“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” –
When I arrived at the Co-Lab conference in Chicago a few weeks ago, I was feeling tired, inside and out. I had been traveling a lot, working hard, and logging many “extra” hours working to raise funding. I had been asked to speak on the topic of reaching professional Christian women, and I knew it was a great opportunity, but honestly, what I really wanted was a reprieve.
I wanted deep sleep. I wanted a long run. I wanted a break. But what I needed was rest.
I needed the kind of rest that only God can provide. And He did provide. It came in the form of a stranger (now a friend!), a young blond woman, who approached me and gently spoke a few simple but bold words:
“Can I pray for you?”
Stephanie was a conference attendee who, like me, feels called to minister to women. She founded Legacy Living Ministries to help train the next generation to love the Lord and crave His Word. We hadn’t met before, but she sensed that I needed prayer, and she acted.
Stephanie’s prayer for me changed my heart that day and refreshed my soul. I will never forget it.
A few days after returning home, I learned that I wasn’t the only one who Stephanie impacted in that way. I received a note from a woman named Kris, who I’d met at Co-Lab. Kris wrote that she had also entered the conference on a weary note, worried about family issues, including transitioning her father to a new assisted living facility. After hearing about Kris’s family situation, Stephanie reflected a moment, then tearfully spoke Acts 17:24-27:
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”
Kris told me she felt surprised and incredibly blessed to be ministered to in that way; especially since Stephanie is about the age of the young women Kris herself typically mentors.
Stephanie is a remarkable young woman and I feel honored to know her, but I don’t share these stories with you as a tribute to her, and I don’t think she would want me to. Too often when people hear stories like this, they think that what Stephanie did is something other people do; people who are better prepared or especially gifted. But it’s not. What Stephanie did was to open herself up to God, to lean in to Him, and to trust in His direction.
God doesn’t expect us to be perfectly prepared or prescient, He asks us to be obedient.
At Co-lab that weekend, God used Stephanie’s obedience to make a difference in the lives of those around her.
Brimming with absolute inspiration? SCH recommends more lovely words of encouragement ~ A Real Partner
Diane Paddison has held several executive positions for corporations, including Chief Operating Officer for two Fortune 500 companies, Trammell Crow (now CB Richard Ellis) and ProLogis. She is currently the Chief Strategy Officer at the commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley, and the founder of 4WordWomen, a national nonprofit designed to connect, lead and support young professional Christian women to fulfill their God-given potential.
Click here to learn more about Diane Paddison