It’s been about two weeks since I have been back from Pensacola, Florida where I had the incredible opportunity to lead worship for the NotaLoneMom’s “Arise” pre-conference at Brownsville Assembly of God. That weekend re-ignited a fire in my heart for God again. If you would like to read more about the moms conference click here: http://www.notalonemom.com/2013/11/lessons-arise-conference-moms/
On the plane flight home, I wrote a letter of thanks to God for all that He did. I thought I would share it with you ~
What a week. Thank you for bringing me to Brownsville this weekend. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I did know you were asking me to go. I had no clue that Your Presence would touch me when I stepped into Brownsville Assembly of God for the first time. I knew something was very different. I could feel Your Spirit move. The ladies who were there praying were amazing; 12 of them. I knew something was happening and I knew I had to get my heart right with You. I thought someone came up to me as I was praying and put their hand on my back. The pressure was there for a long time, but I didn’t hear anyone beside me. When I stopped to see who it was, no one was there. What was that? I thought I was making it up, so I pushed it aside. As I stepped back and sat down in the back, I watched the ladies anoint the seats and the stage with oil. Why were they doing that? I had never seen that before. However, their spirits were so sweet and reverent before You. It moved me to watch them. At the end of the prayer meeting, we all got together and prayed. I knew the conference was covered and You were going to have Your way. You taught me how important it was to prepare and make our hearts align with Yours before an event. So good. So necessary.
The day of the conference, a battle was going on. I couldn’t believe it. What was happening? I still hadn’t talked to the worship leader about practice or music. When I got to the church in the afternoon, we were suppose to have our rehearsal at 2pm, but no one showed up until 4:30pm. I was trying to stay calm and professional, but inside I was tied up in knots. How was I going to do my best when things were falling apart right before the conference? I tried practicing on the piano, but I was not confident. I was scared. I wanted to cry. Then You sent Olivia to comfort me. I know You did. She anointed the piano and the mic and she saw the stress in my eyes. She looked at me and held my hand and scolded me for thinking I was doing a bad job. Your Presence touched her spirit when she came into the sanctuary and heard me sing. She said Your Spirit was so thick that she had to catch her breath. In me? No way. I wasn’t praying like these ladies. I didn’t feel strong inside like these ladies. I felt weak and not able to manage what I was being dealt. How could she sense Your Spirit, when I was so weak? She wouldn’t let go of me. She held me and walked with me. She said Your power was so strong and so sweet, she didn’t want to let me go. What? I couldn’t hold back my tears anymore. I gave in. I needed her and you knew that. Thank you.
This was such a different church. You were doing something amazing that could only be experienced, not told. Our band rehearsal was rough. The worship leader and I read music differently. There was no right way, we were just speaking in different languages. I had to sing a bluesy song and I needed a conga player. I asked their drummer, but she didn’t play. The bassist played a little, but when I told him what I needed him to do, he was very apprehensive and didn’t feel like he could do it. At 10 mins. til, I looked him in the eye and said I needed him. I said take out all of your stress and frustration on those congas and you will be fine. You, God, were stripping away every single crutch I had and all I could do was say, “God, You need to show up. I can’t do this by myself. It has to be all You.”
You taught me about Your power and Your ways during the conference. And You did show up! You provided. You equipped me to lead and I felt empowered. I knew that was You because I was extremely weak and scared, but on that stage I led with authority and peace. You are amazing! That conference for moms was a moment in time. You called us each out to lead in our own way, in our own roles. Instead of being led by others, this time You gave us what we needed to step out and lead those ladies to a place of restoration and refreshing. Thank you!
Everything was such a blur. At the end, during prayer, I didn’t want to be prayed for. I knew that if I did go up for prayer, Your Presence would hit me so hard, I wouldn’t be able to get up. So I avoided You. But, You came after me. You brought a wonderful older woman to sit next to me. I thought I was suppose to pray for her and her situation, but You switched it and she looked at me and said I needed to be prayed over and anointed. I didn’t want to, but I knew I had to. When she poured the oil on my head I felt as if I would faint. You were giving me a peace I hadn’t felt before, I don’t think. It almost was like a cold compress all over my head and shoulders. What were You doing? Were You actually calling me out and giving me Your blessing for ministry? It sure did seem that way.
