This past weekend I took my annual trip to Women of Faith.
I did some power shopping, ate life-changing food with a very special group of ladies, and listened to moving messages and powerful concerts that dusted off the weary places and polished what was already shining to nurture an exchanged life.
I’m always certain I will enjoy myself. I’m never certain how God will shake me.
Sheila Walsh took the stage Friday night with story of her childhood. “When I was young I used to love to walk along the shore after a big storm and find all the treasures that washed up.” Paralleling it to storms in our own life and the riches placed by the One who knows our story and loves us through it, she went on to communicate, “One time I even found an engagement ring.”
The visual got under my skin.
After an amazing Natalie Grant concert, we filtered out of the Xcel Center a huddle of women thinning in the night sky.
“I can’t shake what Sheila said,” I told my friend Carol as my feet moved on autopilot toward the hotel, “because really life is a storm. Not in the sense that there is always catastrophe or big problem, but just in the sense that we are busy and have a million things on our plate. I don’t want to miss the diamonds washing up in my everyday because I’m so focused on all the things, ya know?” She’s a sweet friend with a steadfast spirit and I had to know, “What stuck out to you tonight?”
And then from behind a woman we did not know fused herself into our conversation. Although the only light to be found was from the streetlamps above, there was an undeniable moisture glistening in her eyes.
“My daughter-in-law arranged this trip for her and I but she was just diagnosed with breast cancer that has metastasized to her liver so she can’t be around the crowds because she’s started chemo.”Alone and saddened by the swelling waves of life, she gently unfurled her story. Blessed to be invited somehow in, I asked for her daughter-in-law’s name so that I could pray. She happily gave it to me, and then parted ways with the smallest smile on her lips.
SLOW DOWN. PAY ATTENTION. God smacked me upside the head.
It was a diamond moment honestly made easy for me because I was in a setting stripped of my normal life schedule and demands. The only thing on my mind during this yearly trip is Jesus and drawing nearer.
“So how do I transpose this desired awareness from the bubble of a faith conference to the surge of everyday life?” The call/question rolled off my lips to my group.
God makes himself fully available to me but do I make myself fully available to Him? The honest answer is no. Sometimes in my routine I’m guilty of tunnel vision. I get so caught up in the chaos of human experience to make life roll smoothly that I lose sight of the treasures intended to make life richer.
Will we see the diamonds or walk on by?
I’m working on it…
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