Experiencing God is something I long for every day. I want to feel His presence and see Him at work. I look for Him. I can see Him in the sunrise and sunsets. Often times in the hill country the sky will get so dark at night that the stars alone leave me in awe and wonder. It takes my breath away. The word tells us, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1 I never fail to find Him when I get alone with Him in His creation. If you are experiencing distance and you can’t seem to feel as though He is there, go outside…alone…in the peace and quiet and look into the heavens, you will experience Him.
Sometimes you can experience Him just in time to rescue you from the pit of despair. This happened to me at a “She Speaks” conference in North Carolina in 2011. One of my besties invited me to come along with her to a conference hosted by Proverbs 31 ministries. She felt a calling to learn how to write, blog and share God with the world. Many ladies in our community came together and raised the money for her to go. It was a moment that she “experienced” God. She didn’t want to go alone. I accepted the invitation and found myself signing up for leadership classes. I was not a writer and would never be able to share God with the world in that way (Ha…never say never)! Meredith and I took completely different classes. After each class we would meet up and share what we learned. If you have ever been on a women’s retreat you know the mountain top moments you can experience. Meredith was on a cloud. Her light and excitement was through the roof. I on the other hand was somber and still. During this season of my life I had experienced a huge heartbreak in some friendships. This heartbreak left me hurting and crying at night for weeks. I needed to heal, but I didn’t know how. I wasn’t feeling Him and He seemed distant from me. A sweet friend texted me that weekend saying she was praying for me and sent me a verse. I highlighted it in my bible. I let the words sink in,
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Wow, what a beautiful God! He is mighty to SAVE! He takes delight in YOU, He quiets you with His LOVE, He REJOICES over you with singing. I needed to hear those words. He used a friend from home to speak to me. I couldn’t stop reading it. I found myself with a break in my schedule and went to the prayer room to be alone. The leaders of Proverbs 31 had prayed over each lady in attendance. There were over 600 ladies. They had placed each ladies name and the verse they prayed on tables in the prayer room. I wanted to find my name and verse, so I went searching to find it. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I had made it to the 5th table when I saw a name that stood out to me. Rivera Douthit, now that is a unique name, I thought to myself. At the time I lived on a street named Riviera Drive. The similarity drew me to her name…right under her name is where I found mine. Her name stuck with me. I met back up with Meredith and she was giddy with excitement. She had been partnered up with a “Prayer Partner” in her class and she wanted me to meet her. They had agreed to meet up at dinner.
Dinner came and Meredith was anxiously looking around the room for her. She found her and took me over to introduce us. She said, “Gennie, please meet my new friend Carole.” Carole also had a friend and she introduced us to her. She said, “Let me introduce you to my friend RIVERA!” WHAT! Really! What are the odds? I gasped, “Are you Rivera Douthit?” She was in a state of shock herself. She was the RIVERA DOUTHIT right above my name in the prayer room. I told them how I had learned of her name. She said, “We must be meant to be “Prayer Partners” too. We exchanged cell phone numbers and got back to our dinner tables. I met her for five whole minutes at the conference. When I got home I reached out through a text and she reached back. We started praying for each other. Our relationship grew. We were both intentional with each other. Relationships take effort, time, and nurturing in order for them to grow and be fruitful. We were growing. She is a writer and speaker in North Carolina. I prayed with her as she wrote her first book, and I watched God do amazing things through her words in Intimacy.
Our women’s ministry was planning a beautiful evening for the women in our community. We wanted to have a guest speaker, so guess who came! Rivera and Carole!!! Carole led us in worship and Rivera brought the beautiful message.
We had over 200 women come and join us that evening. It was truly a Holy night, and it took place exactly a year ago today. 6 ladies accepted Christ into their heart. I was humbled to my knees. Our God had orchestrated not only a beautiful and lasting friendship from above, but a beautiful evening where He was mighty to save six more! “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” YES, He is the GREAT I AM! He can use us in our brokenness, even when we can’t feel Him, He is there…orchestrating His master plan and pursuing us even in the midst of our pain and sufferings.
The story doesn’t end there. Rivera had met another sister in Christ at another conference. They had been put together by the leading of the Lord. The weekend that Rivera and Carole came to Texas, Sheri came too. Here’s the neat part about Sheri, she and I grew up in the same small town of Mt. Pleasant, TX. Her mom had taught my husband and sister, and Sheri had even coached my sister in volleyball.
Through Rivera, the two of us Mt. Pleasant gals came together and all of us had a beautiful evening of sharing our God stories. We even had the opportunity to minister to a homeless man at one of the downtown Dallas Starbucks. God is so neat and so BIG that we really can’t even comprehend His GREATNESS. He can bring two small town girls together through another girl in North Carolina. He can move mountains and part the red seas. He can bring a message from our messes! What a mighty God we serve.
So here’s some questions to think about this week and challenge you as you seek to experience Him. Do you look for Him? Do you spend time in His creation or in His Holy word? When you do experience Him, do you PRAISE Him? Do you spend time nurturing the relationships He has given you? Do you want them to grow and prosper? He gives them to us, but it requires work on our part. Are you willing to put in the work? Who is He nudging you to reach out to today? Be brave and obedient and reach out!
Here are more invitations for you to experience Him. Visit Meredith’s blog, Murray Crew, as she and her husband share ways for couples to grow closer together. Visit Rivera’s blog, Rivera Douthit, and buy her book Intimacy – In To Me You See sold on-line at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble, you will be blessed in reading it. Finally, support my sister, Sheri Brown DiMaggio, as she and others take a mission trip to Belize to help be the hands and feet of Christ. They are selling these shirts to help get them there. Remember how Meredith got to North Carolina, through other faithful servant’s giving and look at the ways in which God has worked, new friendships, new believers in Christ, we can’t even count all the ways. Visit their PayPal account today to order. If Sheri is able to raise enough funds to go on her trip she wants to give $5 for every shirt purchased toward abolishing human trafficking. Can you see their BIG hearts for Christ? It’s one of the many reasons why I love them! Be blessed as you go seek Him. He promises us, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Get to seeking friends!!!