Every aspect of Unify Phx, was intentional to draw women to a place of surrender. Kristin Pattison, incredibly passionate, spoke about the race we run and how we often get on the circular track that leads no where. "The track is great...until it isn't". However, there is a path that has been paved just for us by God. We need to be on that path and then she said words I needed to hear, "Live Carefree". I'd fallen back into a familiar pattern; don't make a mistake, don't be embarrassing, don't be so emotional. When Kristin spoke those words, clarity and conviction washed over me. I know what walking in Freedom looks and feels like, how did I fall back into caring so much about what others might think or say of me? Walking in freedom is like being in a recovery program, you gotta work the steps or you'll relapse. And I had relapsed.
Later we were afforded an opportunity to write something we wanted to surrender. I wrote "My pride. So I can I walk in absolute Freedom." I stepped forward and hung that on the cross with a fresh resolve to walk in Freedom. Getting back on the path paved for me.
The next morning as I dressed and prepared for the conference. I wore a tie die shirt with leopard print shoes telling myself ' I am not going to care that this does not match. These shoes are comfortable and these are the shoes I want to wear today.' At the conference, I sang out every song during the worship set, not caring if my voice was off pitch. I was back on the path of freedom paved just for me.
That morning, Cherie Wagner, a truly gifted teacher nailed home points about divisions in the body of the church. She shared how important and critical unity is among this body of people. Her message resonated deeply and stirred a fire in me to break down barriers, to be united, to stand as one with others. I was inspired to be part of bringing people together in Unity.
As the conference came to a close, we once again sang a beautiful song, Unify, by worship leader and songwriter Dianne Michelle who crafted this amazing song for this conference. As we sang the first verse, I was inspired to move towards the front row of women and grab the ladies hands on each side of the aisle and stand together, united as one. But Pride taunted "What will they think? What if no one follows you? It'll be awkward. Don't do it." I stayed where I was, glued to the ground as we began to sing the chorus.
The next verse came and I wanted to break down barriers, be united, stand as one with the women around me but the pride of fear stopped me. I looked behind me, quickly scanning for a familiar face. Maybe if we made eye contact, they would follow my cue. No one I knew was behind me. We started the last chorus and a gentle whisper came, "Pride was hung on the cross Friday night." I was quietly reminded of my actions on Friday night. I was standing in a tie die shirt with leopard print shoes and singing about unity in a roomful of women spiritually united but physically divided.
I abruptly grabbed the ladies hand on my left, she was surprised but I didn't let that stop me. Like a train I pulled her with me to the other side of the aisle and grabbed the hand of another surprised lady and I stood in the middle of the aisle. No barriers, united, standing as one, we raised our hands and I sang that last chorus like I meant it. If anyone had looked closely they would have seen my legs trembling. When the song ended, I hugged both those ladies for standing with me but I could tell, they felt the unity too, just like I did and they hugged me back. The lady from across the aisle whispered in my ear "Thank you."
Days later, I saw this picture and I cried over it. I had no idea the row behind me joined hands and stood together too. I thought I was alone in that aisle standing for unity but I wasn't. That's what makes me cry whenever I see this picture. Poignantly captured in this picture is a moment that represents the absence of pride and the presence of Freedom through Unity. So when the next Unify Phx takes place, let's go together, as One.
From Struggle to Surrender,