Tonight Lyndsey and I (Frankie), wanted to share our reflections on the Illuminate 2018 conference which we attended in Northern Ireland along with 13 other wonderful ladies from Falkirk Vineyard. Below are our stories and we hope they serve as a source encouragement to you!
After a mild crisis of confidence regarding my Air BnB booking skills, I arrived on Northern Irish soil excited and expectant about how God would use the weekend at Illuminate 2018. Following a profound year of stretching, growth and healing I was ready for whatever God had for me. I knew right from the Friday night, I was different this year. I was receiving out of a place of wholeness and dependency like never before. And this year was all about stories and I embraced every moment of the privilege of getting to partner with people as they told their raw and honest stories of how God had showed up in the middle of unimaginable pain.
On Sunday morning I had some time to spare so I went to see the bottom of the garden at the beautiful mill house where we stayed. It wasn’t the easiest journey- it was slippy, wet from rain and the little path badly over grown. I found a long forgotten summer house, caught a sight of the big old chimney of the abandoned mill, found a wee muddy pond and right at the bottom; a fiercely flowing river. The fallen autumn leaves were all around me as I stopped and savoured the beautiful moment of calm. I prayed out loud, thanking God for such a blessed weekend and accepting what I knew he was telling me; a new story is beginning.
All I sense so far is that this is a story where I step up, I step out and get brave. I sense an adventure of an increase in dependency, peace and practical learning awaits me. I am embracing the words spoken over me this weekend by a brave young women who called out what she felt God was saying to me; that my hands will be a doer of great works for God. Yes and Amen God; I am ready! I am ready to be shown what God wants to show me; a new love. A love that goes beyond the current boundaries of my heart and experience to love more wholly the people I encounter every day, the place I call home and all the experiences yet to come. I’m healed but I’m still healing. I’m planted but I’m still growing. My compass is set and I’m on my way!
“Arise, my dearest, Hurry, my darling. Come away with me! I have come as you have asked to draw you to my heart and lead you out. For now is the time, my beautiful one. The season has changed; the bondage of your barren winter has ended, and the season of hiding is over and gone. The rains have soaked the earth and left it bright with blossoming flowers. The season for singing and pruning the vines has arrived. I hear the cooing of doves in our land, filling the air with songs to awaken you and guide you forth. Can you not discern this new day of destiny breaking forth around you? The early signs of my purpose and plans are bursting forth. The budding vines of new life are now blooming everywhere. The fragrance of their flowers whispers “There is change in the air.” Arise, my love, my beautiful companion, and run with me to a higher place. For now is the time to come away with me.” Song of Songs 2:2-15, TPT.
As we approached our weekend away to illuminate 2018, the only word I can use to describe how I was feeling is overwhelmed. I would like to say excited or expectant but the reality is the past few months have been difficult. If you have had a conversation with me recently you may have heard me say 'I'm busy' or 'just tired' but as I have said to those close to me, I feel I had lost my joy. So as the weekend drew closer, I was looking forward to a good nights sleep and I was desperately praying that God would intervene and I would begin to feel a little more 'normal', well normal for me anyway!
Even after years of being in a relationship with God, I am still blown away when He speaks to me in such a direct and loving way. From the stories shared on Friday night right through until Sunday morning, God used different ways to break me down, open my eyes and heart, set my compass and lovingly tell me to start walking forward again. You see somewhere along the way, I had lost my joy because I had lost my purpose. My compass was no longer facing North towards my Father. In truth my compass was irrationally spinning in any direction, my mind was foggy and I couldn't focus because I wasn't even looking for North. In the midst of being busy I had become distracted by responsibilities, work, family, chores, perfection, striving, comparison and dissatisfaction and so many other things and I was forgetting to reset my compass.
As God reached out to me, I found that I was hurting over things I thought I had long before dealt with, I was over those hurts and my past... or was I? But as Janet Young shared on Friday night, we are healed and still healing. Oh what glorious words! From there we heard Tre share about how it's ok to be under the broom tree, and God our Father will let us rest and then bake us a cake (bonus, right!) but at some point when we have rested and eaten we have to come back out; we can't stay under the tree! And then finally on Saturday night Tori said it really is a matter of constantly resetting our compass to North, we have many things that we will let draw our attention and suddenly we are not walking North anymore, but we must reset and keep going.
I cannot explain at what point things changed for me this weekend but I have returned home feeling lighter, my heart feeling joyful and remembering to always set my compass North. So let me ask you a few questions tonight:
How are you doing really?
Is your compass set on North?
Do you need to come under the broom tree?
Is it time to come out from under the broom tree?
Is it time to go, step forward, if your compass is set?
We are all at different points in this journey but I encourage you to be vulnerable with one another so we can move forward, North, towards our Father!
“Give me Your lantern and compass.
Give me a map so I may find my way...
to the place of your presence.” Psalm 43:3-4
Thoughts, experiences, and encouragement from the ladies of Falkirk Vineyard.