I just attended the Eat Thou Honey conference in Memphis Tenn. last week. http://www.darlenemccarty.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?type=gen&mod=Core%20Pages&gid=7ED897D1FB9F40258DC8A414E0CD7211 (I'm waiting anxiously for it to be updated).
It was a PHENOMENAL time. God really did a lot of things in my life while I was there. This will most likely be a big lengthy post. Feel free to not read. ;) But I wanted to write out all that happened to me, so in times of trouble or whatever, I can go back and read it. Maybe to encourage me.
We left here about noon on Thursday, and arrived in Memphis about 2 that afternoon. We checked into the hotel, and just sat around talking for a little while. We opened our envelopes from the church, and find our wristbands inside. Each is a different color, and has a different saying on it. My friends got Love and Strength. I got Hope. Hope meant a lot to me. With all my dad is going through with his kidneys, I've lost a lot of hope lately. Jessica got Strength. She said that she'd been praying for Joy and we know that the joy of the Lord is our strength! One of the ladies in my room had been on a fast since Monday, so of course the topic turned to fasting. And to really a myriad of different things. To be honest I can't tell you exactly what we talked about when, and wish I kept more of a daily journal while we were there. Because I had gotten a lot out of just our conversations in the hotel room and in the car. But I know that conference was MEANT for the 3 of us. (There were 3 in my hotel room, but 14 of us there total). It seemed EVERYTHING we talked about, was mentioned in services. It was amazing. Like they had been listening to the three of us.
After we rested up, we all decide to go eat at O'Charleys. Jessica (the girl fasting) decided to stay out in the car while we went in. Boy did I feel bad about that!! But she said she was happy to read her Bible and pray. O'Charleys was pretty good. I had grilled shrimp, and a salad. ;) After we fed our bodies, we all were ready to get to the church to feed our spirits. So with much excitement, off to the church we went!
The level of excitement is high when we walk into the church. We know God has big things planned. So we all find seats and soon the praise and worship service starts. I will admit to being a bit disappointed in the praise and worship. Don't get me wrong, the worship team there was AWESOME. But I went in with such high expectations... and I just didn't feel the presence the way I expected to. Not that I didn't raise my hands during worship, etc... But there was one song they sang that really got to me. A verse said : "I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand, lay back against you and breathe, feel your heartbeat."OOOH! Can you even imagine being so close to Him that you are cuddled up in His arms? And you can just lean back and feel His heartbeat on your cheek?? Gives me goosebumps thinking about it.
Then it's time for preaching. Paula White (http://www.paulawhite.org/ ) was the guest speaker for the night. She preached on expecting the BIG in your life. (My child stole my pamphlet that I had my notes in. So I'll try to paraphrase the best I can). Anyway BIG, is the significant, the important things in your life. She told the story of Mary when Gabriel told her she was to bear the Messiah. Mary's response was I'm ready, Lord! Just tell me what to do. Are you ready for the BIG God has for you? Ready = pruned, positioned, prepared. Are you READY? Have you been pruned? Are you going through a rough time? That could be God preparing you for the BIG in your life. BRING ON THE BIG!!
As she was winding up her sermon, she asked us all to stand and join hands. We were to pray for those around us. Then she asked that we pray one on one with one that we had been holding hands with. I ended up praying with the girl across the aisle I had been holding hands with her. I didn't know her. Paula asked that we pray the BIG into their lives and that they be ready to accept it. So I began to pray with this lady, and at the end she says to me. "I see a lot of children surrounding you" (as a homeschooling mom of 4 little ones, I was easily able to agree!) "in another country, " (Umm... this was a lot harder for me to agree with. After all, here I am with 4 children 8 and under, and she's talking about me going to another COUNTRY?? That's not possible). "possibly an orphanage." I had to really pray that God keep my heart open to what she wsa saying. After all we were just given this wonderful word on accepting the BIG in our lives, and I didn't want to just shut her out (even if I did think she was a little on the whacko side at first) and miss my BIG. I just kinda smiled at her, since I didn't really know what to say, and we went back to our seats. Well, Paula finished up her sermon and asked us to stand as she prayed for the close of the service. At that time, the lady I had prayed with slipped me a note. On it said "Come to my class tomorrow. Becky Plinke". Turns out she was the teacher of one of the workshops! My friend Mary asked if I was going to go. I thought about it for just a few minutes and told her yeah. After all, I knew God had me there for a reason (I had seen the flyer for the conference months before and *KNEW* I NEEDED to be there for something). I didn't want to NOT go and then miss God.
