick back up with Friday afternoon.

I first met up with Yolanda and Beth H at the Holiday Inn Express in Houston. I’m such a nerd because when I knocked on their hotel room door, I all of a sudden got really really excited, so when Yolanda opened the door, I pretty much tackled her with the biggest hug and cheek kiss! It was so great meeting Yolanda, especially, because I feel like she has mentored in the Lord through her wonderful blog posts, e-mails, phone calls, texts, and FB posts. As exciting as life has been for me over the past year, there have been many weary times and Yolanda would always write something profound to bless my heart. Then I met Beth, Yolanda’s roommate for the event and it was like we had all known each other for years. Eager to eat something, we all hopped into my car to head over to Red Robin. Poor Beth had to slide into my backseat that was almost full to the brim with clothes, blankets, and other junk that was “necessary” for my road trip. After all, this was only the beginning.

While at Red Robin we met up with Siesta Janice (who is my age) and her Mom, Susan. Janice came from South Carolina and brought her Mama along for the trip in honor of her birthday. I had previously met Janice at the Passion conference in January, and we just had an instant connection. Of course though, we’re Siestas! We had such a fun time chatting and catching up over lunch.

After we ate we decided to head over to the Omni Hotel (where most of the Siestas were staying.) When we arrived , there was a SEA of pink boas wrapped around women of all shapes and sizes. It was such a beautiful sight, because the joy in the boas came with knowing that it was wrapped around the neck of a woman who dearly loves Jesus…. AND THAT JUST GAVE ME THE BIGGEST SURGE OF ENERGY! I immediately started walking up to women and introducing myself. It was so awesome. Then I ran into Ms. Lichelle from Austin who had made me this pink poster that read, “Miranda Brown’s Fan Club.”

I had about choked earlier when she texted me a picture of it. I couldn’t believe that she would take the time to make a sign for me that just showered me with love and encouragement. (Ms. Lichelle, you truly made my heart swell with joy.) Along with Ms. Lichelle, we saw Melana-from Wyoming, Tiffany-from Dallas, and Adrienne-from Tennessee, standing in the lobby. What a reunion we had there!!! Words can not express how much I LOVE these women. Then out-of-the blue I noticed that Amanda Jones was standing right there. Amanda is Beth Moore’s daughter, and she is the one who started the LPM Blog. The one who created the community of Siestaville. I had to introduce myself, and she already remembered who I was from my blog posts. I felt so special to be apart of our little community of fellowship.

After the reunion in the lobby, we went up to Janice’s room so I could get ready, and in the midst of jazzing up… we all decided to recite our verses. I was SOOO excited, because this is what the entire event was about… and I was so sad because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pair off and recite scripture since Friday night was to be my only night. So we all took turns reciting scripture and it was amazing how God filled up that little hotel room in Houston, TX.

I am trying to not be overly detailed oriented, especially considering that I’m still writing about the first stop of my road trip… I apologize y’all, I am incredibly long-winded… and I’ve probably made about a million grammatical errors so far. Oh well, it’s either proofread or finish the blog…so I’m choosing to finish and just pretend that it will error-free when it is all said and done.

When the SMT Celebration began, it was a complete movement for God. Over 500 women craving a touch from God united in one room full of fellowship. I met so many Siestas that I had longed to meet that evening including: Ms. Patty, Kari Ann, Georgia, Ms. Jan, Ms. Karen, Ms. Nesha, Ms. Valerie, and several more that I hate to leave out… but they were all so wonderful and to join together in fellowship, worship, and a study from Psalm 119… I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Then it was time to leave, and I was to hop back in my car and drive to Waxahachie for my speaking engagement the next morning. The Lord completely blessed me before I left, when I had the chance to briefly talk with our Siesta Mama, Beth Moore, and meet her. Then it was just icing on the cake when this anointed woman of God- who has mentored me so much in my Christian walk- pulled me close, wrapped her arms around me, and began to pray over me.

I left that evening with such a peace about walking in the will of the Lord, and I knew that I was leaving to go where He wanted me to be next…Waxahachie, TX,, where 11 hours later I would be given the opportunity to serve the women at a prayer breakfast and bring GLORY to the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

To be continued in "Here Am I, Send Me: Part Two"