She knew my name! She recognized me! How and why is still beyond me, but she did. Yes we share a mutual friend, but she and I had never met before. There has been no personal correspondence, yet as she looked at me, my name flowed from her lips as her arms embraced me in a hug. Sisters meeting for the first time. Sharing the same Father. Part of one family.
Yesterday was a dream come true, and a re-gift from the Lord. Back in 2011 I was scheduled to attend "She Speaks" in North Carolina, but cancer and chemo took me down a different road. Plans changed. Instead of hearing Ann Voskamp speak I was fighting a battle, a battle that required me to remain on the home-front.
Over a month ago a very precious friend extended an invitation to my sisters and I to attend an event where Ann would be speaking. Excitement was an understatement! Yes, excitement to see Ann, but even more excitement to see the God in Ann. Some people wear Him so well. He is their covering and His light shines through their countenance. Ann is one who is clothed in His beauty and robed in His righteousness.
She opens her mouth and her heart speaks. Words not like any I had heard before. Like a masterpiece painting, her sentences artistically display His truth. Yes, I can see Him as each phrase is a brushstroke of His design. Poetic and powerful. Breathtaking and beautiful. Words that burn and bore, seeking surrender and sacrifice, longing to be received, believed and lived.
Unassuming, she takes the platform, shrouded in humbleness. Although she is nervous (or so I've been told), God's power fills her petite frame. Overflowing with His Spirit, she shares as one who lives the "holy experience" of intimacy with the Lord. This is who she is. No pretense. No mask. This is simply a girl and her God. A girl walking so close to Jesus that she is covered in the dust from His sandals as she follows in her Father's footsteps.
She shared seasons. Opening with Katie's story, a story that has only a month or so ago started to mess with my heart in a profound way, God continued a message to me of sacrifice, trust, adoration, suffering, space, time and revival. I broke yardsticks, welcomed boring, breathed simplicity and worshiped my Father. It was a day of burning bushes and radical love.
Ann (without an 'e'), has a style that is unique. A gift. Her words fall, saturating the ground; ground delighting in the soaking. The watering flows from a vessel made pure. Words that are "other world". The dialect of the King, yet understood by paupers and princes. Complimenting syllables and sounds singing His melody of redemption and salvation. Lyrical lines captivating His truth and compelling my love.
Honesty wrapped in modesty. Beauty under the umbrella of forgiveness. Grace. Always grace.
This is a friend with whom I can envision endless cups of tea on porch swings. Tables covered in Bibles. Books and paper with pens poised. Journal pages covered in heart stirrings. Silences. Abandonment. Listening. Tears. Sharing. Laughter. Prayer. Someday we'll have all of eternity to praise the Lord together.
As I've reflected over yesterday I've been reminded of Someone else who knows my name. Of One who speaks His "Joy" over my life. I'm a nobody to most. An unknown to many. Yet, God recognizes me. He knows my name. Did you hear that? The God of the universe knows my name!
He looks at me.
Embraced in His love.