Shadow Of Victory

Sunday, 16 August 2009

August 16th Waffling about Willow

I am still home alone as Chris wont be home till Monday afternoon...hopefully with Oskar the pooch too and then Andrew will be back Tuesday.....it has been a funny old time this last few days especially coming straight after Willow...to have so much input and be amongst so many people to then being alone.! I am so grateful for good friends who have spent time with me over weekend and of course Matthew who is always good company too.

I wanted to share about some of the ways in which God seemed to take each of my worries and almost make them disappear...or at least fade into insignificance. I am hesitant to say I am completely changed as it wont really be evident till faced with another trip of a similar type but suffice to say that during the event itself I wasn't much stressed at all.

The people who we stayed with were magnificent and I had no trouble hearing them and hanging out with them.....they were interested in us and interesting to be around and after the first night time stroll to the bathroom when the squeaky floorboard sounded I just thought "there is nothing I can do about it " and just forgot it really.When the other guest from Bracknell arrived I thought I would feel self conscious about perhaps meeting him in the night but again God just seemed to step in and it didn't happen. Somehow or other whenever one of us needed the loo or shower it was open and available...I wonder if God orchestrates wee-ing??!!! and the hosts provided air freshener...LOL...so yet another slight worry averted.

I have to commend the young guy who shared with us....he was fab and it was great to get to know him better ..altho we did take the mickey out of him a fair bit he was lovely and I was incredibly impressed with his outlook on God...life ...Church ..marriage...relationships.....Oh that God would raise up a generation of young people with his spirit.

The anxiety about whether I would hear okay was immediately put to rest as the sound/audio in the auditorium was magnificent and altho the cameras didn't stay on the speakers faces every second I didn't miss more than the odd word or punchline and it didn't seem to matter where we sat the standard of audio was the same.I was able to relax completely after the first session and this in itself was a gift from God in such a huge and strange setting.

The worry about hanging out with the Bracknell gang had been alleviated somewhat before we went and Simon and Catrina had sent out a suggested itinerary to us all so that helped us to know that on certain days or evenings we would be all together or with our hosts etc and this worked very well from our point of view. Catrina also had a coffee with me before we went to share stuff like eg did we need coats..cardigans...what the loos were like..all the stuff girlies need to know !!!..Chris and I spent good chunks of time with our hosts and then on our own or with the others and we felt completely included. I have to say a big thank you to Catrina and Simon as the texted us daily to let us know where they were or where they were sitting.... and I felt they looked after us ...but not in a patronising way but in a genuine "we care about you." way .At each of the coffee breaks we generally had a few minutes with one or other of the group in between queuing for the loo...it was kinda cool to actually see a long line of guys waiting to pee...its not often the line for the ladies is the same length as the gents.!!
We also had a chance to catch up with old buddies the Dalziels who used to attend our church and it was lovely to hear about what God was doing with them and their children.

One of the most significant times that God spoke to me clearly wasn't in any of the sessions but at the end of the conference on the Friday evening we all went to a restaurant to eat together...again this usually would bring me out in anxiety and many times over the years I would have made excuses for this kind of social gathering and not gone...but I was determined to break through and as we arrived and 13 of us sat down I sat sort of in the middle so I would be able to hear from both sides and opposite me..( for those of you with no hearing disability this kind of strategy is probably completely alien but for me it is a minefield I have to walk through sometimes on a daily basis so I am well practiced ).The ambient noise was quite high as the restaurant was busy and music was playing and I panic-ed a bit and spent a fair bit of time reading the menu and thinking of how I could duck and run.In these times it is always when the enemy whispers other lies to me...its difficult to explain clearly but its as if I am cut off from hearing others and it creates a vacuum and because I am stressed I tune into the wrong voice.Usually the voice says stuff like..

