I didn't want to be there. I was at a conference for Christian women and well, I am a Christian woman. It is where I was supposed to be and needed to be. The entire event was designed to teach, enrich, and encourage. A world-class worship leader led the huge group of women in a song designed to woo us to a place of surrender before our Lord.
And I resisted.
My chest felt tight and I crossed my arms. The sights and sounds were penetrating and my mind started listening to the words. I knew once I opened my mouth to the melody of these praises that I would start down a difficult path.
And I would need to surrender my will. I would hear things that would convict. I would absorb things that required change. I would be drawn to a closeness to my Creator that frightened me. He desires of me things that I felt so unwilling to give.
My will is strong.
The worshipful music's melodic sounds, as well as the pumping drums, were breaking down my resolve. God's spirit was working on me. Familiar words came into my mind. They were words that I had actually spoken to my own petulant child.
Emma has an iron will (I wonder where she gets it). She barely passed babyhood when she was challenging my authority. "I do it!" was a phrase heard so many times. I coaxed and disciplined and through the years she has learned that "mama knows best." There are still challenges every now and then. She knows the house rules and that we've created them for the family's benefit. She KNOWS what is right and good and her desires creep in and she disobeys.
Her tantrums are fierce. She physically wrestles with herself, the desire to do what SHE wants and the knowledge she is in the wrong. Her face is angry red, teeth bared, she kicks and screams on her bed. I leave her alone to fight through her emotions. There is no dealing with her when she is like that. It takes quite awhile for her to finally get quiet. When she can hear me, I say,
"Child, do you trust me? I know you what is best for you. I know you better than you know yourself. You are capable of amazing things. I see beauty in you. Surrender your will to me. You can trust me. I love you so much."
She doesn't calm right down, but gradually she breaks as I keep repeating these simple truths to my child:
"You can trust me. I know what is best for you. You can trust me. I know what is best for you."
Gradually her tears give way and I catch a glimpse of her repentant heart. Oh, how I love this child! Within her stubborn character is tremendous potential. Her compassion for others and energetic spirit will make a beautiful servant for Christ. I see this and know what she needs to learn while she grows. I know what is best for her.
My own words haunted me as felt the conviction of my Father. I sat very much like a petulant child. Knowing that I needed to surrender my will so that I could learn. I was in a venue that could be hugely valuable to me as I grow in my faith... But only if I was willing.
"Child, do you trust me? I know you better than you can possibly imagine. I know you are capable of amazing things. I see beauty in you. Surrender your will to me. You can trust me. I love you."
It was as though my inner tantrum had come to a close. "Okay. I surrender my will. Mold me, shape me, give me ears to hear the message. Convict me and make me uncomfortable in my sin so I can learn and grow even if it hurts."
The penetrating words of the worship leader strengthen my desire to obey and I felt sweet relief.
"In Christ alone my hope is found.
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This Cornerstone, this solid ground.
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace...
Here in the love of Christ I stand."
Author's note: I went on to have an amazing time at the Beth Moore conference in Tacoma on Friday and Saturday. Andrea and I attended with another friend and heard a powerful message on following God's road signs in our lives. Travis Cottrell's worship band was moving, outstanding really. I feel so blessed to have been able to attend. But attending wasn't everything. Learning, growing, changing... that is my challenge.