If everything stopped right there and I didn’t sense Your Spirit, You would have made Your point, but You didn’t stop. You sent over to me the most powerful prayer warrior in that room. I was avoiding her, but she came to me and wanted to pray over me. When she grabbed my hands I knew immediately there was Your power and an energy flowing through her that was overwhelming. It broke me. You showed up and reminded me that You were powerful and present and wanted to use me.
Krissy and I went to her favorite coffee shop. On the way there she told me about someone whom she had been ministering to for awhile now. She said, if that person came into that coffee shop, today was going to be the day that You would call him out and move in his life. I couldn’t believe how bold and convicted she was about that. We got our drinks and sat down. We talked for maybe an hour. Then she spotted this person. She called him over. I knew this was it. You used Krissy and I and spoke through us to cut deep to his heart. We were witnessing a spiritual battle. After 20 mins, he finally surrendered to You. It had taken a year and a half to have him finally surrender. You used me to speak a truth to him that convicted his heart. You used me! I can’t believe it. Thank you. It was exciting. There was no way we could have made that happen on our own. Krissy and I needed to be used together. Now the joy came, the next morning, when this person emailed Krissy and confirmed that he had been changed. We couldn’t help but cry in gratitude and humility. Amazing!
Did you stop ministering to me, and showing up? Nope. Today, I was planning to sing and talk about World Vision during the church service at Brownsville. Krissy and I got there early. I was waiting to get up to rehearse and one of the pastors came up to me. Took my hand, looked me straight in the eye and said, “You don’t know me, I don’t know you. But, do not be afraid, God wants to use you. There is nothing to be worried about.” How did he know!!!!! I thought I looked normal. You brought him to me to give me encouragement. God, I haven’t shed this many tears since 2010. Oh yeah, I can’t forget how when I couldn’t sleep during the night, I listened to “Sovereign” over and over again. It really ministered to me and I wanted to lead it for Sunday. But when I got up, I didn’t have the music. So I gave up on that idea. Then, when I got up to rehearse I found the sheet music for it and I knew I needed to play it. I also practiced my other song and gave the sound guy my World Vision dvd to use. During the service, You showed me how beautiful Your people could be as they worshiped You. I saw older men jumping as if they were at a youth rally. I saw women dancing with flags and ribbons. I saw young people jumping and crying out to You in thanks. It was beautiful. Those people really, really loved You. You had dramatically changed their lives and all they could do was give back to You with their worship. So awesome! Then, someone came up to me and said, “Lara are you ready? It’s your time.” So I went up on stage to wait for offertory. But, then Your Holy Spirit poured over the people, which was a game changer. The pastor stopped everything and had a spontaneous alter call. Your Spirit was hitting people so hard that many of them fell to the ground. You even came over the worship leader and his wife, but you skipped over me. Why? Was it because I was hesitant? Was it because You needed me to get ready to sing? It was then I knew You sent me to speak encouragement to this congregation. I didn’t care if anyone found out my name, or that I had my information in the back. I just knew You wanted me to speak over them and let them know You weren’t done with them yet. I knew You wanted me to sing “Sovereign” and nothing more. I was scared, but You made away for me. Thank you. I believe Your words were encouraging to them. I believe that song was what they needed at that moment. Amazing. Thank you.
Your Spirit filled me up. My heart was pounding and I knew I was full. I had a lady tell me in the foyer, that when I started singing, “Sovereign” she felt Your Spirit so strongly. She got up and made sure she got to a place in the sanctuary where she could hear every word. She said my voice was anointed. I was emotionally, physically, and spiritually a mess, but a restored mess. From everything I saw this weekend, I am convinced that anything and everything is possible. I know that You want to unleash Your power over all the world, into the hearts of your people. You want to bring a new revival through Your Spirit. I know You want me to do something at my church when I get home, I just don’t know what yet. God, keep me humble. Remind me how serious Your call is on my life. Help me to embrace the anointing you have on my voice. I need Your help. I don’t know why You chose me to be a worship leader or why You called me out to lead worship for the Moms Arise Conference, but I say ‘Yes!’ Now, onto the next assignment. You are my center. I trust You.
www.laramarriott.com & itunes