I was part of something called the PPO this year. It stands for Perpetual Prayer Offering and each person (nearly 200 of us) commited to pray for the Beth Moore Conference and the women in our area going to it for one hour a week at the same time for 40 weeks. My hour was 2-3am on Wednesday mornings. We were each given shells to represent our hours and we gathered together the morning before the conference, at the Arena, to place them (over 7,000) in a glass jar and pray over every seat in the building. As I was praying for the women I stopped an prayed for myself. I specifically asked/begged that I "could just hear You (God) say my name and tell me Amy, this is what I want you to do". As prayers like that usually go I moved on and only remembered later... and you won't believe why.
I spent the next four days in Women's Ministry training seminars and then at the conference. During the training I began to realize that I knew what I was supposed to be doing... have known for a long time but having been hurt so many times I was scared to step up and try again. I talked to my pastor's wife minutes before the conference started and told her that I knew what my calling was and that I was willing... but scared. I could never have planned what happend next. Less than an hour into the conference Beth started talking about how everyone who has accepted Christ has been called with a calling. Here's where it gets weird... she stepped up to the edge of the stage and spoke right at the section I was sitting in and said "When you know what your calling is it is like God is saying AMY (she yelled that part) do what I am asking and have equiped you to do". In that moment I remembered my prayer and was blown away. The next day she only repeated three things from the day before... you guessed it, she stepped up to the edge and looked up at the section I was sitting in again (this time on the opposite side of the stadium) and said it again... all of it.
Ok, I get it (for some sweet women a 2X4 is a last resort but with me He just starts there and moves onto structural beams). I have accepted a position at church that although I am scared out of my mind to do... I know it is my calling. I have been carrying a backpack of ashes for a long time now. So much pain, heartache and hurt and I would love to see God turn it into something beautiful. Only He can do that and even then only if I will give it to Him. My heart is to see women connect. We usually do that best in our points of weakness and yet those are the very places we are rarely willing to share. I believe that everything I have been through, the good the bad and the ugly, will not be wasted. He doesn't waste our pain. The backback is off and I will try not to try and pick it back up.... now let's see what He does!
Thank you to all the amazing women in my life who have been praying for me and encouraging me through these last very difficult years. Our pastor said in his sermon this weekend that "God is able to use us many times in the very areas that we have been hurt the most". Many of you have been gently whispering that to me for a long time now and I love you for it.