We all begin to leave the church and head back to the hotel. One group of women left before we did, and we get a call about 1/2 way to the hotel saying they were lost. So we pull over into a circle K to try and get them to where we are so they can follow us the rest of the way. We go into the store while waiting on them, and notice they have large cappachinos for 99 cents. :D Now we should have thought about how drinking a cappachino at 10:30 at night would affect us. But did we? Nah. The other car caught up with us, we all headed back to the hotel. They decided to get in their jammies and go back to Walmart for a little late night fun. We decided to stay in our hotel room. LOL About then the cappachino started really pumping through our blood, and it was 4 am before Mary and I got to sleep. Unfortunately we had to be up at 6. Now during a lot of that time we had been talking about good stuff. Mary said she wanted to be able to worship and dance before the Lord, and how she longs for the brokenness in her life. Of course by about 2-3 we just started getting goofy.
To say we were dragging the next morning would be an understatement. We took cold showers. We did whatever we could to wake up. Finally we decided on the way to church to stop and get another cappachino. Because it was obviously going to take caffeine to help. On the way, we realized that we probably couldn't take the cappachinos into the church, so we'd just have to wait. That's when we began praying for a restful spirit, for energy to face the day.
We get back to church and find some seats. The rest of the ladies from our church had arrived that morning, and we saw some other people from our hometown that we knew. When the praise and worship service started, the Spirit of God fell in that place. I don't know that I've ever felt anything like I did that morning. It was a wonderful wonderful experience. I would have my hands raised, speaking in tongues (ok, I know some of you may not have my pentecostal background or believe the way I do... that's not what this is about). When I would try to stop speaking in tongues, my chest would begin to VISIBLY shake. It was as if it were coming out of my mouth or my chest one. I picked my mouth! After a while Darlene McCarty tried to get us all to sit down, but the Spirit wasn't done doing what He was doing. We just ended up standing right back up. The worship leader was playing for all he was worth. I wondered how his hands could move so fast and hit the right keys. Next time I looked, his feet were moving 90 to nothing, and I have my suspicions that neither foot ever touched the floor. LOL I was really amazed then that he was able to play right. Suddenly he started motioning to the man beside him in the pit in the stage, to take over the keyboard for him. As soon as that man was there, the worship leader took off running around the church. That man was FAST. So I look back up, and the substitue keyboard player... his legs were doing the same thing! I wondered what they were gonna do, cuz there were no other men in the pit! LOL But the worship leader was back in record time, and as soon as he was back the subsitute player went back down into the pit. I bet he danced in the Spirit for a good 5 minutes. The service was just absolutely INCREDIBLE. During that service, God dealt with me about praise. I've been struggling with real praise during church. I stand, I clap, I raise my hands because I am supposed to. Now that I didn't want to have the freedom to move. But I'm 5'4 and weigh WAY too many pounds to mention here. I felt like I couldn't move, I was too big to move, I would look like a fool if I tried to "dance before the Lord" or jump or "Get my praise on (as a friend and I termed it during the conference)". I felt chained to one spot. I *wanted* to move and dance and jump, but didn't feel like I could. But God is crumbling that barrior in my life. I'm not to the point of wanting to get up and do major dance steps in front of everyone, but I will dance before my God and NOT worry about how I look. Because He told me, it's not what *I* think or *others* think, but what *HE* thinks. And HE thinks it's beautiful. Being so self conscious about myself affected my praise. But I'm going to praise my Savior the way He deserves to be praised!
When it was time for the Word to be taught, Darlene McCarty brought it. First she talked about the power of 1 minute of praise. I copied this from her site:
About 1 Minute of Praise How can I create an atmosphere around me where I can speak to my obstacle, speak to my mountain and it has to obey?
When you pray, God listens, but when you praise Him, God seeks after you. Life comes crashing down. Your marriage is failing, you’ve lost your job, your loved one has passed away, your teenage daughter just told you she is pregnant! What do you do? Why go on! You wonder, “Is life really a gift?” You seem to lack the strength to go on. Your heart is smashed into millions of pieces. You have no clue where to turn. You have prayed until there are no more words to say or tears to flow down your cheek.
David said, “To come into His presence with thanksgiving, worship God with a grateful heart.” Why is worship, thanksgiving & praise so important?
Power is in your TONGUE! When you Praise Him, He rewards you with His presence! His presence is your power, protection, strength… The words spoken out of your mouth will either give the enemy power to use against you or give you power to use against the devil.
Psalms 8:2 “You have taught children and nursing infants to give you praise. They silence your enemies who were seeking revenge.
Russian Bible Translates: “When the Saints of God praise Him, the devil has not voice."
Psalms 3:7 “For you have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; you have shattered the teeth of the wicked.”
