Dear friends, SUMite, Gillian Russell Meisner, continues her story about her experiences at the Intentional Life conference we held in Texas in April of 2013. For part one, click here. She will share the conclusion next week. Thank you again, Gill, for sharing your heart with us!
Part 2: Freedom: God Always Knows Best by Gillian Russell Meisner
Because the trip to Texas for the SUM conference was entirely God's idea, I knew this was a tremendous opportunity, and I didn’t want to miss ANYTHING that He might have planned for me, so I gave the entire week over to Him.
The whole time God took excellent care of his little girl, but He didn’t make it easy, (getting lost, discovering I was without my passport the night before an early flight) and yet through it all I discovered incredible freedom: For example: when the cabbie and I were driving around unable to find the house I was to stay in at 2 in the morning, I discovered I wasn’t upset, or stressed. I didn't even care, because I knew God had a plan.
I continued this surrender and experienced such peace and joy all week, until Friday. The day started out fine but by the evening, as I was heading to the church for the meet and greet I just felt so scattered. My peace was gone and it was like I couldn't even enter into the moment.
Then I was inside and I saw Lynn and Dineen standing by the table and I was like, ‘ahh! I'm not ready for this!’ So I tried to find a spot off by myself to try to get back to God, and then Lynn came over and found me. :)
But driving home that night I realized what had happened. That morning I had made a simple list of the things I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out on before I left the house where I was staying. I wasn't obsessive and I had let the Holy Spirit remind me of things I almost forgot, but in making that simple but deliberate list, I had taken back control from God. I had my own plan and was no longer open to other things He might have asked of me should they have interfered with what I wanted.
When I realized what had happened I knew I never wanted to do that again, here I was unable to really enjoy the amazing experiences I was having and now the conference was tomorrow! After all, that was the whole reason God had led me down here in the first place, so I knew I had to find a way to give the control back to God, not just a simple I surrender, but from my heart. And there was a sacrifice I had to be willing to make to do this.
That evening Lynn had told me there would be a dinner after the conference for some church ladies and the ladies of our community. I very much wanted to attend especially to have more time to talk face to face, but before coming down I had already committed to going to Mass on Saturday afternoon since I’d be flying all day Sunday. And I knew from the website Mass was right at 5:30, dinner time. And so, if I wanted to give control back to God and experience everything He had for me I knew I had to be willing to let that go. And so, I did. Whatever God did have for me, even if it didn’t include the dinner was more important. And as soon as I surrendered my heart wholly back to His will, my peace and joy came flooding back again.
At the Conference I felt that 2 months of suffering had better birth tremendous grace and let me tell you, God does NOT disappoint! I felt like a brand new woman!
Lynn talked about the lies we have believed and how to replace them with truth, and Dineen spelled out those awesome 4 principles to trusting God. It was exactly what I needed to hear. During the freedom portion of the conference when Lynn and Dineen were praying and people were laying down the lies they had believed, I was still working through my own stuff and they were wrapping up and I heard Lynn say, ‘Lord, someone in here isn’t finished…’ I just knew, that was me.
So the band played another song and God kept speaking truth into me and blew me away. After everything He had been teaching me this week, I knew one of my biggest lies was that I needed to be in control. I remember it was the moment God’s voice just broke through everything and He spoke to my heart : "You will have absolutely EVERYTHING you desire, you dream about, just leave it in My hands."
I was overcome with emotion and His love and I just melted! But, what I didn’t know until later was the chains that He broke at that moment: my desperate need for control and the negative thought patterns that seemed to follow me – they were a great source of stress and both of them used to trap me in great prisons of frustration and discouragement. Now, by His grace, I had a way out. (These were major major issues, I figured ‘thorn in the flesh’ type, or maybe just MAYBE with enough patience and perseverance, really gradually, they might be broken, months or even years from now.
But no. God said enough, she’s struggled enough, set her free! ) After the conference that day at the other church I could hear my thoughts, ‘I need to take this photo and Lord, I still have to , a, b, c... And I so want x....’ And He just cut straight through all of that: "Haven't I shown you I can take good care of you?? Haven’t I shown you that you can trust Me???"
"Yes Lord, but…"
"No. Stop. Be IN Me. You let go and let Me take charge, and You will see and I will give you everything. Just let go and trust Me."
So I gave the whole day to Him. And in return He gave me everything: time for confession, divine mercy, Mass, AND to go to the dinner as well, photos at both churches, a picture with Lynn and Dineen, my book signed by both, and even time to chat w Lynn about everything for close to an hour!
Looking back on my day there is not one thing where I think, ‘oh I wish that.....’ because He gave me everything!!!!! So that night getting ready for my early flight next morning, the person I was staying with asked, "You got your passport?" I looked in my purse, the other bags – it wasn’t there! I felt God say ‘Trust Me’, so I said yes, I would go along for the ride… But then as I stepped outside for a moment I heard myself say, "Really?! Really, Lord???"
And woah it hit me, that's fighting Him, that's not trust! I resigned from living that way, I don't want to live like that again. When I fight God that’s when I get frustrated, I get hurt. He has shown me all week that He is more than capable of taking care of me so why take that back from Him now? And so instead I let go and told God I accepted it, and to have His way with this too. I knew control was a lie, and I had known better, but I hadn’t lived it. Honestly I don’t think I knew how to let God be in control before. It was incredible, and I just knew this was going to bring new freedom to every area of my life! It was going to permeate every one of my relationships: with my hubby, with my kids! I have been quite controlling at times, especially because I felt that if I didn’t make sure X happened then it would be the end of the world. It was like a compulsive thing, but now I have the freedom to say, well, if my son misses praying first thing in the morning today, it’s no big deal, God’s got it! God will take care of him. :)
And so, on this trip, along with the freedom, God birthed in me incredible, unconditional trust. An unconditional trust He knew I would need down the road. And of course, it all worked out in the end.