Click for theme song… Beautiful Things
So this last weekend was my annual hiatus from daily life…the ladies retreat. This is my third year to go and my third time to be altered. The first year you could read about under my
“The Boots,” blog post. It rearranged my mind, heart and focus. The Lord brought me to my knees so that He could lovingly reach down and pick me up into His arms! I wish I could on about it, bc I will never forget how awesome the Lord shined into my brokeness…but I have a dinner in the crock pot that would waste if I took the time, so onto this years treasure.
I have learned by now to just expect God to meet me in this place and break me. In the last 2 years I have had one of many “come to Jesus meetings” there. This year I planned on asking for it! Yes a “come to Jesus meeting” usually hurts, but I’ve been taught by my Master that it always ends good. So I began praying a couple of weeks before for my Lord to get me ready and meet me there with yet another reckoning. Last year He taught me about how sufficient His grace is; therefore, I need not continue to try to control…control….control! We will call year one-the boot kick, year two -grace not trac (short for traci…that’s me in case you didn’t pick up on my wittiness), and let’s name year three -square 2. The Lord showed me that I have moved thru square 1 and now He’s talking to me about what is in square 2! I liked it! I didn’t need a reckoning this year bc I’m growing!! Wow! Did I say I like it? As much as I am eternally grateful for the reckonings that He used to “chisel” off the junk, I am really encouraged that I surrendered myself to Him this year and He said, “You’re doing alright kid! I just want to let you know I have some plans and I want you to be talking to Me about them A LOT!!!” He did remind me of the spiritual warfare that is going on around me and that if I intend on winning those in this lifetime, I better see it for the fight that it is and get in my fighting stance…aka my knees! I better listen hard and step only when told to, bc as I may now be ready for some field action…I am also still very inadequate without my Commanding Officer giving me step by step orders. Also I need power that I do not possess in order to win the fight for the flocks that He has me in charge of. It’s not just my life on the line…I have a slew of people. And I need to see this fight for what it is. For some it is their success and crowns from this life, for others losing means eternal damnation….neither of these are powder puff decisions; therefore they do not require powder puff christianity. In other words, I better not be harboring any Joel Olsteen, “Your best life now,” bullcrap…I better be ready to get dirty, get hurt and be tired. But also ready to watch the Master rain victory down on those that desperately need Him. A treasure full of blessing is what I believe Paul would call that!
I sit here now with great anticipation, but also some human fear. Will I be strong enough to hold tight to the Lord and wise enough to see the attacks when they come, not once I am in the midst of them? Am I faithful enough to do what He asks? Am I selfless enough to sacrafice? Am I dilligent enough to perservere? Am I humble enough to stay usable? I have so much more on the line now. The truth is I am none of those things unless I take one day at a time…one quiet time at a time…one prayer at a time and one God ordered step at a time. And as much as I’d like to say I’ve learned that lesson so, “I’ve got this.” I will fail somewhere, sometime, somehow. But because my God is more faithful than I…I can count on Him to discipline those He loves, encourage pure hearts, and give rest to the weary. I can trust that, “He’s got this.”
My prayer is not only that I will endure, but that I will have my prayer warriors adding to my strength, my mentors holding me accountable, and my God making beautiful things out of us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a story I shared with Jen Hatmaker and wanted to share it with the whole world. God is so good to me I could post a million praises, but this story is just really neat and God-like.
I have to tell you this story that has been such a “thing that God would do.” One week ago I was preparing for my first ever ladies retreat at Falls Creek. The biggest thing on my mind was…”what am I going to wear?” So I had a cute little summer dress and I thought, “Ya know those cowboy boots you have been wanting for 3 years (all of my hints to my husband obviously fell on deaf ears) would look mighty fine w/that dress.” So I had just enough time to run to Sheplers (I had already located them and all) to buy them. Now the reason I hadn’t purchased them earlier was b/c they cost almost $300!! I am a shopper but I prefer my bargains in the $100 range. So I decided that a women’s retreat (that is about Jesus) certainly warranted a nice pair of boots…a treat for my faithfulness! ah hem So I’m driving and get about 30 minutes into the trip (I live almost an hour away from the store) and something turns me around. I just couldn’t finish my bratty adventure. I go to the Ladies Retreat and am managing to have a good time (even w/o the boots). And then Jen Hatmaker spoke about a barefoot church… I was so moved and convicted I was bawling thru the last half of her teaching. God has had me “in the fields eating grass with the beasts” for some time…preparing me. Let me back up a minute. Since I didn’t get the boots I had packed capris and flip flops…expecting warm weather. So Saturday morning when I awoke to cold and wet I was a little upset. I wore my flip flops and capris to breakfast, but got cold and wet! So we went back to the cabin and I changed…I put on my pj pants (the only long pants i had) and the very nice distressed, beloved BCBG boots that I had worn to the retreat (the only closed toed shoes I had w/me). I looked like a dork but I didn’t care, I was warm and dry. Ok back to Jen and the barefoot church…as i am sitting there convicted… crying…humbled …I hear God, “I want your boots.” Traci, “What?” God, “I want your boots.” Traci, “God what is Jen going to do w/one pair of boots? And besides I will interrupt her.” So I sit and as God does He brings me to a point of surrender. So I say, “Ok as soon as I see a good time I will give my boots and anything else You want, but why?.” God, “I want your boots b/c I want your will.”
Then Jen started talking about a women’s shelter and anyone who feels led can come up and donate…so I get up and give my boots and my socks (socks were old and worn…they were for the barefoot emphasis). Then I come back and give my bible…if anything could help someone, right? Anyway I come home a changed person telling everyone I can tie down about what happened to me (my dad included). And I tell them that not only had God picked me up and changed me but He was also merciful by stopping me from buying the boots that I wanted b/c if I would have, I’d have been wearing them Saturday and would no longer own them. About 3 weeks later, my dad, my faithful blessing of a dad, calls me and tells me that he had won a contest at work. He is a salesmen and he sold the most of his stuff so he won and is getting a big bonus. Then he tells me that he wants to buy me MY BOOTS!!! Oh my I was overwhelmed with emotion. I cried, I tried to tell him no. But he said this isn’t me this is God giving you these boots and I want you to receive it like that. WOW!!! Mentally i started thinking WWJD…I’ll take my dad’s money and give it away. No that is not what he said…receive it as God’s gift. Ok so I think, how awesome it will be that as I wear the boots, I have an incredible testimony every time someone says, “I like those boots.” GOD IS GOOD! I had to share this. I am not just praising Him b/c I got these awesome boots, but b/c He revealed a miracle to me and let me feel His awesome presence… and most importantly grew my faith and knowledge of His mighty love.
I love my boots!