Last weekend I had the incredible honor of meeting some people I’ve know through Twitter, Facebook and the blog world of Beth Moore. They wear titles like Siesta and “WayMoreHomemade”.
The picture featured at the top of this post is from that Thursday evening. I met these precious ladies for the very first time in the lobby at Chuy’s restaurant in Arlington, Texas.We are from left to right: Yours Truly, Michele, and Donna. We enjoyed delish Mexican food and shared our hearts over chips and salsa and spicy rice & beans. I personally had Baja Tacos… crispy fish with creamy jalapeño sauce. Hot-cha-cha-cha-ch-cha!
Michele contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I would be attending the Life Today taping with Beth Moore at the end of August. I had not even been aware they were hosting a live taping of the “Wednesdays with Beth” segments. Naturally I called to inquire about the tickets and added my name to a waiting list.
I let Michele know I did not have tickets and about a week later she offered me one of the two she reserved as she had not been able to confirm anyone she had invited to the taping to attend. I am a little shy to admit I did not even realize I had been friends with Michele on Twitter nor did I realize she planned to fly in from New York state to attend the taping.
Within a few days several of us Siestas were tweeting about meet up and connecting or reconnecting on Facebook setting a time to meet but keeping our plans a little hush hush since the tapings are not widely publicized. I felt the same excitement I had experienced four years ago building in my heart as the gathering of Siestas grew closer on the calendar.
By the time the last Thursday in August arrived I felt like my heart would explode. While another Siesta and friend from out of state began to pray for me to have 1 minute to meet Beth and personally thank her for her teaching and affirmation in my life, another close friend interceded for what God would show me through this experience. Michele and I found out that the early bird is first in line to the studio so we headed home around nine o’clock and planned to meet up around 3:00 pm the next day at the Life Today studios.
We were first all right! We sat out there in the milder than usual August heat and got to know each other a bit. We also got to meet a few of the Life Today folks. By the time the third in line arrived, another Siesta named Tiffany and then her friend Elizabeth, we’d been out there for more than an hour and a half.
Tiffany and I spent ten hours in her car four years ago when we headed to Siesta Fiesta, which, come to think of it, does sort of sound like a nap convention. Anyway, we met early on Friday, August 22, 2008 and said “It is so nice to meet you.” Before I loaded my bags in her car and we headed South. We seriously made up for lost time as we sat waiting for the teaching to begin.
Meanwhile, Michele went down and took the first seat nearest us right off the speaking platform.
And that would be Michele right there getting a word direct from Beth on the break Friday night. You see, Michele had let Beth’s assistant know we were going to attend. And during the first session Beth had shared a tweet Michele had submitted when Beth had asked us to describe ourselves to her while she was studying the day before. Beth spoke to the camera and to Michele “if she was watching” and all the while Michele was actually seated stage left to Beth. Beth came over and they had a good laugh over the moment. Beth finished the second teaching and hurried off the stage away from us.
We had a blast, and did we ever receive a word! Still, I have to admit I felt a little disappointed and thought my chance for that personal minute might pass me by. I went home and struggled to fall asleep as I prayed that the Lord would allow me just a moment with her. I also had committed to sit close to Michele who had been promised a reserved seat the next morning.
The next morning I arose early and put on a favorite outfit that I get lots of compliments on… I pulled out of our drive at near 6:00 am and arrived near 6:15. On the way to the studio God asked me a rather appropriate question. “Are you coming for Me or for Beth?”
Now when I say God asked me. Remember, I had been praying and for about five minutes that question just tumbled around in my brain begging to be answered. He didn’t appear in a burning bush or thunder clap. I just knew it was Him asking that question.
I thought for a moment and answered. “For you. I trust you if this not the season for me and if only so I could get a word and reconnect with the Siestas. I am coming for you. I know there was a time in my life when that would not be the case, but if there is any way you would grant my heart’s desire then I am asking you to show me when.”
I was not surprised to find Michele sitting out front, in the dark, alone. We talked on until the first of the Life Today folks arrived and then the Siestas came. We had a little breakfast and great conversations. Before we knew it an SUV with Beth hanging out the passenger window pulled up. She had us all rolling over a bit about some coffee and soon enough the doors opened and we were ushered in.
Beth brought another strong word and a belly full of laughter to the early morning crew. And Michele and I sat right behind her the whole time. Up close and personal like… Right there.
The Life Today team and Beth are all fabulous friends and so when one of them who does not normally wear make up and dresses came out in full on make up and evening attire the whole room had a good laugh and Beth about fell out, y’all. Literally. Fell. Out.
