Freshly back from the ATD Conference in Denver. As conferences go, I will say that the hunger in people’s hearts continues to grow at these events. I thought VOA was good, but the atmosphere here was even more expectant, and God didn’t disappoint. The worship was great (Bethel Music) and the messages were, too. Many people were healed, and though I didn’t see any miracles occur after I prayed personally, others on the team did. Some of the team members had breakthrough in words of knowledge, and I’m rejoicing with them! I believe many people had their lives changed forever and know that God met me in small but very meaningful ways.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with regard to this conference, and that’s always dangerous because I tend to set my expectations higher than perhaps I should. For instance, I’d hoped it would provide me with an opportunity to (among other things) get to know some of my fellow students better, but the hotel had a policy of four to a room and I was #5. I did stay with them one night, but my conscience bothered me more than a little, and I decided that I was either going to have to get my own room (which would have cost a lot) or find a place to stay. So Thursday morning I packed up my suitcase and took it back to the conference with me. And it was there I spoke to a woman I’d met at GSI this past summer (when I ran cameras for a few days), found out she lived nearby, and had the audacity to ask if she had a couch I could sleep on, lol. She said that even better than a couch, she had a guest room. I didn’t sleep at all the night before, and I was so grateful and relieved to have my own bed in a little room in the basement. And I got to know her and her sister, who are very sweet and really in love with Jesus. She told me when I left that she was glad I was bold enough to ask for that sofa.
I thought I’d gotten past the wanting-to-have-someone-pray-for-me mode but discovered I hadn’t. That little tidbit came to light on Friday at dinner and that someone was Bill Johnson. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say I had been letting some things get to me that I really shouldn’t have. I could blame it on a lack of sleep and the fact that I had a headache (from the altitude–had it most of the trip) but there really is no excuse. I came face to face with what turned out to be a huge disappointment and experienced a bit of a meltdown, dumping it on Randy’s assistant after dinner (I can still see his face and cringe when I remember that). He was gracious, and I was regretting my words immediately. The problem was, “immediately” coincided with having to report to a room to pray for people.
So when you’ve just blown it, when you’ve had a meltdown and are told to “do” after you’ve “do-do’d”, what do you do? Naturally, I cried first, and then I prayed and moved on. An hour before the service started that night they had prayer for the terminally ill and others with various sicknesses in a separate conference room. We prayed for an hour for people. The first one a teammate and I prayed for was a man who was nearly deaf. He wasn’t healed right then, but I believe he will be (he certainly has the faith for it!). There were a few more, and only with the last one was there any marked improvement (back problem). Then it was time to go into worship.
I tried. I really did. But I was feeling like a hypocrite and battling shame over what I’d done. I don’t remember exactly what I told God, but I remember having thoughts (and whether they were mine or not is debatable) along the lines of not really being cut out for this and wondering if God could really ever use me, that I just always seemed to blow it or do something stupid, and what was I doing there anyway? So I sat back down in my seat and kept my eyes closed. And then God did one of those little things I spoke about earlier.
She wasn’t supposed to be sitting there, the row was reserved for GSSM students. But when I came back there she was with (I presume) her husband in a wheelchair beside her in the aisle. She asked if it was okay if she sat there, and I said yes, we had some extra seats. That conversation was before my attempt at worship. So as I sat for a few minutes questioning what I was doing there and feeling totally defeated and worthless, she leaned over and said, “I don’t know who you are, but I believe God wants me to tell you that he sees you like a treasure chest….” She went on and on about how He sees me and my heart broke and I cried and cried while she held me. His love won’t ever let me go no matter how dark with despair I may feel.
Bill’s message that night was amazing, and afterward he started to spontaneously worship (a cappella) and it was so beautiful! Before prayer for the sick started he asked if any had been healed during worship, and some had! It was an amazing night.
The team from Bethel left in the morning. I had tried to mingle as much as I could with them and got to know one in particular. She and another student ended up ministering to me before they left, and I’m so grateful to them. One of the disappointments I’d been fighting the day before was the fact that I couldn’t bring the two groups together like I’d wanted to. The breakfast room wasn’t big enough to hold everyone and we always ended up splitting up into our respective groups. I never did like “us and them”, and though there were no negatives attached to the division, it was division nonetheless. Yeah I know, me and my expectations. I know there are still areas in my heart which need healing, and feeling a need to belong or fit in is one of them.
Saturday night Randy ate dinner with the students from school. I was nervous and talked too much. And laughed. I laugh when I’m nervous too. I imagined his assistant shared what I’d said with him. That’s probably not just my imagination. Anyway he was, as always, very gracious. I have so much respect for Randy and his ministry. I don’t ever want to do or say anything that reflects badly on him or Global, and sometimes I wonder if I should just stop blogging about this journey I’m on, but Global is so much a part of it! I always try to be careful lest something I may say be taken out of context or misconstrued. I know by the searches some people have used to find this blog that there are those trying to dig up dirt.
That doesn’t mean that Global is a perfect organization. After all, humans are involved so there is always room for improvement. So last night (I’d gotten home earlier in the day) a friend came over and I shared about the conference. Then we spent some time in prayer for Randy and Global, and when we were nearly done and I was thanking God for them I opened my eyes and was surprised by a first, prompting me to add to the list, “And thank you for the gold dust on my hands.”