So, Friday night at Deeper Still, I was sitting there listening to Kay Arthur introduce what she was going to talk about, and my mind wondered off, as it’s sometimes known to do. I was jerked back to Kay when I heard her say the word “suicide.” She was talking about her book, When the Hurt Runs Deep: Healing and Hope for Life’s Desperate Moments and how she wrote a chapter on suicide and the publisher cut it because people might be offended or something, and she was like no, that needs to be in there, people need to read that, and the chapter was put back in. I knew small bits of her story from Anointed Transformed Redeemed, but I either didn’t know or I didn’t remember that her husband of many years ago had committed suicide. It was five months to the day since John died, and what I knew at that moment was God knew. He knew when I signed up to go to Deeper Still, when I signed up to take the first study, (when I was formed? Heck, when Kay’s husband died even?) that on five months to the day of John’s suicide I’d be there hearing Kay talk about her experience and gleaning from that people do survive and thrive, that they are redeemed, God continues to use and bless them, life goes on. I so needed to hear that then and needed to hear it from Him. Stephanie, sitting beside me, patted my leg and I leaned in a told her, “That was for me.” She was like, “yeah, yeah it was.”
Priscilla Shirer was the teacher I was most looking forward to because it was her through her teaching in ATR that I experienced God in a new and more personal way than ever before. And, Priscilla, bless her soul, brung it. The study guide gave me three pages per speaker to take notes and with Priscilla I filled up her three plus one left over from the night before.
The theme of her lesson was faith without works, but a lot of times teaching on this subject is all about the works, like trying to get people to do stuff in the church like teach a class. Priscilla’s teaching emphasized faith. The story was II Kings 13 — there’s a king losing battles and Elisha, who is on his death bed, tells him to take his bow and arrows, Elisha consecrates them to God, and then Elisha tells him to shoot the arrows at the ground. The king shoots three arrows (he had more) and Elisha was like “Why did you stop? You should’ve kept going because God was going to honor your faithfulness but now He’s going to honor only three arrows worth of your faithfulness. You should’ve shot them all and you would’ve won the war. Now you’re only going to win three times.”
So a few truths from that.
One — there are a whole lot of promises God could give you but He’s going to just put it in your hand. He’s going to put it within your reach. Here’s the key to your success (in this case the bow and arrrow). It’s been with you all along, you just had to consecrate it to Him and be obedient when He says use it.
Another part to that — instead of concentrating on what we don’t have why don’t we concentrate on what we do have? What is it that you have at your disposal? God is saying, “watch what happens when you take that little bit and consecrate it to me.” “You have no idea the radical affect when one person is obedient to God,” Priscilla said.
The king only shot three arrows. He held some back. He kept reserves. He kept a few arrows for himself, for a “plan B.”
No. God doesn’t want us to hold some back “just in case.” He wants everything we’ve got. Empty your quiver, Priscilla said. Join the Sisterhood of the Empty of Quiver. (We all liked that one!) His ability to do something BIG may require our quiver to be empty. While we’re waiting on God to do something, what if He’s waiting on us to empty our quiver?
Priscilla used as an example from Scripture, the story of Gideon, which David and I just been talking about the week before. He had taught the lesson in kids church that week and was telling me how the teaching went. God basically told Gideon to reduce his army down to 300 men and Gideon obeyed. Better to have 300 men with God than 3,000 men without, right? Better to have no arrows and have God with you than have a whole bunch of arrows that God’s not in.
What if we make a fool of ourselves? What if this? What if that? Priscilla: The Bible is chocked full of people who looked foolish when they obeyed God, but God redeemed their faithfulness. Stop worrying about people’s approval and seek His and only His. Want to hear Him say “well done.”
Gracious, I needed to hear that. That was one of the best things about the weekend and the thing that has has lasting impact is I was able to be myself. My friends all knew my story, and what they didn’t know I filled in, and they knew I was dating David and knew the struggles before and after John’s death, so I could just be “me.” I was so thankful for that freedom and I came back desiring more than ever to let go of what people think I should be doing or what I think people think life should look like for me now and I just want to be real, to be free. And I’ve been trying to hold on that and just live outloud ever since. That, was something God wanted me to get out of Deeper Still, my rhema Word.
The last note I made from Priscilla says “ill-equipped to handle.” She basically closed with what is it that you feel ill-equipped to handle, what is it that you need to empty your quiver over? And for me, I feel ill-equipped to be a good mom to the boys, to handle the aftermath of John’s death well, to do all of this “right.” And the truth is I am ill-equipped. But he is equipping me. He has equipped me. So many people say to me, “I am so amazed at how well you’re handling _____ and ______ since John died,” and I’ll be honest, I am amazed too. There are parts of it that I can assign logic to but parts of it are just all Him. Some of the hard things He’s prepared me for and I can see that in hindsight, I can see His hand all over me the last year. Other times, He gives me what I need right when I need it. Other times, I struggle and there’s extreme value in that too.
So. I’m sitting there receiving all these “nuggets” and I want to tweet them. Tweeting is fun and I like sharing and all that, but I want people to know what God is saying here, what He is saying here to me. So I tweet and tag all my tweets the official #deeperstill tag. And an hour or so later, a woman I don’t know in California tweets
“Love following #deeperstill via twitter. Getting a good word here in Souther Cal! Thank you girls!”
I had made a note in my notes an hour earlier — “tweeting is my bow and arrow.”
“Watch what happens when you take that little bit (140 characters or less) and consecrate it to me.”