Friday, October 28, 2016

From a Shirt to a Stage.

This weekend I participated in Unify Phx; a conference that brought together women from over 40 different churches across Phoenix. The theme of the conference was to reflect Unity among the people of Christ; the Church. This conference was not for a religious organization or a set denomination or a certain culture or any of those types of variables. It was for 2 groups of people; those who follow Christ and those who don't and both were present.

My friend Christin, called me out of the azure-blue and asked if I would be willing to participate. Christin and I met through Mending the Soul and she suggested my name to the lead team for this conference. A different gal, Erica, supported the idea because she was also in one of my Mending the Soul classes. That's how I got involved; 2 nearly new friends, from 2 different churches connected through 2 different MTS classes. Different people, different backgrounds, coming together to share what we have in common. Pretty much the premise of the conference.

Shirt By: Radiance on Fire

The conference began on a Friday night and as I moved about the building, helping to set up before the doors opened, I kept passing a vendor table that had this shirt on display. I walked by this table at least 20 times. Each time I passed that shirt and read the message, my eyes filled with tears and I would almost lose it. Somehow, I kept myself in check but literally every single time I'd walk by, my eyes were drawn to that shirt and message.

Worthless. For so many years, Worthless is exactly who I was. It was my name and my label. I was Worthless to my family, worthless in school, worthless in every job and worthless in every relationship. I was worthless in every interaction, every encounter, every meeting. Worthless permeated my every thought, every emotion, every action. I couldn't get away from being Worthless.

Then Jesus happened. Jesus drew a line through Worthless and wrote Priceless. Over time, I began to understand He changed my name and my label long before I was ever aware of it. He convinced me Worthless was never who I was to begin with. My testimony was on a shirt and I could barely handle it.

The following day, I sat on the stage, with nerves like spaghetti. I wished I had the shirt I had just walked by again. I would have worn it on stage, pointed to the message and said "This is it, this is my story. Love you, mean it, peace out." Drop the mic.

Brene Brown wrote in Daring Greatly, "Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up." I didn't feel brave, I felt shaky and sweaty but I showed up alongside 4 other women and together, we owned our stories. Together, we allowed ourselves to be seen and known. Together, we showed courage through vulnerability. Together we stood as One. I don't think I could have done it any other way. One thing for certain, the deep bond the 5 of us experienced will be remembered for a lifetime.

There's this myth that life becomes stagnant and stifling when you commit to Christ. I have found nothing to be further from the truth. What I did last weekend was the equivalent to riding white water rapids down a roaring river. It was crazy and scary and intense. It was also fulfilling and satisfying to allow God to take my ashes and use them for a good purpose.

That said, I'm ready for a paddle board and maybe a lazy river, ya know? There is another story to tell from this conference but I'll share another day.

From a shirt to a stage,