The Ripple Effect
I had the honor of attending the Akron Women on Purpose Conference on March 2, 2019. The theme for this year’s conference was the simple word “ripple”. I didn’t grasp immediately what the connection would be between women of faith and this small word, but after attending, this conference changed my whole life, how I see myself, how I see others and further catapulted me into walking into my purpose.
What I love most about the conference is that there were several speakers who were unknown. They were not pastors wives or ministers and their were no titles in front of their names. They were simple women like you and me with extraordinary stories to share about the awesome move of God in their lives. They were real women with real issues. They did not hold back. They were transparent and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they shared their various stories with all who were present. And I needed to hear and hang on every single word.
I want to share some nuggets from this conference with you in hopes that it will change your life and that you will be beyond blessed by God and this awesome ministry. Here is what stood out for me:
MY ROCK CAN CAUSE A RIPPLE. Imagine that you are near a body of water with rocks in your hand. Those rocks can represent something negative or something positive. It can represent hurt, anger, depression, frustration, etc. It can also represent something good. Maybe you had a prayer answered. Maybe the path that you should go on is finally revealed to you. Maybe someone was healed. Maybe you are preparing to walk into the next chapter of your life. Now imagine yourself throwing that rock into a body of water. What do you see? Ripples. Depending on the purpose of the rock in your hand identifies what the ripples represent. But what I want you to remember here is that YOU caused a ripple and that means YOU are important and you have influence and you have the ability to change your atmosphere. YOU have to decide if it will be positive or negative.
STOP HOLDING ON WITH CONTROL AND TRUST GOD. In other words, stop praying to God for Him to move in your life or someone else’s life, then you get in His way. You want to control things. You only give God part of it and not all of it. Move out of the way and let God be God. We have to learn to trust God even if we are not sure of the outcome. Trusting God completely is very hard to do, especially when we are not sure of the outcome. But the blessing is not in the trusting, it is in the waiting.
I’M ENOUGH. These two words are so powerful. I am enough just the way God made me. I am reminded here of the story of David. When it came time to select a new king, David was overlooked because he didn’t look the part. He didn’t act the part. He didn’t have what it took to be a king. Or so it appeared. God had a plan for David’s life and that included him being king and no one could change that. I want to encourage a woman who may be reading this to not feel jealous if someone is asked to do something and you weren’t. Don’t get upset because someone else has doors opening for them, and you’re not. Don’t get frustrated because no on one is paying attention or noticing you. Sometimes, our purpose may be in the background and not upfront. God is telling you that you are just enough for the plan he has for you. He created you to play the part He designed just for you.
DEPRESSION HAD ALWAYS BEEN MY DRUG OF CHOICE. Okay. This isn’t a positive statement like the others, but I think so many of us deal with some form of depression. We think we’re not worthy enough. We can’t deal with the report from the doctor. It seems like the family is going crazy. Financial issues are mounting. If it isn’t one thing, it’s something else. We’re human, life happens but we can’t let the enemy make us feel like life is over. For me, it’s a daily battle. I have to constantly encourage myself on a daily basis. Even though I am married and I have a family, sometimes I feel alone. My father pays no attention to me and that makes me feel alone and rejected and it is so easy for me to slip into depression. I don't know about you but there are so many little prayers that I have to pray every day just to make it through the day. But I have learned that PRAYER DOES CHANGE THINGS. PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!
BEING FRUSTRATED WITH GOD’S PLAN. Sometimes, God’s plans are uncomfortable. It doesn’t always feel good. It’s not always easy. Sometimes, the result takes a lot longer than the patience that we have to wait for it. Have you ever thought that sometimes our pain, our disappointment, or issues are part of God’s plan? Do you ever stop and ask God what lesson am I supposed to learn from this? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if God just gave us the answer? It’s all about trusting God even when we don’t know what the outcome is going to be. I think about Moses. He was told to lead God’s people out of Egypt and he didn’t want to do it. Moses was obedient to God’s command, but wow, those Israelites gave Moses such a hard time. They complained to him while he was trying to lead them to the Promised Land and some of them thought they were better off as slaves. Moses probably thought that because God was in it, then everything would run smoothly. There is nothing in God’s word that says everything would run smoothly. My son shared with me that when he got saved, everything went wrong. That’s because the enemy is trying to stop the plan. Stay rooted in the word of God so the plan doesn’t stop, even when it is frustrating. God knows more than what we will ever know.
STOP SHUTTING DOORS THAT THE LORD IS OPENING FOR YOU. This is where an intimate relationship with God comes into play. The reason why the relationship needs to be intimate is because you need to know the voice of God. You need to know when He is speaking to you. You then need to move yourself out of the way. We as women tend to talk too much. We second guess ourselves. We take advice from the wrong people. If it doesn’t feel right to us, make sense to us, or we are not comfortable with it, then we end up making moves that God did not tell us to make. If you are not hearing the voice of God, then you need to examine the level of intimacy you have with Him.
WITH OR WITHOUT GOD, REGARDLESS, YOU’RE GOING TO GO THROUGH SOMETHING. My little great-niece, Phoenix, who is two years old, has a favorite movie called Trolls. Two of the main characters are Poppy who is always the happy troll, and Branch, who is typically the mean troll. He tells Poppy that “the world isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows”. Yes, I know this is a kid’s movie, but spiritually, there is so much truth to this statement. Just because we have made the choice to walk with the Lord doesn’t mean we are exempt from pain, heartache and disappointments. At some point, life will hit us. We will all be faced with a difficult situation or circumstance that we have to deal with. I know it is hard to do, but this is not the time to walk away from God. This is the time to get closer to Him. We can’t just pray to God and walk with Him when everything is going good. The real test is when nothing is going right in your life. You’re going to have to go through it. Will you go through it with God, or without Him? Your relationship with God should not shift becuase a problem arises. Take hold of His hand and keep it moving. Yes, there will be tears, heartache and pain, but I rather walk with Him through it, than without Him.
BECAUSE OF THE BAD THINGS I WILL ALLOW IN YOUR LIFE, PEOPLE WILL KNOW ME. People are watching us. People are watching how we act. People are watching how we react. People want to know how we are going to handle this situation or that situation. People really want to see if the faith we proclaim is true. With that said, when negative situations come upon us, can we still hold onto our faith in the midst of it? Or, will we break down and allow the enemy to win? Your life may be the only God that people see.
FEAR CALLS OUT OUR DOUBTS BUT GOD CALLS OUT OUR NAMES. When we are afraid, we can’t move. Fear and faith cannot co-exist. When we are fearful, doubt sets in. Our trust in God diminishes. We begin to believe the lies of the enemy. We begin to believe that we are not important enough, that we are not worthy enough, that we can’t handle it, that we are not capable enough, that we cannot finish the task. But God is telling you to focus on Him, and not your situation. He’s calling you to move in Him, Jessica. He’s asking you to overcome fear with your faith, Karen. He is telling you not to doubt yourself, Gina. He is telling you not to believe the lies you are told about you, Suzanne. He doesn’t want you to think you’re not important enough, Kim. Whatever your name is, God loves you just the way your are.
He’s calling your name. He is trying to tell you that your ripple can move mountains.
He’s calling your name. There is something that He wants you to do. Are you listening?
Thank you Akron Women on Purpose for allowing your ripple to change lives.
Forever Hoping for You,