I went to the Pursue the Passion women’s conference this weekend. I know, I know. Any of you reading this that know me well are thinking, She did what?? Women’s conferences are not my thing. I mean, I’m glad to help out, but I’m not one to go. All that having to make small talk with strangers gives me a complex. I’ll always be the awkward one standing in the corner trying not to make eye contact with anyone.
But my precious friend Stephanie called me this past week and said she had ended up with an extra ticket and really felt like it was supposed to be for me. Knowing how I am, she even added “I’ll even protect you from all the icebreakers.” Love that girl.
Now normally I would have probably been able to give her an easy no. But this particular conference was different. I’d met Noelle, the speaker, before and honestly when I heard it would be her, I really did want to go. Noelle is a Godly and gifted woman and I was intrigued to hear what she had to say. So I went.
And ya’ll. Thank God I did. Thank God for Stephanie for asking me. Thank God for Shannon, who sat next to me yesterday and spoke truth after truth to me. Thank God for Meredith, whose songs pierced my heart. Thank God for Noelle, whose words spoke to places in me that have felt so numb.
Saturday morning Noelle spoke about David and Goliath. Her message was so good and I’ll share more about that in another post, but as she was reading the scripture to us from 1 Samuel 17, a part jumped out at me that I’ve read hundreds of times and never really thought much of:
A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.
~ 1Sa 17:4-7 NIV
Ya’ll Goliath had armor. Now just stay with me for a sec.
The theme for this year’s conference was Stand Firm, taken from Ephesian 6 where Paul is describing for us the armor of God.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
~ Eph 6:14-17 NIV
Do you see it? God has given us armor to wear…truth and righteous and peace and faith and salvation. But don’t you know that the enemy always makes a perverted counterfeit of God’s gifts?
I had been walking through a season of deep confusion even before I ever left my church. I was trying to see God through a cloud of anger and hurt and frustration and eventually the fog got so thick that when I felt the cold hand of the enemy reach through, I allowed myself to be drawn away from the path God had me on.
And so the enemy comes and says, Here. I have better armor. See? God’s armor doesn’t protect you from the pain. But mine will. Here’s a bunch of lies to set the foundation and hold everything together. And here. Here’s some self-righteousness to make you feel better about your anger. Oh, and don’t forget isolation. Because that will keep you safe from the wounds others inflict.
Satan is a master at what he does. He’s been doing it long enough that he’s had plenty of time to perfect his craft. And he almost had it perfect.
Until God’s truth broke through. And I could feel that cold slimy armor being peeled off a piece at the time.
God never intended for us to walk in faith alone. God never intended for us to push through in our own strength. And that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do. I need my armor and I need my sisters.
Friend, whose armor are you wearing?
PS. Check out this clip from the movie 300.
Faith works so much better when there’s others around you holding their shield too. And when your shield gets full of arrows from the enemy and you just don’t have the strength to chop them off, God sends another warrior to do it for you. Thank you to all my warriors this weekend. Love you all.