You guys have been so patient with me while I’ve been under a tremendous work load! There comes a time when you just have to put some things on hold – even things that involve people you love – to get as focused as possible to wrap up a project. Since New Year’s Day, I’ve been finishing Children of the Day, teaching a new series on Tuesday nights in Houston, serving at Passion, and at a Women of Faith event called Unwrap the Bible and simultaneously being a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a coworker at LPM. Even recounting it nearly gives me an anxiety attack. I have absolutely no doubt that most of your lives have been just that full. God has been so gracious to us, hasn’t He? He carries us even when we’ve loaded ourselves down in ways He wouldn’t have ordained.
I had originally planned to be finished with COTD before the Christmas holidays. I never would have scheduled all that craziness at the same time. God knew what the 18 months surrounding that project would entail and He sustained my family and faithfully carried us through a very rough season. I did the last editorials for COTD on a conference call with LifeWay a week ago Friday, got on a plane with Amanda and Melissa to Sydney on Monday, then got an email two days later from my editor saying that COTD was on its way to the printing press. Thank you, God. Many of you prayed me through and I am so grateful. A writing project going to press brings a very vulnerable feeling. Some of you know what I’m talking about. You’ve been so close to it for so long that you often have no idea if it’s decent writing or makes a whit of sense. All you can know is that you gave it everything you had.
And the beautiful side of writing Bible study curriculum is that you have the promise of God that His Word will not return void. At the end of the project, I only allowed myself one question: will the readers be able to say at the turn of the last page that they’d diligently studied 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, whether or not they’d always agreed or embraced each lesson? Because of God’s great faithfulness to bless His Word, I pray so. That is my peace. May God bring a 100-fold harvest to those who end up investing their time and energy in the series.
SO, ladies, I am writing you this morning from a hotel room overlooking the gorgeous Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is Sunday evening to you but Monday mid-morning for me and the sun is shimmering on the face of those waters so brilliantly that it’s nearly blinding. I had the privilege to serve at the Hillsong Colour Conference for women that lasted from Thursday evening to Saturday evening then at their main campus last night. I will serve again this coming Thursday through Saturday.
Their women’s conference is so well attended each year that they do it over 2 weekends to accommodate the numbers. The weekends are identical in schedule and content but Colour 1 takes place in a large arena then Colour 2 (the very next weekend and a whole new group of women) takes place at their largest church campus here in Sydney. It only takes the first hour of the conference to figure out why 17,000 women flood the venues. The Spirit of God falls so powerfully during worship that you can hardly sing for wanting to cry.
You would just love Colour. Women of every age and all sorts. Scads of really young women whose faces are just beginning to come alive with the radiance of Christ. The older women are gorgeously fervent in the Spirit. To say that the atmosphere of worship is lively and spirited is understating it. The name of Jesus is outrageously declared and praised. We sing, we get into the Scriptures, we laugh our heads off, and we get mobilized to meet needs and to fight injustice. It’s a full package and that’s one of the beautiful things about it being 3 days long rather than how we normally schedule events in the States.
In between conferences, we get 3 whole play days! Starting today! YAHOO!!!!! I have not had a couple of days off in a row in many months. I’m about to take them and run like there’s no tomorrow. We will start off today being shamelessly predictable: petting kangaroos and koalas. I know, I know. But we just can’t resist it. All we’ll need to top the day off is an Olivia Newton John sighting.
I’m still in my pajamas and we’re leaving the hotel in an hour so I better get with it. It feels so good to have touched base with you, Sisters! I have missed you so much! Thank you for your patience with me. We’ve got some busy months ahead on the blog so I hope, to some reasonable degree, we will make up for lost time.
I love you!