Peaks & Valleys: Women's "Your Story" Night
This was my first time attending the Women's Ministry's "Your Story" Worship Night. I had heard nothing but good things about the first one that had launched in October last year, and I was very excited to experience what God had in store.
The evening started off with worship led by our very own and very gifted Mary King. The presence of the Lord was there as the women sang from deep within their hearts. It was a night of listening to the many beautiful stories of sisters who had been in the valley and some who were still going through it - I saw God's goodness shine through each of them. They chose to believe in His promise and to have a hope that comes from Him alone. The process and battles are always long but it was by God's grace that in their valleys they saw Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide), Jehovah Rapha (the Lord who heals), Jehovah Nissi (the Lord is my banner), and the many more names that speak about Jesus' characteristics and all that He has done. They believed that the Lord was good no matter what they were facing and that is exactly what sets us apart as believers - to know that there is a peace that surpasses all understanding that comes from God and God alone.
When we face our valleys, it is so important not to fall into isolation because in isolation is where we will hear a lot of lies about who we are, about the situations that we are in - shame, depression, guilt, self-condemnation, among others. They start to circle in our minds, eventually overtaking our hearts if we don't stay in communion with the Lord and have a constant circle of sisters and brothers speaking truth and light into our hearts. We are each a part of a whole body, when one part hurts the other parts can feel it. The working parts help nurse the weaker part of the body back to health.
There were many days and seasons where I fought hard against the lies, against the depression, against the voices that told me that I was not good enough. It's been a long time since I have been in those valleys but I still have moments where I feel overwhelmed. But once you overcome the deeper valleys, God equips us with greater ability and a deeper faith to overcome the next time we face hardship - endurance and perseverance are produced in our spirits. Many lessons of life will be learned, wisdom gained, more compassion for others will grow, and His Kingdom glorified when we testify!
It's never a journey to walk alone, every woman needs to find a band of sisters that will pray with them, cry with them, believe for them when they can't utter a word, and rejoice together when we overcome. No one in church should ever feel alone, but sometimes that loneliness is a product of not seeing from God's heart in the seasons when things are the hardest. There were many strangers in my life that obeyed God's promptings to share a word of encouragement and pray truth into my life when I was so blind-sided by the slimy pit I was in, much like in Psalm 40:2. He set me up on the rock, gave me a firm place to stand, and put a new song in my mouth like He has for these beautiful sisters who chose courage and trust to share their stories. His stories!
Towards the end of the evening, God placed on my heart Psalm 139 and I felt that he was saying this to the women and myself, "This is what I think of each of you!" When I got up to the front of the room to read, I was overcome with each line I read. The words sank deeply for myself and for the women at the meeting.
1 O' Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there
9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
Toyou the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
Whenever a ministry is about to be birthed, there is the burden of carrying it until it is birthed, and then in the birthing there is more pain, but we know as long as we wait patiently, we will witness the goodness of a new life, a new thing. I am very grateful for what is to come through the Women's Ministry and thankful for our leaders and their yes to God. Praise God for the beauty of Christ that will shine through this ministry!