[This past weekend, Niki and I led a Christian leadership training conference. I had a different experience than I expected – not bad, just different. I shared a little bit about the way I was feeling with one of the women at the conference. This was a note I received from her the next day. Talk about strengthening, encouraging, and life giving!]
I came home all “high” from our time this weekend. I will warn you in advance, I am going to ramble in this email, but I feel like I have something to say to you, so I am just going to say it in the way that God tells me to. I feel, for once, as though I am speaking from some sort of real place of belief and feeling of knowing what it is that God wants me to say.
First, I want to say that this weekend, while amazing in its own right, was not amazing in the way the first conference was. The first conference brought me to my knees. It broke away strongholds in my life, tore down some demonic influences in my life, literally ripped away scars of my old life and replaced them with smooth, clean skin, like that of a baby. This conference brought me to a new place (and for what it’s worth, it brought others there, too, judging by conversations I had). It brought me to a place of authority (and I mean that in the most humble of ways), in Christ’s name. It brought me to a place I felt I needed to go…to be able to speak into people’s lives and know that it is okay if I was not always right, as long as I was in tune to Christ and the essence of His words get through.
It’s been a real struggle of mine to feel that what I say has value, even when I know that what I want to say is of Christ. For once, I felt that, even if I did not get everything right, I was speaking by the authority of Christ…that it was not by my own words people would find some sort of conviction, redemption, healing, or comfort, but that I was just a vessel through which God could speak. WOW! What an amazing revelation! For ONCE, I realized it was NOT ABOUT ME! It literally did not matter what I had to say…it only mattered what Jesus had to speak to each person.
So, on to my next point. I believe that God wants you to know that you still have value in this church and in His Body of Christ. In fact, your value has increased. I get the sense that you feel the glory has been stripped away. Not that you feel the glory has been stripped away from you as a person, but that the glory of God has been stripped away from the work that you and Niki are doing because you are not *feeling* it. That is SO NOT THE CASE! You and Niki are amazing vessels through which God’s work and instruction and guidance flows, much as you encourage all of us to be as vessels.
Sure, every person has a place in which they are learning along with everyone else. You and Niki did that in the first two conferences (SLC I)! You and Niki are now in a place, I believe, where the rubber meets the road…where God has taken you from pupil to teacher. Yes, you’ve been teachers since you took on the commission to which God assigned you in beginning the church, but you have not felt that, I believe, until now. I can only imagine that it’s actually a lonely and scary and actually sad place, to feel as though you are *there* and we are *here.*
I do hope you take heart in realizing that it is yours and Niki’s instruction that is getting all of us who know relatively nothing to the next station to which God has commissioned us. I believe that you and Niki were “pupils” in the first two conferences and now you are “instructors.” For the first time since I have been under your “tutelage” did I feel that for once you were not learning along side us, but rather you were simply guiding us; that God did not bring you to the SLC II to have a profound experience, but rather to usher others through their own profound experiences. In fact, I think He intentionally blocked you from feeling what we felt so that it would not be about your own learning (which I think has been a marker in your life — the constant state of being a learner rather than an instructor…well, now you are an instructor).
So, last point…the scripture I immediately got after all of this is John 13, where Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. And the particular part of scripture I feel that should be pointed out is John 13: 6-17:
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’
Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’
‘No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’
Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’
‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well’
Jesus answered, ‘A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’ […]
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Kelly, you and Niki washed our feet this weekend. You showed us what it was like for it to not be about you and Niki, but rather about God. And even further, about the work He is doing in each of us, even if it has nothing to do with you and Niki. I believe it was apparent to everyone this weekend, unlike the last conference, that you were not “part” of the conference, but more like a guide or usher.
Kelly, honestly, I am grateful that it was not about you and Niki and your “feeling” the conference. I think that is the way it was supposed to be. I think you were both supposed to take back seats and see the fruit of your labor. Sort of like farmers taking surveillance of the crop. Maybe a satisfaction, but not getting to eat of the crop that you harvested because you know it is actually fruit meant for other people.
I love you and I am so thankful that you are the farmer who has been chosen to harvest this crop. Even if you don’t get to taste the sweet reward, know that others are nourished because of your hard work.