Thursday, July 28, 2011

A She Speaks Miracle

Leah, Heatherly, and Leigh (at left)

I didn't know what to expect, and was honestly very hesitant to go just a little over eleven weeks after my husband's tragic death. But, prior to that, I had so looked forward to my 2nd annual She Speaks conference. So, through the financial and logistical generosity of others...I went...this past weekend.

God met me there. Big time. I can't begin to convey everything that took place in one blog post, and I'm not even going to try. But, there is one major event...that I just have to share now. I only hope these words do it justice.

I was registered for the Speaker's Track (like last year). Attendees have the choice of participating in one of three tracks, but our breakout sessions can come from any of the three. Since I was already registered for the Speaker's Track before the "events of May 3-4", I decided I'd just continue down that path. As a Speaker's Track participant, I would be expected to prepare two short "talks" for evaluation by speaking peers and a Proverbs 31 Ministries professional speaker. I honestly didn't know if I'd be able to emotionally do this or not, but I prayed for weeks that God would be glorified through me this weekend regardless of what I was or was not able to do.

That said, the first talk was Friday evening. Only by God's grace, I got through it without shedding a tear. I was stunned! It certainly wasn't the best talk I've ever written, and it definitely wasn't the best delivery. However, God brought me through it!

Saturday morning typically brings back-to-back breakout sessions. I was registered for several writing sessions actually, but this is when God intervened with a different plan...His plan! Now, before I go any further, I have to say that I've asked permission to share the events that follow, because it involves a bit of transparency from a sweet friend of mine. I'll use her first name only, at her request, but if you happen to know who I'm talking about...let's just leave everything on a first name basis please.

Before breakfast, my friend Angie came up to me and asked if she could share something with me whenever I had a chance that day. "Sure," I replied. I could sense that God was working up something big for sweet Angie, but I didn't know what part I was to play. I was just willing to be a listening ear.

I grabbed Angie right after breakfast, so we could sit down and chat. Yes...I had sessions to attend, but God said to skip them. This was far more important than a writer's session. And, so we sat down...and the conversation began.

I'll have to back up briefly and share that I learned the night before (Friday night) that Angie doesn't cry. At all. As a matter of fact, Angie hasn't cried in nearly 20 years. 20 years folks! It's not that Angie doesn't get emotional. Oh...she most certainly does! However, she's learned how to suppress those feelings when she feels like she's about to cry.

So, during our nice long conversation Saturday morning, we talked even more about that, among other things. Angie must have felt safe in pouring out her heart to me, and I'm so glad she did! She talked, and I listened (and talked some too). I lovingly expressed concern over her choice to suppress her tearful emotions. She finally admitted that she knows when the walls started going up nearly 20 years ago, and she knows God is working through her to tear them down, but she's still resistant to the tears. She's fearful that one tear will lead to a gushing of tears. I smiled, because I know that's where God will eventually take her. So, how did our conversation end? With these words that I shared, "Angie, I'm going to be praying for you about this. I'm praying that you have a 'Niagra Falls' experience. I'm praying the floodgates open, and you learn how to cry again. I'm praying God meets you where you're at and heals you. And, if I have to...I'll fast over this." Angie simply smiled, and we parted ways for a few hours.

I went back to my room to get ready for talk #2, but as I walked, I prayed for Angie - just as I said I would. However, I was really struggling emotionally at this point. With talk #2 just around the corner, I was fearful - once again - that I wouldn't be able to get through it. But, God whispered to my heart. It's not about the talks Leah. Your reason for being here this weekend is so much bigger than that. Just wait...and watch...and you'll see My Glory.

Now...I'm going to fast forward...right through talk #2. I'll share more about that in a future post (but, yes...God brought me through that one too). I'm jumping ahead to post-dinner.

We had the privilege of getting to hear the radiant and godly Ann Voskamp. If you haven't yet read her book, One Thousand Gifts, you really should give yourself that gift and do so! You will be so blessed. Well, she certainly blessed us that night, and my heart was already softened to the absolutely divine grace that God allows me to walk in each day. I was abundantly full of joy at that moment! But then...

Our worship artist closed out the evening with one more song. It happened to be Chris Tomlin's Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone). This was Chris' favorite song, and we even played it at his funeral. I've heard it a couple of times since he died, but I apparently heard it with different ears this time.

I could feel my throat tightening, my chest aching, my eyes filling with salty water, and then it own Niagra Falls. I began to sob, and I mean sob! I couldn't stop it. And, I'm not sure I even tried to at this point. I was losing complete control of my emotions. Suddenly, I felt the arms of my friend, Lorie, around me, and I heard her cries as well. Then, I felt someone else in front of me, someone else behind me, another lady at my knees praying, another sweet sister to my right side. I was surrounded by the tangible of love of Christ through my She Speaks sisters. The tears continued...abundantly poured. I struggled to breathe at times, and one of my sisters kept whispering, "take slow deep breaths, Leah. God is right here with you. He. Is. Here." I've cried a lot since Chris died, but this was probably the deepest sorrow I've felt in several weeks. It was so deep that I honestly didn't truly understand what was happening to me until God calmed me down and told me to look back and see who was rubbing my back. As I did, I smiled so big with new tears pouring down my face...