*why are you here
*no-one will talk to you
*you will have to admit you are deaf
*they will make jokes and say "pardon...eh??"(believe me when I say if I had 5.00 for every time someone said that to me after I explain I cant hear well I would be a rich woman )
*Just withdraw and ignore everyone
*make humorous remarks and hog the conversation

Anyway just as I began to shut down I heard a still small voice ...."I have brought you to this banqueting table and my banner over you is love".it repeated the words several times and I found myself looking down the table at one half of the group then looking up the table at the other and the table was long and well laid out with table cloth and nice glasses etc and it looked a bit like a banqueting table.....and I felt a deep peace settle over me. People talk about a sense of Gods presence being tangible and probably for the first time in many years I felt completely surrounded by Gods love for me. As the bustle of ordering and settling down finished I felt my whole body..mind and spirit relax and I can honestly say I so enjoyed the evening.It may have been the first and only time I will ever eat a meal with any of them but I will long treasure it as special few hours. Perhaps if you asked each and every one of the group they would say."yes it was a good evening " but for me it had a much more significant meaning than just another meal out.

During the evening I had a conversation with Liz G......I think she reads my blog sometimes so I hope I don't embarrass her too much as she may not realise it but the 20 or so minutes where we had an "over the table " conversation encouraged me in some unexpected ways. First of all I am probably old enough to be her mum and again my old way of thinking would have me saying to myself "she cant possibly be interested in me" and yet she showed genuine interest in what I am involved with and asked me some fairly pointed questions!! A couple of times I tried to deflect the conversation and she brought me back to what she had asked and queried my answers enough for me to really think about what I was saying....I was challenged about a couple of "ruts that I thought were my horizons".. As we chatted she shared some of what God was saying to her about her life..family...church....gifting and I was just amazed at the maturity of this young woman!!...I felt as if I was in the presence of a giant ...I truly believe she and her hubby are leaders of a different spirit...the way Liz spoke about her children and her being a mum and how she felt God had gifted her in this season was a far cry from some of the mums I mix with in the course of being a childminder for the last two decades. This short 20 mins conversation has led me to believe I can sit at any table with anyone and

HIS banner over me will be love.

Yes... there were huge differences in who we all were in terms of age..experience..gifting...circumstances...leadership etc etc...but the one thing that brought us all to that table on that Friday evening was our faith in God and His love for each of us no matter what label we hang on ourselves other than son or daughter ...and for me all the other things on my worry list dissolved completely and the deep feelings of inadequacy which I had allowed to build a wall around me just crumbled under the banner of His love So Liz...if you are reading this...THANK YOU.

I will get onto the actual speakers at some point I promise but this conference for me was about far more than listening to the speakers...lets face it I can and do hear them every year at the Summit..(have I encouraged you to book in yet??)..it was about being who I am...me...with all my fears and hopes and dreams..it was about conquering a lifetime of insecurities...it was about allowing decades of wrong thinking being brought into line with what God thinks.This conference was about dropping our pride and being transparent and accepting financial help to get there ..about believing that people loved me/us enough to see beyond the mess of our debt and still say we were worth giving money to.It was way more than the speakers...it was almost an appointment with God that he had ordained for such a time as this .!! I asked Catrina before we went "would this be a life-changing conference" and I am 100% convinced that it has been and will continue to be as I work through all that has happened.

Finally....thank you to those who have commented on the blog....if it fails to get published let me know or resend to me...as I do feel that reading peoples comments also helps us to feel less isolated....isn't it funny that we all think we are the only ones who feel such anxieties and I believe it is a strategy of the enemy to keep us all silent and isolated and if my blog entries mean that you feel less alone and more "normal" then I am happy....and of course I am thrilled that I am not the only one who worries about their poos.!!!

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Thirteen at table? THIRTEEN?! No significance there then eh? :)

You know babe, I often find myself at things like this... big dinner parties, nobody knows I'm 'deaf'... all of that. A friend one, don't know who... told me to just imagine everyone around you in their underwear. It bloody works!! hahahaha. Especially when their are big old guys in suits, full of themselves, and pontificating. Now I can imagine it's not the easiest bridge to cross (and one you might not like :) ), so another trick is to tell yourself that they all feel the same way... unsure, can't hear well etc. 'I'm not the only deaf person on the planet for goodness sake!' 'And what's that kid there got that I haven't?'

Did you ever think that maybe the fact that you work with kids has a lot to do with your (understandable) insecurity too? You always know best over a child, you are in charge and make all the decisions and also can protect them while in your care. Well, YOU are now taking care you you! It's been a while coming by all accounts, but it's a great things. Pleased for you.
x
Caroline