Isaiah 41:15, 16 “You will tear all my enemies apart, making chaff of mountains. You will toss them in the air, and the wind will blow them all away. A whirlwind will scatter them. And the joy of the Lord will fill you to overflowing."
Begin your day with 1 Minute of Praise. Don’t ask Him for anything. If you ask Him for something during your 1 Minute of Praise, you have to start over. For 1 Minute give God your praise. As the day goes on there will be other opportunities to give God 1 Minute of Praise (at a traffic light, walking from your car to the grocery store, waiting in line, taking a shower, putting your make-up on, shaving, etc.). Each minute of praise breaks the jawbone of your enemy, shatters his teeth (which is his identity, DNA, distractions that he was going to bring into your path today) and then the Lord will toss them in the air and the wind of the Holy Spirit will blow them all away.
Your enemy has been destroyed with:1 Minute of Praise!
She also talked about God having a PREposition for you, so he can place you in your position He wants you in. It went along a lot with what Paula White preached. I'm sorry I can't give you a lot of details. I was still so focused on God and what He was doing in me, I missed a lot. I know she said your preposition may not be where YOU want to be, and oftentimes people move OUT of their prepositioning spots. But to stay there and let God do what He needs to do to you there. I can't wait to get the dvds so I can rewatch it all, but especially this sermon. As it seems to be the one I remember the least about. (Remember the lack of sleep too? LOL ... oh and did I mention they didn't MIND if you brought in a drink??)
During the service, Jessica got a call finding out that a friend of hers had passed away while we were gone. She decided to just go back to the hotel for the afternoon instead of going to the workshops. So after our lunch, Mary and I drove her back to the hotel. We sat there for a few minutes talking to her, making sure she was ok. As we headed back to the church, we stopped to get a cappachino. I knew I wouldn't be able to make it through the workshops and get ANYTHING out of them as tired as I was. We get back to the church while STILL trying to decide which workshop to go to. There were SO many good ones. We were late, and the Weight Loss class was right there in the sanctuary. We decided to slip in there, since it wsa RIGHT there, and we didn't want to disturb other classes by trying to find the right classroom. Plus.. we needed that one too. LOL
The weight loss class was pretty good. The lady doing it had lost over 100 lbs. Said first thing she had to do was just hand it over to God. She made the statement that we ask for His help in so many areas of our lives, but rarely ask Him to help us with our weight loss. But He is interested in ALL of our lives. Some things she said were really important was: get your eating in order. Our God is a God of order, and He's not going to bless chaos. Get an accountability partener. Tell them what kind of eater you are (secretive, emotional, boredom, etc etc), and tell them to help you stay on track. And Journal journal journal! She didn't say you have to write down every BLT (bite lick and taste), but what's going on in your life, your feelings, and how it affects your eating that day. It was definitely an interesting talk, and I got a lot out of it. The most important thing I got out of it was the statement "God's not goign to bless chaos." Well... you can just imagine what my life is like with these 4 monsters of mine running around. But here a few months ago, I felt like I needed to get my house clean (and not just surface cleaned), and go through and annoint and pray over each room. When she said that about chaos it just quickened in my spirit that I needed to get my house in order, and do that. So that's been my goal this week. I've also started a diet/study from Setting Captives Free called the Lord's table. http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/lords_table/ Check it out. It's really good so far!
The second class I took was called Women in Ministry. It was by Becky Plinke and the one she asked me to attend. Mary couldn't decide on which class she wanted to go to. So she just decided to go with me at the last minute (even though this wasn't one of the classes she was trying to pick from). Also another lady from our church went with us (her name was also Mary). So here I am, armed and ready with my Marys. :)
Now you have to realize, I had NO intentions of going to this class before Becky passed me the note asking me to come. When picking out whcih workshops to attend, that one never made it in the running. In fact, it was at the bottom of the list. "Women in Ministry"?? Well, that didn't apply to me! And I was happy with it that way. I would not be comfortable in any kind of leadership position (my idea of ministry) with the POSSIBLE exception of children's church (and that's stretching it for me). I'm just NOT comfortable standing in front of people. When my friend Mary asked me if I was going to attend your workshop I told her yes. Because I knew God called me to that conference for a reason. And I had no intentions of taking ANY chances on missing Him. The class was REALLY interesting. She talked about radio ministry, ministry with different platforms (jail, nursing homes, etc), and also missions. I have to admit it was the missions that interested me the most.
Afterwards, Mary told me she thought she was meant to be in that class. So did I!!! I must admit that class put a fire under us to DO Something. I have always said I would love to go on a missions trip. But never figured it was a possible thing, and never really gave it much further thought. But I am determined to keep my heart and ears open to Him. I know that if I went on a missions trip, I would want my family to go with me. What a wonderful experience that would be... educational and spirtiual for ALL of us! Is it what God wants? I dunno. Maybe.
