Recently, I had two doors of opportunity to minister close before me. Although these opportunities were good things, the timing was wrong for me. I felt relief when the doors closed because I knew in my heart I need to rest, to withdraw and regroup. It’s part of simplifying my life that God has been encouraging me to accomplish. It’s also part of the emotional healing He is taking me through. He’s teaching me something (lots of somethings, I’m sure) and so I’m staying in the classroom (as a student, not a teacher) for the next year.
Well, the very day that the second of those aforementioned doors closed, I received a flier in the mail for the Women of Faith Contagious Joy conference in Portland (about a seven hour drive). I felt sudden excitement. With this year of rest, healing, renewal, and refilling before me, I realized attending WoF was something I should do and could do. So come October, I and a good friend will be driving my car west to attend my first Women of Faith conference, something I’ve wanted to do for years but always had conflicts with in my schedule. But not this year. Yesterday, I bought the tickets and made the motel reservations.
And then, in the wonderful way God does things, I read the July 31 entry in Streams in the Desert:
With skillful hands he led them. (Psalm 78:72)
When you are unsure which course to take, totally submit your own judgment to that of the Spirit of God, asking Him to shut every door except the right one. But meanwhile keep moving ahead and consider the absence of a direct indication from God to be the evidence of His will that you are on His path. And as you continue down the long road, you will find that He has gone before you, locking doors you otherwise would have been inclined to enter. Yet you can be sure that somewhere beyond the locked doors is one He has left unlocked. And when you open it and walk through, you will find yourself face to face with a turn in the river of opportunity —one that is broader and deeper than anything you ever dared to imagine, even in your wildest dreams. So set sail on it, because it flows to the open sea.
God often guides us through our circumstances. One moment, our way may seem totally blocked, but then suddenly some seemingly trivial incident occurs, appearing as nothing to others but speaking volumes to the keen eye of faith. And sometimes these events are repeated in various ways in response to our prayers. They certainly are not haphazard results of chance but are God opening up the way we should walk, by directing our circumstances. And they begin to multiply as we advance toward our goal, just as the lights of a city seem to increase as we speed toward it while traveling at night. F. B. Meyer
Isn’t that awesome? God directed me through my circumstances, and something trivial (a flier in the mail) spoke volumes to me. It was like a beautiful gift dropped in my lap. Then He confirmed my decision with the above entry in my devotional reading.
I’m so excited about attending this conference, including the pre-conference with Patsy Clairmont and Sandi Patty, All Cracked Up. I have just begun listening to the audio book of Sandi Patty’s Broken on the Back Row, and I already know this is going to be an emotional journey. Another reason for my excitement is the opportunity to hear Carol Kent in person. She is one of the conference special guests and is the author of When I Lay My Isaac Down, one of the best books I’ve read in years.
Well, I had a rather sleepless night. Woke up after a little over three hours in bed and just couldn’t go back to sleep. So I’d best get some writing done before I crash. I’m not on sabbatical from deadlines.
In the grip of His grace,