This past week, I attended a conference in my related field of work. Now, before your mind dulls with thoughts of boring guest lectures and uncomfortable minglers where you’re forced to make small talk with people you “don’t like,” take a quick glimpse into the reality of Engage! Wedding Business Summits….
The reason I show this to you, is to give context to what I’m about to share. You see, Engage! is the pinnacle of luxury business conferences- a highly coveted and desirable bucket list endeavor for many wedding professionals, myself included.
I went fully expecting God to reveal himself but truth be told I was also nervous. If there were any experience that would taunt me with my past, my old desires and make me question everything
I think I want or accept/ like about myself, this would be it. Why? Try mentally putting yourself in a room with your biggest heros, mentors and competition… the people you admire most, aspire to be like and the one’s you consistently compare yourself to. And with anticipated messages of “Be more. Do more. What are you waiting for?!” I was terrified my self-sufficient, “I can do this on my own, thanks anyways, God!” ways would resurface.
I feared living in personal conflict for 5 days at the one place I longed to return to for years.
So I prayed and prayed, until I felt I couldn’t pray anymore…
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7
And just as he promises, He answered, loud and clear!
While I could go on for hours on the amazing things God orchestrated and revealed each day at Engage!, [it seriously felt like each minute of every day I was witnessing God at work. Almost to the point where I felt like asking people, “Did you see that?!” “Can you believe this?!”] what I want to share most are my biggest lessons and revelations- the things I pondered over on my 12 hour flight home, humbled and in awe of how great, merciful, loving, majestic and perfect our God is.
The first thing that struck me was how powerfully God moved in a secular environment. This friends, was not a Christian event! And truth be told, my roommate and I were two of the VERY few who openly professed our faith both verbally and in our instagram feeds. We both had prayed for months prior, that God would use this experience to show up and show off – to reveal his plans for us and use us in any way he so desired.
We wanted nothing more than to be light in a dark place.
And that he did! Not only did he speak to us each profoundly, in ways that moved me to tears more than once, but he placed in our path others, who were hiding their faith in hesitation of not being accepted and individuals who were strong christians, yet chose to segregate their “sunday self” from their business. On more than once occasion, God delivered opportunities for us to share our testimonies and how we both viewed our businesses as our ministry.
By the final day, I had shared more face-to-face conversations about my struggles, redemption and journey with the Lord, in one week, than I had in months.
In reflection, I realized I couldn’t recount even one conversation that centered on business, who I was, what I did or even my goals. The focus was God through and through. He gave me the boldness to share openly with those I could have found intimidating or “above me”, the compassion to empathize with their own journeys and the desire to love on those I hardly knew. It’s in his strength not ours, that we’ll succeed in doing his will.
If you’re like me, this fact can be a hard pill to swallow. Its not my natural instinct to leave things in others’ hands or even trust others to deliver and show up. But the beauty is it’s not just anyone who’s asking us to trust him… it’s God for heavens sake!… The one who spoke the world into existince, gave breath to our dry bones and ordered the sea to part! We have his word to prove over and over again his works, miracles and reliability. He will show up and show off! He wants to wow you! And if that’s not enough, he invites us to pray with expectancy and communciate with him in every nuance of our days.
When invited into our lives, he speaks and guides our every steps and even our conversations. We need simply to humble ourselves, let him in and lean on him with every fibre of our being. ‘Cause when we’re in that place, our eyes are unveiled and our hearts become alert and focused, seeing him in every situation. Tt’s in that place where we desire nothing more than to experience him powerfully and be close to the only one who can fully satisfy our every need, desire and lust.
“Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” ~ 2 Chronicles 7:15
This profound experience only solidied what I alredady knew, yet doubt from time to time. ..
When I try and control the situation and the way I think things should go, it limits God’s ability to reveal himself to me.
Even if it feels foreign, we sometimes need to throw ourselves into thing and commit to doing it God’s way, no matter how unnatural it may feel or stupid we believe we’ll look. Be certain that when God’s in charge, he’ll reveal his plan and purpose profoundly.
The bottom line is, what we see and are capable of, on our own, is so much less than what God plans and is able to do. He wants to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or even fathom, but it has to be his way and in him timing.
So back off, give him the reigns and rest in the safety of the co-polits seat.
The rides better than you’ve ever imagined….
Ps: This photo is the closest I’ll come to giving my awe, wonder and love of our God, expression after this experience. It was captured during the fireworks show at the Engage! Gatsby Gala on our final night. What followed were tears and big, girly bear hugs between us ladies. It was good. God is good. So good. I can’t event begin…