I had the privilege to speak to a group of Christian women bloggers this past weekend at the Declare Conference in Dallas. I spoke about “What To Do When Entering A New Season.” I shared the journey God has taken me on the last year when I lost my job and started Jill Monaco Ministries and Single Matters. I encouraged the ladies from Abram's story in Genesis 12. The first step is to just say yes to God. Leave where you are without knowing where you are going … just say yes.
The other keynote speakers rocked a similar message about what to do in the in-between and how to wait and move at the same time. I find it amusing when God speaks the same message in different ways. Mary DeMuth and Jeff Goins were highlights for sure. It's like God was really telling us that we need to go after our dreams and then be patient as the journey unfolds. God brought three different messages with the same encouragement. I needed these messages as much as the next gal.
These ladies had no idea what I'd been going through the week leading up to speaking to them about such blind faith. I was struggling with making a decision about going on the road for a while. In my preparation for the message, I was preaching to myself. My message was set months ago and yet the weeks leading up to Declare I didn't want to say yes to this new thing I felt called to.
Lately, I have to get in God's presence daily in order to survive another day not knowing if I'm doing the right thing or not. But, once I get settled and rest in God I'm good again for another 24 hours. New mercies every morning haven't meant waking up with the new mercies but going after it again to sustain me in the day.
The morning I was to speak I went to get new mercies from God.
I was praying and pouring out my own insecurities to God. Would they like what I had to say? I'm not in their community and not much of a blogger so would they receive the message I was bringing? I mean, the other key notes were actual authors. I knew I had prayed for a word for them and this was what I sensed God gave me.
As I sat in the stillness of my living room I heard a whisper, “Jill, just love them.” I'd forgotten I had not been chosen to speak because of any wisdom I had but I'd been chosen to speak because of God's love for them. It wasn't about me at all. It was all about them. It was all about God being glorified in them and through me.
I was reminded why I've chosen to serve in ministry. I'm a missionary – not overseas but right here in the United States. I'm here to love people. I have given up security and position in order to make my life a living sacrifice for God. Not because He demands it of me. But, because His love compels me. I can't imagine living any other way. Survival mode is replaced by God mode.
My attention shifted.
I prayed to see them from God's perspective.
As I walked into the conference room I immediately felt excitement. What did God see in them that was so important that He would choose me to be an extension of His love to them? What were they called to do? How could I encourage them specifically? God knew who would be there. And He is a master planner. It was all about to play out before my eyes.
That's when I saw a room full of daughters of the King. Each with a divine purpose and destiny. Each had authority and favor. Yes, they were eating breakfast and chatting it up but it was a room full of women who had already said yes!
Honestly, it was then I thought this is just a big party!
I shared the message God gave me. I even shared some things He didn't give me ahead of time. Things I would've forgotten about if they weren't tweeted. (“I'm free but I'm expensive”. Thanks, Abbie.) I just had a blast.
The breakout sessions were led by some of these amazing women. I learned I should use Google + with Holly and maybe I have a story to tell that needs to be in a book. There are so many things I can do to share the message God has given me.
But the hallway conversations are counted as my favorite part of the weekend.
I have three things running through my head and heart this week because of these ladies:
God let me see the amazing things He is doing with His daughters. I was allowed to pray with them and laugh with them. I feel like I'm a container for their hopes and dreams. I'm privileged to carry them in my heart and pour out my heart in prayer. To cheer them on and cheer them up. Those individual conversations and new relationships are ones I cherish.
This is a tight knit community I want to be a part of forever. If anyone was new, they've found a place to thrive. This tight knit group of women connect on a regular basis. I was invited in and embraced like I was unknowingly lost and but now found. It's not often that you are able to connect with women so quickly and know they sincerely want to keep in touch and support you.
I have a lot of work to do! I'm inspired to chase down bigger dreams because I know that I'm not running alone. I'm re-energized and excited about blogging again. I figure if these mom's can run a household and write so can I! Katie reminded me that writing is escape and release. Since Single Matters has been my main focus, I stopped seeing my writing as a place of expression that fills me.
These women aren't just your ordinary mommy bloggers. They are daughters of the King. Highly favored and adored by God. They are selfless in love and service to each other, their families, the ministries they work with and the less fortunate in the world. Seriously. They are the real deal.
It was a privilege because these women are God's favorite daughters. And He spared no expense to throw this party for them. I got to be a part of what He is doing among them. Like a visitor to the grand castle I got to come to the party I didn't have rights to. Like an pauper who was dressed up so no one would know I'd never been there before.
While I was introduced to the other princesses, I was embraced as one myself.
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It was so wonderful to hear you speak and meet you over the weekend. I was new as well and I agree with what you said about the girls. They were all so welcoming.
Stacey, I couldn’t tell you were new too…hope to see you next time!
I loved getting to hear you speak – what a great message God gave you to share with us and they were words I needed to hear and remind myself of.
What a marvelous weekend.
Deanna, thank you for taking time to leave a comment. I am so encouraged by knowing God spoke to you.
Jill, I really enjoyed reading about your experience at the conference. I too was struck by the common thread of the messages shared by the speakers, saying yes to God but being patient as the details unfold. I was blessed by the message you shared. I love the story of Abram and it’s always such an encouragement to me to step out and say yes to God even when I’m fighting fear. It was a wonderful weekend.
Janet, thank you! I enjoyed looking through your blog too. You are a woman of faith and I hope to get to know you more!
Oh Jill, it was such a blessing to meet you! I loved getting to chat with you for a few minutes before your session!
And oh how I’m encouraged to “just love people” That really is what it’s all about isn’t it?
Amen…and God has a way of putting that in us for people we don’t even know. So glad we got to chat too!