“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” A. W. Tozer
It doesn't matter what part of the world we call home, our beliefs about God shape who we are and how we live. Too often our view of God is obstructed by our circumstances, our internal dialogue or even what others have told about God. Early in the conference, we spent some time thinking about our beliefs and their origins. After some brainstorming and discussion, the women gathered in groups of 3 or 4 to explore various scriptures as a way to discover what is true about God. These smaller groups of women then reported what they had uncovered.
Words like trustworthy, compassionate, caring, just were offered to the group as descriptors of God. Others declared God as our provider, father, shepherd, king and friend. Heads nodding in unison and hearty affirmations filled the room. No doubt the stories they could tell of God at work in and around them would astonish us.
Yet, even these women who can tell of his goodness and mighty works can forget. So I described an exercise I did years ago that helped to remind me of who God is and what he says it true about me. I was encouraged to write a letter to myself from God and keep it as a reminder. I've kept this note for over 10 years and it still brings tears to my eyes as I imagine how BIG God is yet how our relationship is so PERSONAL and INTIMATE.
We quieted our minds and hearts and invited the Holy Spirit to speak to us as the women were encouraged to write whatever they sensed God was saying to them. The women made their way outside on the green hillside or under shade of a tree and began writing.
It was such sacred space, watching women write God's sweet reminders on this paper and place it in a envelope for safe keeping. When we gathered later we sensed these women had spent time with their heavenly Father and he had lifted their heads and encouraged them with his presence and affirming words.
Tucked into our suitcases were beautiful scarves the Women of Grace had donated. These scarves would be another tangible expression of God’s love.
Each team member would select a scarf and place it gently, yet securely around the shoulders of the WLTI women. They spoke words over these women reminding them of the truth of an Old Testament prophets proclamation found in Zephaniah 3:17
"For the Lord our God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with singing."
As these various scarves we wrapped around the shoulders of these women -- we prayed they would forever be reminded that God loves them, He is for them and He will never leave them.
Each day the scarves would be worn in all kinds of beautiful ways.
Another example of God's love being pored out in abundance across two cultures.
We would see these scarves wrapped around their shoulders and bodies in such beautiful ways the rest of the week.