Thank you so much for your prayers for the Portland & Sacramento Women of Faith events!
They were VERY felt!
I confess I was a little nervous moments beforehand, but that’s no surprise in light of the fact that the audiences were so much larger than any I’d ever addressed (I believe it was 8,500 in Portland & 12,000 in Sacramento). And in hindsight, I don’t think it was “nervousness” (our faithful God ALWAYS guides me through a talk, and I knew this would be NO different!). It was more like “eagerness!” I’d been preparing, rehearsing, and tweaking this “Wooed & Pursued” talk since April, and I was chomping at the bit to finally share it!
A few highlights from the events:
- Being “behind the scenes” was as much of a blessing as being out on stage! Barry & Sheila Walsh are phenomenal leaders and such humble servants, and are SO beloved by the entire team. It’s definitely a “family” atmosphere and I felt warmly welcomed! Ken Davis made me laugh hysterically, Angie & Todd Smith (of Selah) took me under their wing, and hearing the other speakers such as Christina Caine and Lisa Harper was a tremendous inspiration (but certainly a challenge to have to follow!)
- As I was speaking, the words were naturally flowing out of my mouth, but I was having an entirely different conversation in my head with God. It went something like, “God! This is amazing! It feels so ‘natural’ to be up here sharing my heart with these ladies! Is THIS what you’ve been preparing me for all these years of speaking, writing, and counseling?” I felt like I was oh-so-gracefully dancing with God in those moments, and that He was sweetly whispering into my ear every word to say. This must be similar to how Eric Liddell (in Chariots of Fire) felt when he declared, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure!” Of course, when I RUN, I feel nothing but pain and shortness of breath. But when I SPEAK, I definitely feel God’s pleasure! J
- One moment in particular will always stand out as the “cherry on top” of the Portland experience – when I asked that the house lights be turned up so that I could introduce Greg, Erin & Matthew! At 6’7” Greg of course stood out from the 99.99% female crowd, and was treated like a rock star because I’d told them about how God used Greg’s insight and unconditional love to heal so much of my sexual and emotional baggage. Many women were very gracious to go out of their way to express their appreciation for him “sharing me” that weekend. And my children said afterward, “We’ve heard your stories hundreds of times, but we STILL cry every time! We’re so proud of you, Mom!” Music to my ears, for sure! What a joy to celebrate my husband and remind my children of what a great, loving, and healing God we serve!!! Then one of my closest friends who walked with me through my years of addiction & recovery was able to attend the Sacramento event with me, so having Lisa share this experience with me was a thick layer of icing on the cake!
- Meeting women individually during the book signing time is always a JOY and puts wind beneath my wings. I’d be a very rich woman if I had just ONE dime for every woman who has ever said to me after a talk, “Oh WOW! YOUR story [growing up emotionally hungry, childhood sexual abuse, promiscuous teenage years] is so much like MY story!” It just proves that “no temptation seizes you but what is common… but God IS faithful to provide a way out!” (1 Corinthians 10:13) Also, in Portland there were four women who approached me in tears explaining that there had been a similar car accident as mine the week before in their hometown. Their friend was behind the wheel of a car that struck and killed another woman, and they asked for prayers that God would soften the hearts of the grieving family, and strengthen their friend who is overwhelmed with shock and fear of what will come of all of this. I was honored to send them home with a Completely His book for her. Then, the day after the Sacramento event a woman emailed to say that she had been in the audience and inspired by my story, then went home to learn that a 16-year old girl in her community had hit and killed a female jogger, who left behind a 2-year old daughter. What a privilege to reach out to this girl to hopefully offer some strength and encouragement from someone who knows this painful path she’s having to travel right now. Please pray for comfort and peace for all involved!
If you were unable to attend a Women of Faith event and want to see what all the excitement is about, you can order a 2012 event DVD here!
As you can see, it’s been a crazy-busy month, both with these two events and with the official release of The Fantasy Fallacy on October 16! But I’m not complaining! As hard as we’ve prayed for opportunities to impact people’s lives, marriages, and families in whatever ways God wants to use us, we’re not about to turn a blessing into a burden just because of a little jet lag, writer’s cramp, and marketing madness!
Thank you for your prayers as we continue to press on, eagerly anticipating whatever ministry opportunities God has awaiting us around the corner!
Shannon & family