Remembering the Global Woman’s Leadership Forum (GWLF)

Thaïlande Mars 2004 103

That’s me in pink, down front and center with a bunch of my Francophone African friends, translators and Judy Douglass standing right behind me.

Ten years ago this month nearly 500 women from 100 countries came together in Thailand for what I affectionately call affirmative action training for women in the ministry of CRU Women comprise more than 50% of the world’s population and we need to be a huge part of the resolve to reaching the world for Christ.

Judy Douglass, the wife of the President of CRU, or Campus Crusade as it was called then, worked with teams of people for over a year to give teaching, training and vision for these women. She calls herself a “Spiritual Arsonist” I LOVE it! At the time I was in the thick of that year of preparation.

I was in charge of intercession for the conference.  I recruited two prayer teams. One group of 12 intercessors reported to me loosely. They worked in pairs and prayed individually with as many of the of the attendees as they could during the week of the training. In some cases they helped the women find increased spiritual freedom and in others to find their vision and callings. Their impact was profound and lasting. The team I closely directed was 12 intercessors who focused on the “nuts and bolts” of the conference. I sent out prayer requests almost weekly beginning a year ahead. We intercessors came from all over. Some of us were able to meet to pray together months before hand. We prayed for visas, travel, finances, training as it was in the design phase, the program, speaker choices and availability. We prayed for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven over EVERY aspect: before, during and after.

I wish I could find it now, but there is a photo of me on opening night. I am at the back of the conference room, crouched low with my head in my hands, crying with joy and relief as the worship band of all women lead the nearly 500 women to the throne of grace. I had worked so hard! I was delightfully exhausted seeing this “baby” birthed!

After the GWLF women carried what they had learned to their countries and continents. Many of the speakers traveled all over the world to help bring the training to more people and to ignite more spiritual fires. I also traveled with Wilma Tan to Cameroon and later to Gabon to ignite more women into the global harvest.

Me teaching on prayer in Gabon in 2009 as part of the follow through of the GWLF.

Keep praying that these spiritual fires keep burning, igniting more “spiritual arsonists” and keep spreading, 10 more years, 20 more years….until the Lord returns! To God be all the glory!

Shad·ow noun \ˈsha-(ˌ)dō\ : an area of darkness created when a source of light is blocked

It is March in New England. It has been a real winter. As I write this we are getting yet a few more inches of snow! I’m beginning to wish I could see this shadow in the warm sand:

DSC_0450Instead of this photo of the shadows on the snow:

DSC_0606

All these shadows are created when light is blocked. The shadows resemble trees, but they are not trees. And we would not really think to call them trees.

Our lives can be like the shadows. God’s word tells us that we see as in a mirror dimly. Speaking on two levels: visual and spiritual, what we perceive as real is actually a distortion of reality because light is being blocked by evil and sin. Psalm 144:4 tells us, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Job agrees: “… our days on earth are a shadow.” We do not see or understand God or our current lives the way God does. Our perspective is distorted by “lack of light.”

Paul writes in Colossians 2:17, “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” So much of what we focus on here is a shadow, an incomplete representation of what God considers important. I know. If I let myself, I can be the queen of busy! So I cry out like King David, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,” Psalm 57:1

God knows our lack of light is a problem, but He has taken the initiative to mercifully provide light for us. He never intended for us to be alone and He has never truly left us alone, even if we feel like He has.  He sent Jesus, who proclaimed, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) He brings light, clarity and purpose into our lives. When we focus our attention on God and His word, above the shadows, He shines His light and His truth and leads us on a level path.

When we have good things, like the beauty of these shadow photographs, and the ‘real’ earthly places they represent, we can give thanks to our creator and acknowledge like James did: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (1:17) Life and the light of God is a gift. He knows exactly who we are and what we face. God never changes and His desire for all of us is always good. He freely gives us the light we need when we ask. (Maybe not in our timing, but in His perfect time.

So, whether I am on the cold snow or warm sand, I thank God that He hides me in the shelter of His wings. He has given me breath and purpose. His light leads me on a level path. As I walk through this shadowy life, sometimes even through the valley of the shadow of death, God is still present. God is still good.

And often, so are His shadows…. especially the palm tree shadows when it is single digits outside=}