This past week my husband and I went to an Acts 29 conference in Dallas, Texas. We were invited by our Pastor back in September. The time in between September and the approaching d-day flew by me and I became increasingly filled with anxiety over all the details leading up to the trip.
99% of what filled my heart and head was mom-centered; my MIL can attest to the 6-page document I left her. P.S. She ROCKED it in our absence. In fact she over-rocked it. My kids didn’t even miss us, which we all know is the highest form of flattery a parent can receive. But as we drove that 11 hour drive, I felt my heart unwind and try to tap into that 1% of free space. I started to pray that God would fill and encourage us on the trip and I slowly started to breathe again. The open plains and spaces of the Oklahoma landscape felt poetic to my heart and soul. And made me squeal to think Rae Drummond LIVES HERE! Will I run into her at a gas station?!!!! Then when we got to Dallas I might have prayed to run into Beth Moore…and hug her.
I was completely unsure as to what I should expect once we got to the conference. I have walked with Jesus for 16 years, gone to Christmas conferences with Campus Crusade for Christ and leadership summits of the like, but this was a new thing for both my husband and I. Add that to our curiosity at why we’d been invited in the first place and you get two wide-eyed little people at a conference for Pastors/staff in a denomination with some messy stuff going on.
And yet, even from our vantage point, we left tremendously encouraged in our faith, in our role of ‘little people’ at our church and with a renewed faith in God’s sovereignty and interaction in the local church, His bride.
One of my best take-aways from the conference was from Pastor Steve Treichler up in Minnesoooooota (you have to pronounce it like that…you know you do) at Hope Community Church. He referenced 2 Corinthians 4:13-18, but I loved vs 15b, “And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.” He reminded us that all that we do should be to the glory of God, that the unseen things are eternal, and all that transpires in our lives is so that thanksgiving may increase in our hearts and be ascribed to Him. (AMEN!)
My studly husband and I are just people in God’s church. We are not anyone important or noteworthy. And frankly, my church isn’t exactly doing things that are noticeable to an outsider. Is that what matters though? All week we were reminded that the reason we serve, interact, love and get up out of bed for Sunday morning is for the glory of God that THANKSGIVING may increase and glory may be ascribed to God! It was so freeing for me to hear that.
Matt Chandler, the president of Acts 29, had some encouraging reminders too about how each of us have been called by God to whatever we have going on in our own little corner of the world and lives. To honor who God has made us to be and how that fits together while remembering to abide in Jesus, paying attention to our thoughts and actions and the way they affect other people around us.
As we drove home and worked through all we had stirring within us (my love and I are both verbal processors), my encouragement that I wanted (and want to continue) to share to the friends and people around me is just that; to abide in Jesus SO THAT thanksgiving may increase to God in whatever thing He has called you to do in this life. Be whoever God has made you to be in the most holy and connected-to-Christ way you can be. Breathe and enjoy that freedom.