This weekend I attended a women’s conference with our church. We’d been planning this for almost three months, but as the event drew closer, I started to sour on it.
It’s cold. I don’t feel comfortable in large groups. I just wanted to stay at home.
But I had promised. I’d even said I’d lead small group discussions—another thing I felt uncomfortable about—so I went.
What a wonderful gift.
The conference was sponsored by a group in Austin, Texas, shown online throughout the United States and in other countries throughout the world. The theme was, “If God is real, what then?”
We focused on the story of Joshua from Numbers 13 and 14 and Joshua 1. Only two of the twelve spies believed that God could help Israel conquer the Promised Land. Unfortunately, Israel decided to follow what the other ten spies told them, that they would not be able to conquer the great nations there.
No, by their own power, they could not. In the end, God showed those who remained that through his power, they could accomplish what he promised.
Women shared what God had done in their lives despite the difficulties they faced—depression, cancer, abuse, loss of children, lack of self worth. The honesty these women shared began to touch my heart.
For most of my adult life, I’ve always kept busy—work, graduate school, raising a family. This was good for me, for it would have been easy to believe, being totally blind, that I was not capable. I did have this fear. But, as long as I had active work to do, I was able to convince myself that I was doing important things.
Two and a half years ago, I had an accident which caused a severe brain injury. Suddenly, I had multiple disabilities—hearing loss, memory problems, difficulty finding words and forming complete sentences, lack of energy, trouble with balance and orientation. I could no longer work. I could not travel independently. I couldn’t even do many household chores.
I felt—I often still feel—useless.
One of the things I learned early from the women this weekend was that I can’t do anything useful. I have to depend on God to do it.
Of course, this has always been true, but I never had to face it like I do now.
One of the main topics discussed this weekend was that God gives each of us a purpose—bringing more people to a saving relationship with Jesus. This even includes me, with all the disabilities I seem to love to dwell on.
I can’t fulfill this purpose on my own, but I know a God who loves to do what appears to be impossible.
“But what can I do?” I wondered. I’m still not sure. But one of the speakers touched me deeply with her story.
She did not grow up with a good relationship with her father. The idea of God being a loving daddy made no sense to her. She once asked a wise Christian how she could understand that, and this was the response she received. God is the one who is the father. It is his job to show her how he can be a loving daddy.
On my own, I can’t find what I am still able to do for God, for the people in my lives. But I have a God who is able, and so willing, to show me how I can be used by him.
I’m not able to do the same things I used to do, physically or mentally. Another speaker from the conference reminded us that when Joshua was getting ready to enter the Promised Land, God reminded him that Moses was dead. It had been through Moses that God had led the people of Israel before, but it was time to move forward. God was going to do things a new way now.
I realized I need to accept that I can still do important things for God, just in new ways, with God holding my hand and giving me the strength and ability. I am excited to find what God has planned for me.
For more information about the wonderful ministry behind this weekend, go to ifgathering.com.