She finished up her strong teaching encouraging us to live authentically and sharing a personal story about her precious husband. Then it happened. I have never attended a taping with Beth so I had no idea what happened after the last shot was run.
But Beth took off her microphone and she hugged each person and took group pictures with anyone who waited in line. Our time came and she had a few words with Michele before hugging my neck. She said “Girl, you are a student.”
God’s goodness overwhelmed me and all I could do was whisper …”thank you…” before she hugged the next in line and our picture was taken. Just look at my face. My moment came and went…
The disappointment is evident. As we broke I felt boldness rise in me. I walked over to her and said, “Beth I just want to say thank you and I love you.”
She hugged me again and I whispered, “I am Michelle Bentham.”
She pushed me out by my shoulders looked at my face and then craned to the side to look at my hair. “You are… Michelle. I knew you’d be here, but…” She looked at my hair again. “I only know you by your picture and I didn’t see any highlights in your picture.”
I laughed and nodded. Then she stepped back and emphatically put one hand into the other as she said, “You minister to women. You minister to women. You minister to women.”
I thanked her again and told her I loved her one more time. She said, “I love you, too.”
I had to walk away. God did it. He gave me my minute and stirred up the boldness in me to seize the day.
I shared the story with my friends there with me that day, and with my husband and family. But, with Scott who knows how this woman has influenced my life. Her studies brought me up in the faith. I wept the tears of gratitude from an overflowing heart realizing the grace and favor of God on my life. That one He has allowed to be esteemed would affirm me so. Plus, the bonus moment came when the listening guides that contain my Living Proof testimony for next week’s simulcast were sitting on my couch when I arrived home. My cup truly overflows.
Now about Women of Faith. I had written a few months back about an encounter I had at the Women of Faith One Day Event in February. I had a gracious encounter with a Vice President with Thomas Nelson’s Live Event management. We exchanged business cards and she asked me to keep in touch.
I had promised her feedback about the WOF events. And spent some time in July finally gathering the information I had promised. I composed the email one warm Saturday afternoon and hit send not thinking she would be able to respond. After all, I am fairly she sure she gets her fair share of emails and has important business to attend to daily. No response required.
On August 23rd I happened to be checking my email and to my surprise there was a response for the email I had sent. Gracious, warm and she even shared she had recently told her husband she should check in on me to see how I am doing.
She indicated she was cc’ing another member of her team in on the exchange and encouraged me to attend the Dallas event. I thought for a moment about trying to buy a ticket, but with all the changes in our life… it is not really in our budget. So I went to the Women of Faith site and signed up to volunteer.
I responded to the email and didn’t think much more about it except it was clear my friend and her mother who had given me the tickets in February were invited to attend as guests of Women of Faith.
I think it may have been the next day when the email came from the other member of the team offering me two tickets as well.
I received them and asked to be taken off the volunteer waiting list since I might keep someone else with a need from receiving a ticket. Another unexpected blessing.
I write all this not to gloat about my good fortune, but to say whatever it is you are pressing in for these days, Don’t Give Up!
This all began nine years ago as I sat in the back row of our church sanctuary pressing play on a DVD player facilitating Beth’s studies with the women around me. I prayed in those moments, “God if I could just be one-tenth of who Beth Moore is then I would be happy.”
I wrote her letters and eventually began posting comments on her blog as well as write a blog of my own. All the while growing in my faith, my own identity and gifts in God, and my understanding of what He is calling me to in this life. and one day, Beth let me know something I shared had made a difference. She encouraged me to keep at it.
At Women of Faith I didn’t seek out the attention of the Vice President. As a matter of fact, I thought she just might’ve been Andy Andrew’s wife. Only because she sat beside him. But that might take up a whole other post. LOL!
I been given VIP passes by a friend and ended up sitting right behind and beside the WOF team & speakers in the second row. This Vice President overheard the things I agreed with and said while sitting there and she struck up a conversation with me. She offered me her business card and I offered her mine in exchange.
The sweet moments these things reflect in simplicity remain the Lord’s affirmation of His hand upon my life. He is my delight. I desire to do His will. He in turn has begun granting me the desires of my heart in unusual ways.
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4 NKJV)
I do press on toward the prize which Christ is calling me upward to obtain. But not before I encourage you to make a list of the desires of your heart. Allow God to cut away your flesh and anything that would entangle you about them and the commit your way to Him, delight yourself in Him and watch Him move to make your wildest dreams come true.