This past Saturday, my company had the unique opportunity to be a vendor at the “Unspeakable Joy” Conference, presented by Encouragement Café and JOY FM Radio. This was a sold out event that housed around 1,000 women.
Guess when I found out about it? Slightly less than 7 days beforehand! God opened a last-minute door for me, to a building packed full of Christian women seeking joy and encouragement--and He placed a Little Light Shine Bright table in the crowd:)
Luck? Coincidence? Serendipity? No, No, and No.
What may feel like an eleventh-hour opening to me, (and seem like good fortune to others) was actually a prearranged appointment, written in advance with permanent marker on God’s calendar and floor plan!
Although I was stationed in the vendor area most of the day, I was able to attend small segments of the conference to hear the guest speaker--Liz Curtis Higgs. She is a hilarious, keeping it real, amazing woman of God.
Do you know what she spoke about at the encouraging joy conference? Suffering.
And do you know which verses she referenced in her talk? (2 Corinthians 4:8-10) . . . The very Scripture passage that I wrote about in my last blog, “Clay Display.”
Another “coincidental” connection? Nope! Only God’s timing and topics could align like this:)
In the middle of the day, I was invited to go into the green room to meet Liz Curtis Higgs. I did not want to monopolize her down time during her lunch break, so I just quickly introduced myself, conveyed how much I enjoy hearing her speak, and thanked her for sharing about her personal health circumstances.
I told Liz that I appreciate how she is using all of her life experiences, including her cancer (with a lower case “c”) to display the glory and presence of Jesus. As I handed her a copy of my book, I expressed that the core message I feel called to communicate is purpose in pain. In bold capital letters, my Introduction on page 7 says, “SUFFERING is one of God’s greatest GIFTS.”
We both agreed that it is not an easy message, and certainly not a perspective that everyone understands or concurs with--but that it is a biblical principle and privilege to share. How affirming it was to hear this parallel viewpoint from the keynote speaker:)
Liz spoke to a packed room of 1,000 women. Although most of us do not preach from a stage, each of us is given an equivalent call to speak. Whether it is in front of a large crowd, or a single interaction with 1 person--our role is the same: Patiently endure suffering. Share our testimonies. Encourage and comfort others. Lead people to Jesus. Give all the praise and glory to God. These are the responsibilities and opportunities given to Christians.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NLT)
We don’t all get to use a microphone and a podium . . . but all of us have a testimony platform to minister.
What does your gift of suffering look like? Who are you able to comfort?
Congratulations Misty . . . you are the blog raffle WINNER from the conference and will be receiving a free copy of Purpose Through Perspective!!!
If you have the heart and desire to encourage someone, but you just don’t know what to say . . . Purpose Through Perspective can be used as your instrument. The words are already written and available to share, but the 30 letters of encouragement need a messenger to deliver them. You can be that person who initiates connective support and offer hope in the midst of painful suffering.