It was my friend Angie...crying! I was witnessing a miracle. My friend that hadn't shed a tear in nearly 20 friend that has had tremendous walls built up that nothing could seem to friend that shared with me earlier in the day...the same CRYING! God had already and so quickly answered my prayers for her. And...He allowed ME to not only witness the miracle but to be used in the creation of the miracle.

The sorrow that God allowed me to endure that evening...for what seemed like an eternity...wasn't about me and wasn't for was for Angie. All for Angie! And, to see that look on her face when she realized what was happening...I'd let Him put me through that all over again...just to see His glory through Angie's miracle!


  1. Oh dear, now I'M crying!! Thank you for being such a wonderful, cracked vessel for Him to leak your tears out of to free another's. Love this. Love you!

  2. Beautiful, Leah. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how God uses our pain to help heal others. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  3. beautiful. God uses broken pieces to make something beautiful.

  4. Leah, I didn't realize Angie's story and now I feel even more honored to have been at the table at that time. Thank you for sharing here.

  5. Leah, I'm a regular commenter here, but I'm going to remain anonymous today because I want to say that I, too, have experienced such deep pain that I have taught myself not to cry. Mine goes back 20 years, also. I have cried occasionally when God has touched me, but even now it's been several years since I've cried. I didn't even cry when my dad died. Please don't think I'm heartless. I do feel pain. Perhaps I feel it more deeply because I can't let it out. You know, at first it was a case of "I don't want to cry" and now it has become "I can't cry, even if I want to." I feel the emotion. I get the lump in my throat. And sometimes I want the relief of letting it out, but it won't come. So, Leah, please pray for me, too. I'm a strong Christian. And God has been working in my life the past few months to heal the past and make me whole again. But the walls haven't come down yet. I'm ready, I think. But God hasn't healed me in that way yet. Thank you for sharing this. And thanks to Angie for allowing you to share this. I needed this encouragement.

  6. And now I am crying too! I am so Glad that God blessed you with this witnessing and being a part of this miracle and to Annonymous..LOVE TO YOU and know HIS timing is perfect. I will be praying for your heart. I will be praying that anon has her own Niagra Falls Experience.

  7. Leah, this is beautiful. After some difficult incidents in my childhood, I cut my emotions off for just over twenty years. I allowed God to heal my heart and my emotions. Now I'm proud to say I'm actually a bit of a cry baby. It feels great! Thank you, God, for your healing power!

  8. Such a beautiful moment. So glad you stuck with the day until Jesus broke through in your friend. Praying peace and healing over you as well. Glad we can stay connected through the She Facebooks group.

  9. I spent many, many, many years not crying before my hubby passed on Christmas Eve. It IS a miracle when God touches us so and we finally allow the release of the years of tears to freely flow. Thank you for sharing this sweet story of God's grace!

  10. You. Are. A. Strong. Woman. Tender and tough. Warrior and woman. Keep standing firm, sister.

  11. What a huge blessing! I am so glad you answered the call to go. Thank you for sharing this story!

  12. Oh how I wish I could've been there with y'all. I know the situation there - and side note, I walked by you two chatting and was tempted to walk over and give y'all hugs, but immediately sensed that was not the appropriate time or needed at that moment.

    I am much like Angie though I have had my fair share of bawling once or twice over the last 20 years. I have always wanted to be tough ... and always viewed crying as not tough. But that is so wrong.

    I was crying too when he played Amazing Grace and I was fighting to hold it back too. I love that song and I tried so hard to sing it out to God, but I couldn't make a sound other than sobs.

    It was an honor to meet you, talk with you and hang out at table #73. Thank you for sharing this story. It helps me to remember that crying is cleansing and needs to be done - even Jesus cried. Love ya! {hugs}

  13. Wow, what a beautiful story! It just shows how God places us in places that are not only for ourselves but for those around us. None of us were there just for us, we were there for the other women that were around us. God bless you Leah as you continue your healing process. Love, Brandee

  14. Lord,

    I pray now for Anonymous who commented above. Please, Lord, may she feel Your hands on her face and hear Your voice in her ear saying, "Let it out sweet girl. Let the tears pour so I can collect them. I know the pain in every held-back tear, and I can heal it."

    Thank you for Leah's journey. Such a testimony of how You use our pain for beautiful, eternal purposes.

  15. Blessed....totally blessed. My heart overflows! Thank you!