I didn't think missions was something God had ever truly impressed on my heart. *other than thinking I would like to go* But different things have come to my mind over the past few days. I try to make sure to study missionaries with my children when we study different countries. I have always wanted them to know what/who they are, and why it is important. I am in the process of redecorating their bedroom. They wanted a big wall mural of a map. So on another wall is our missions wall. It has a map of the world with colored countries. The color of the country depends on how much that country needs prayer. I plan on stencilling the verse about going forth and preaching the gospel on that wall. THEN, on the way home from the conference I heard the song by Newsboys called Hands and Feet. This is the first time I could recall hearing it. Part of it goes,
I am willing yet am so afraid
you give me strenght when I say ...
I wanna be your hands
I wanna be your feet
I'll go where you send me,
go where ya send me
And I try,
yeah i try
to touch the world
like you touched my life
It just seems like everywhere I turn around it's there. Not sure if it is God or me, but it is there. I am just praying that His will be mine, and I know His will for my life.
After the classes were over, we had a little bit of time before church started. So we go back to the hotel to pick up Jessica, and had the last car of ladies following us, so they knew the way. As I'm talking to Mary, she talks about how the service that morning did a lot for her also. So as we are driving down the main road we're constanly singing, "I Got My Praise On" (just a little jingle), while the ladies in the car behind us could see us praising all the way back to the hotel.
We get back in the hotel and find Jessica has slept all afternoon (which was JUST what she needed). She said she felt a lot better, and I was so glad. I had felt so bad for her. It seemed everywhere she turned around Satan was trying to put up roadblocks for her. Thank God she was able to turn to the One who could EASILY knock down those blocks. We all lay around for a bit before time to head back to the church, just chitchatting like girls are prone to do.
Finally it is time for church. We're all really excited because the lady preaching that night was Darlene Bishop. http://www.darlenebishop.org/ We had all seen her before, and knew she packed a mighty punch in her preaching. So we get there, find seats. Mary and I go shopping before the service starts, and end up buying annointing oil for our houses (remember the getting the house in order thing...), and tshirts from the conference. Here's what the shirts look like.. Well, her website is down right now, so I'll grab the link later. It's time for service to start, and the worship service was really good. When Darlene Bishop got up to preach, I swear she was aiming her whole sermon RIGHT at me. It was on Why People Won't Pray. I have to admit to struggling in my prayer life. And boy oh boy did she ever preach me under conviction. One story she told that will always stick with me... Her daughter was being interviewed one time and was asked the question about what her favorite memory was. Darlene said she thought she'd say when T.D. Jakes came to the house, or something like that. But without hesitating, her daughter replied, "My parents always had their prayer time at night, and I would go in and climb on my daddy's back while he was praying and falling asleep. WOW Did that ever get me!!! My kids don't see me with a REGULAR prayer time. We have devotion time in the house, but sadly THEY do it more than *I* do. So I'm working on getting a more consistent prayer time with my Lord. I'm not there yet, but getting closer. I'm also now taking ALL my kids with us to prayer meeting on Thursday nights. Before, either my husband and I would always stay home with them, while the other got to go. But my older 2 are old enough to be able to participate, and the younger 2 need to see and start learning now. I would love to buy the dvd set from Darlene Bishop on Why Won't People Pray. As soon as I save up the money for it, I will be.
So it's Friday night and after church Jessica said that God had released her from her fast. So where do we wanna eat?? It's about 10 and we're wondering what could be open. We decide to check out Olive Garden just in case.. and whadda ya know?? It's open til 11, so in we go. This was my first time at Olive Garden. MAN was it good! LOL After we finish eating, start heading back to the hotel, get a call from one of the ladies with us asking us to pick them up some taco bell . It's about 11:30-12 by the time we get back to the hotel. Being extremely tired from the lack of sleep the night before, we all crash pretty quickly.
The next morning dawned nice and early. We all get up and ready and go grab some complimentary breakfast (gotta love those bagels!). I have to say first and foremost, Satan was already trying to steal the great things that had happened to me the day before. I had to repent before we even left the hotel to go to the church! And I fought him all during church. It was a TREMENDOUS service. Yvonne Capehart was there to bring the word. http://www.sisterkeeper.com/Biography.htm But she never got to. The power of the Spirit was so strong that Sister Capehart couldn't preach. There was a time of great praise, prayer, and deliverance. Through the whole thing, I battled. It was about 1 or so when the service was over, and we headed straight out to go home. The trip takes about 2 hours or so. The whole way home I battled. But that's ok. Because I know that he wouldn't be fighting me so hard if I didn't have him scared!!!