For as long as I can remember, I’ve been teaching, leading, and storytelling. Until I came to Bridgeway and took the S.H.A.P.E. class, I didn’t realize that those things that I thought were basic parts of my operating system are, in fact, spiritual gifts. The more I learned about myself and how God uniquely created me, the more I wanted to know. Thanks to the CliftonStrengths Assessment, I discovered that I am passionate about learning and a creative strategist who craves initiating positive and encouraging atmospheres. Even more fascinating news about that revelation was how God has designed us to use our individual gifts in community with others to make this world a little bit better.
When I began attending Bridgeway, I was hungry, thirsty, and on fire for the Lord! I joined the Women’s Ministry after attending a ministry kickoff event, and before too long, I had facilitated several small group studies over the course of the next few years. I loved everything about my new church home except that I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. My ex-husband and I had been in the military and moved a lot, so I was accustomed to feeling alone. Maybe my spiritual growth was enough. Was I asking God for too much by wanting friends at church too?
Thankfully, those thoughts were short-lived because the Holy Spirit slaughtered those lies with the truth and encouraged me at the same time.
God’s arms are not too short, Michelle. He can do all things but fail. He will withhold no good thing from you because you’re walking uprightly. He’ll give you the desires of your heart. Girl, God is no respecter of persons. When you seek the Lord, He answers you and delivers you from all your fears in the mighty name of Jesus!
I’m not sure how long I poured out my heart’s contents to the Holy Spirit, but thanks to Him, the enemy finally gave up and made the decision to flee.
It was then that I made a decision to join the Women’s Leadership Development Institute (WLDI). It was billed as a 10-month program aiming to sharpen female leaders. Frankly, I needed a little sharpening. With brand new highlighters, multi-colored gel pens, and a good attitude, I showed up ready for the first session.
By the fourth session, my attitude wasn’t so good, so I dropped out. I had enough sense to realize I was mighty in so many ways, but I sure wasn’t mature in Christ. I felt invisible, but I didn’t yet have the courage to communicate my feelings, so I just left.
During my hiatus from WLDI, I had the time to reflect upon a decades-old battle I had with chronic illness. It prompted me to run to Abba multiple times each day. I felt like the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48). After spending everything I had on clinical solutions that didn’t work, the only relief I experienced came from the whispers of hope during my time with Jehovah Rapha, my Healer.
Three years later, I saw an announcement for WLDI. Without hesitation, I signed up again. This time was different because I was different. By His grace, I completed WLDI in the spring and made friends too. The next year, I served on the teaching team, and this time I found sisters. Two years later, I was asked to lead the ministry. You can’t tell me that God’s arms are too short. He can use a WLDI dropout to one day lead that same ministry and act as a herald to take the program’svision further.
My experience taught me that every woman needs to feel seen. On that first Saturday as the new WLDI leader, I learned every person’s name, and each subsequent time we met, I learned a little more about them. I desired intimacy with God’s women because intimacy is how He teaches me. That’s how I draw strength – from time in His most holy presence.
God has intentionally blessed WLDI with a team of leaders who savor His presence and enjoy sowing into each new class of women. We’re anticipating a new group of women leaders in September who want to be sharpened, to be seen, and to be face-to-face with Jesus. If that describes you, please register for our Free Seminar in July to learn more about how God can prepare you to be deployed into ministry and the marketplace fully equipped to spread the Gospel.