The longer I had to sit around that table, the worse I felt. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer, and I spoke to Katie, and excused myself from the table....
My plan was to head for my room. I was going to skip out of the break out session, and instead try to get some sleep before our speaker evaluation, because I felt like I couldn't even think straight. When I am over tired, and don't have enough sleep... especially when I have had a severe lack of sleep and lots of activity... well, it's not so pretty. I get physically ill, and non-functional.
I didn't want to start my weekend that way, so I figured, in my own understanding, that I had better go get some sleep.
I headed out of the banquet hall, and started walking down the hall towards the atrium and elevators. The further I got from the hall, the worse I felt. I stopped at one point to figure out where I was, and where my break out session was supposed to be, and saw a room marked "Prayer room" on my map.
I sat down in a chair, and paused to take a breath, figure out the time, and try to figure out if sleeping would really help me. Or should I really try to find the prayer room?
Finally I got up and wandered back towards the hall and book table. I argued with myself the whole way. Then I saw it.
The banner that read:
The Prayer Room.
I remembered Lee telling me, just after we met each other, that she had seen my name in the prayer room, and I was going to like where it was placed. When I asked her where it was, she said I had to go into the room to see for myself.
I stood outside the prayer room for a few minutes, then turned to stare unseeingly at the book table while I tried to make up my mind about what I was going to do.
At that point I was feeling so vulnerable and ready to cry, so tired and strung out, that I was about ready to crumple into a heap.
I remembered Lee telling me that there were different names of God scattered across the tables in there, and that each person had been prayed for, and their names were placed by the name of God that God impressed on them.
I was very curious to see where my name was, that Lee had seen. I wanted to know why she was so excited about it. But I argued with myself that I had no time to do this. I needed to sleep so I could function for the rest of the evening. I didn't have time to "waste" in the prayer room.
Time to "waste?"
Finally I gave in to curiosity, and really to God's prompting, and turned toward the prayer room door.
I felt God literally pushed me to the door. I opened it, and cautiously looked inside.
Seeing the room was empty, I walked in and let the door shut softly behind me.
I stopped for a moment near a chair and let the silence soak into me. The room was lit softly, there was gentle music playing the the background. There were chairs scattered and grouped around... along with plenty of boxes of tissues. (This was a women's conference after all, they had to know there would be tears!)
I just felt God's gentle Spirit wash over me and rest on me. I fought the urge to worry about someone else come in behind me, and just stared at the cross in the middle of the tables in front of me.
As God's Spirit fell on me, I hardly noticed as the tears started falling. I remember crying out to God, out loud...
"God, I can't do this! I am so tired and I don't know what to do. I don't want to go through this conference distracted and hurting and tired. I want to hear from You!"
I was overwhelmed by the fear and anxiety that had been niggling at me all day, that I had been fighting with the Word of God all day, that the extreme weariness had finally let through. I sand into a chair, with this utter feeling of helplessness, crying... sobbing.
I pulled myself together some, and finally got up, and faced the tables. I was determined to find my name among 600 others, to see what God wanted to tell me about Himself.
It was a relief to let some of those tears out. I knew God was making my heart more tender. He was using every encounter with other people, every time I forced myself to introduce myself to someone new, every moment I was willing to surrender to Him, every talk I heard or book cover I read, to open me up. All I had been asking Him to do, up to this point was show me one thing that He wanted me to come home with.
Still with the tears flowing (though not as hopelessly as before) I got up and started reading the names of God, and scanning for my name among the hundreds there.
Then, finally I found it.
My breath caught in my throat, fresh sobs welled up as I found my name, and read the name of God by which it was so lovingly placed...
(to be continued)
(to be continued)