Last weekend, I spoke at the beautiful Camp Lebanon near Upsula, Minn., where 200 women gathered to meet with God. It was a glorious weekend.
But something troubled me.
Though my messages went well and the women seemed to track with me, I felt something blocking God's blessings for these women. It's one thing to hear a nice message; it's another thing to be transformed by the very presence of God.
Each night at bedtime, I curled up in a ball, hugged my pillow and prayed. I prayed for the women and their precious hearts. I prayed for myself, that I might be a reliable messenger. I asked God to please show me if I was missing anything. Anything.
In addition to speaking at the main sessions, I offered to lead a Power Walk and teach a Power Stretch class. We had a great time together.
Sunday morning, I prayed in the shower, I prayed while blow-drying my hair and I prayed as I put my clothes on for the day. I prayed that God would speak to me and through me.
I grabbed my socks off the floor and put them on my feet. They weren't especially clean. OK, they were dirty. The Power Walk had taken its toll on my little white socks. But no one would see them under my black boots, right?
The whisper across my heart surprised me: "You might want to put on some clean socks."
I prayed that profound prayer again: "Huh?"
The Lord continued speaking to my heart: "You might want to put on some clean socks because you'll be removing your shoes in the service today. I want you to ask everyone to remove their shoes this morning because they are on holy ground. This is the Sabbath day, and it's to be regarded as holy. These are My beloved ones, and they need to see themselves that way. My call is profoundly high, and all need to consider it so. Re-establish the fact that I am a holy God and you are My people."
My knees were instantly weak, and my eyes welled up with tears.
I bowed my head and prayed. I committed the morning to the Lord, and I went and found the worship leader. I asked her to add a certain song to her list. I couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my face. She asked, "Are you okay? Do you feel sick?"
I replied, "God has something special for these women this morning, and I don't want even one of them to miss it."
The worship was powerful, and the stage was set.
When the time came for me to take the stage, I was all choked up. I shared what the Lord had shown me that morning. I added, "God's arms are full of things He intended to give you this weekend. Some of you run the risk of leaving this place without ever receiving what He has offered; maybe it's because of a hardness of heart; maybe because of unbelief. But I ask you to humble yourself. Look up. Open your hands. Receive what He so lovingly wants to give. All too often, we wear yesterday's dirty rags when daily, God offers new mercies to us. He has a new thing for you today. Receive it."
Women responded right away.
I put on a beautiful song, and with the lights down, we took off our shoes. Many kneeled to the ground. Quiet sobs of repentance erupted. The room became a sanctuary.
Many women came forward and received the prayer and encouragement they so desperately needed.
Something broke loose that morning, and we were all so blessed to be there.
You know, without even thinking about it, many of us put on yesterday's rags. The rags of sameness, of doubt, of unbelief, of cynicism.
But what about expectancy? What about hope? What about God's promise to do a new thing in our midst?
In this world, we are promised to have troubles. But we're also promised overwhelming victory. Overwhelming. Victory.
No circumstance can keep us from a fruitful, powerful, thriving life.
But our unbelief can.
Dear Lord, forgive us for the countless times we've picked up our dirty socks and put them on our feet without even thinking about it. May we remember anew each day that the earth is Yours and everything in it! May we embrace today that You've offered fresh mercies and new garments to Your people. May we slow down long enough to receive the peace and the comfort You so willingly offer us. And forgive us for the many times we've treated holy opportunities as common, everyday occurrences. You are everywhere. And we matter to You. What a privilege it is to be linked in fellowship with You. May we never take that for granted. Thank You for Your great and unexplainable love. Amen.
Here's to new days and new garments of praise!
Adapted from Susie Larson's blog. Susie is an author, speaker and radio host for KTIS in Minnesota and Focus on the Family. Visit Susie's web site at susielarson.com.