They were limping in, broken and bruised. Evil had been hunting, that’s for sure. I had connected with so many of them on the phone or seen their faces over video calls. At this point I just wanted to get my arms around them and let them know they were safe and loved. My heart had been burdened to tears as I heard their stories and filled to bursting as I caught a glimpse of the hope and freedom they were determined to fight for. Surely this must be a taste of what God feels for his children.
Recently I was part of the Battle for Your Marriage event in Rome, Georgia where 52 people courageously entered into battle for individual hearts, sacred unions, and committed teams. Along with the participants, we had a team of four mentor couples who were there to shepherd and support. This was a first!
My role was administrative – making sure everyone got what they needed, keeping the schedule moving, etc. as well as relational – entering into difficult places with couples/teams, teaching, and just overall caring for those present. If you know me, you know that I am much more comfortable with the relational piece.
As I prepared for the weekend it felt as though those two aspects were going to fight against each other, but I was determined to find a way to keep them in balance. Some facets of administration are just not my strong suit. Thinking ahead is especially a challenge for me. So I knew there was potential for me to get sidetracked trying to make sure all the details were taken care of. I know who God made me to be and I was confident going into the retreat that these couples needed me to be ME. My deep love for so many of the participants and awareness of the battles they were facing had me clearly in touch with what was at stake. My challenge would be to stay fully present and not allow my protective strategies – mainly independence – to derail me if I messed up on the things that weren’t in my wheelhouse. While I was going to work hard to be excellent at all the parts of my job, I had resigned to the fact that if some details got missed at least people would still feel safe and loved, and that was the most important thing.
But God had better for me.
“Life and rest”
As I remembered who God made me to be I was able to gain greater perspective. You see, I came into my first Battle for Women’s Hearts believing that no life and rest existed within me. Now, more than 6 years later, I thoroughly embrace the ways that I uniquely invite others into life and rest! This has probably been the most transformational work God has done in me through my Battle journey. So when he showed me that the administrative aspects of my role were just another avenue for inviting life and rest, it totally shifted my heart! Rather than feeling stressed or inadequate, I felt empowered and strong. Believing that I had what it took to care for others in this way helped me enter in from a place of love. At the same time it made me dependent upon God and the team he put in place to walk with me throughout the weekend.
This became more of a challenge a couple of days in as I struggled from lack of sleep and significant pain. Typically this would cause me to question – “Why God?” “What are you up to in this?” – and move into my pose of independence to power on and come through no matter what. Instead I was able to recognize the hunt and more easily respond to what God was inviting me into. The tender care of my husband and team helped draw me into community. And then the Saturday morning Battle Prep that was in our guidebook around James 4 helped me identify the way of humility and rest in God’s provision. I had actually written that Battle Prep weeks before with the mindset of how much THEY would need it. God knew that I would be the needy one that day and met me in such a sweet way. Entering into the day I was able to ask for help from others when I needed it, receive help when it was offered, and be grateful for the people God provided to help remember things that I might forget.
And I did forget things. And my teaching wasn’t perfect. But God still moved and lives were still changed. I didn’t do my job perfectly…or even as well as I would have liked…but I was at rest on my insides, connected to God and connected to community. That is huge.
Rather than coming out of the event focusing on what I forgot or how I messed up, I had eyes to see God’s larger story and my imperfectly beautiful part in it. On Sunday each person shared how they had been impacted over the weekend and I was able to experience it with my whole heart. As I heard the miraculous ways God had moved in lives and in marriages, I was undone. I was in tears the entire time! That God would let me play a part – any part – in this amazing work was almost too much to take in. My broken but whole-hearted offering was consumed by the Lord and it was a pleasing aroma to him. It was holy and I understood more than ever before what it means to be surrendered. I would have been content to scrub toilets in that place, just to be able to be a part of what God did.
My broken but whole-hearted offering was consumed by the Lord and it was a pleasing aroma to him.
As I prepare to go into my next Battle event I want to enter in the same way. Honestly, as I prepare to go into my LIFE I want to enter in the same way! God is calling me into places that are not in my comfort zone, where I am not guaranteed “success”, and where I might even have to embrace failure. The experience from this weekend has caused a permanent shift in my belief system, changing that visceral “go to” head space that was once my auto-pilot when the rubber met the road of life.
One Step Further:
- In what ways have you been tempted to forget who you have been created to be?
- What are some situations where you’ve resigned to survival mode instead of life, rest, and growth?
- In what ways might God be inviting you to shift your perspective so that you can live more fully from who you were created to be in those situations?