Tuesday, May 21, 2013

on risk and standing in the assembly

“Wait on the Lord.  Be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart.  Wait I say on the Lord.” Psalm 27: 14

I had just taken my seat, my heart still galloping away in my chest when she leaned over to me, slip of paper clenched in her hand.  This is from her, she said, indicating a woman one row back who looked at me with kind, brown eyes.  I took the paper, reading the words from Psalm 27, and found those eyes again with mine.  Thank you, I mouthed, my eyes filling, spilling with gratitude.

This morning I did a risky thing.  I stood in the assembly, giving my testimony, desiring to give praise and honor to God.  

From early September until now, I have met weekly with a group of women to study the book of Genesis with Bible Study Fellowship.  Our last meeting of the year was today.  It is always a time of testimony, an opportunity to stand, take the mic, and talk about what you have learned during the study.  It is by far my favorite meeting of the year.  I am a story person, and I soak up the stories as they pour forth.  I love the tears, the laughter, the heads nodding around the room in understanding and kindness and love.

Before going into the sanctuary this morning, I gave thought to what I would say if I stood.  I reviewed this past year of studying Genesis and the myriad of ways God has met me, taught me, comforted me.  And a vision came, of me walking with a strong, comforting, and guiding arm around my shoulders.  I saw that from Genesis 1 through Genesis 50, from the wide expanse of the starlit heavens to the darkness of the womb of a woman, I have felt the close companionship of Christ this year.

So I stood this morning on shaky legs this morning and spoke about that companionship, and about the way that week after week, from Abraham to Jacob to Joseph, the theme of waiting came through to me clear and strong.

When the study began in September, our family was coming up on a year of waiting for an adoption placement, waiting for the child God has prepared for our family.  A whole academic year later, a whole bible study later, and we are still waiting. 

I shared this with the ladies this morning, told how grateful I was that week after week that God saw fit to encourage my weary waiting heart.  And to remind me, through the stories in Genesis, that trusting in God and in His timing is the way to go.

But the best part came after I sat down.  The sweet woman two rows up shared the verse from Psalm 27 with me, wrote it down in her spidery hand, ripped it from her notebook, passed it back like we were in junior high and had secrets to tell.   And then, as we all stood, hearts full to overflowing from hearing and giving our praise to God, two women found me in the back.  You don’t know us, Amy, they said, but after you told your story, we had to find you, to encourage you.  We’ll be praying for you, Amy.  And one shared, I have my own Isaac I prayed for, for four years I prayed, and he came at the exact right time.  And the other said, Amy, I have 12 children, 9 of whom are adopted.  And I prayed and waited for each one. 

We know your pain.  We know and we will pray for you and hold you up, sister.

Walking to my car with the slow and steady gait of one in awe, I wondered, what if I hadn’t stood up?  I wouldn’t have my note, those words of truth tucked safely into the pocket of my skirt.  And I wouldn’t have the memory of the hugs, the testimonies and prayers and love from those women at the end.

Where my dream is concerned, the riskiest thing for me is believing I have a story to tell, and then standing to my feet to tell it.

It is my hope and prayer, that my writing be a testimony like the one I gave today, of the companionship of Christ.  Not just in salvation and in fellowship, and in provision and goodness, but in waiting and in trial and in grief and loss and death.

I stood in the assembly this morning, and I gave testimony, and even as I sought to give Him glory, He met me there, and gave me good gifts, and grace.


What feels risky about the dream God has put in your heart?
Connecting with this community of storytellers here

Linking up with Holley and my God-sized Dream Team sisters!


  1. So beautiful and so glad you were courageous and shared! Love this!!

  2. Oh and may I say you DO have a story to keep telling it long after these "prompts" tell us to do so!!

  3. Thanks so much, Kristin!!

  4. Wow, what a testimony...yes, you do have a story. Keep sharing. Thank you for this beautiful piece of your heart, friend. Blessings! :)

  5. Wow, what a beautiful story of God meeting you and encouraging you, Amy. This line: " Where my dream is concerned, the riskiest thing for me is believing I have a story to tell, and then standing to my feet to tell it." I can relate...Bless you, Amy :) I haven't written my post yet...

  6. Oh yes...your writing is also a testimony. You do have a story to tell...keep writing and sharing. This was beautiful! I loved the encouragement you received from those two sweet ladies. The power of doing life together with others. Thank you for sharing your story and heart with us. Blessings, Beth

  7. Tears again....and joy....and fullness in my heart...blessed beyond measure to witness your faith. Thank you, Amy, for speaking to my heart again in so many ways with your beautiful words.

    I must say it again -- I love your writing. So beautiful and pure.
    Your friend,

  8. I am so very glad you stood up. What a beautiful story of faith and community.