October 14, 2021
At the beginning of October, I was invited to attend the “She Leads America” launch in Washington, DC. Through a connection with my mentor I was introduced to Liz Doyle, the “She Leads” founder. This group was started in Michigan with the intention of recognizing and encouraging Christian women of influence. The women that are part of this group are incredible. They are local and national politicians, ministry leaders, pastors, well-known authors, and heads of major charities. These women are faith-heavyweights. Therefore, when I was asked to attend I had the thought, “God what are you doing? I feel like I would don’t belong here.”
For weeks as I prayed and tried to determine why God had put this opportunity on my lap. I didn’t tell anyone. Why I felt a needed a reason for the invitation I’m not sure, but I waited to hear why I had been included. The answer didn’t come until I presented the opportunity to my husband.
He would be responsible for the kids and all the household if I was going to attend, so I had to ask him anyway. I let him know I had been asked to attend as a delegate from Arizona. I shared how I was feeling that I didn’t think of myself as a person of influence. My fear was that I wasn’t the caliber of woman that should be present. I was a little bit scared of rejection.
“That’s ridiculous. Just because you are not a senator doesn’t mean you don’t belong. How do you know God isn’t putting you in the room so you can learn from and grow into that kind of woman of influence?” He replied.
And there it was.
Just because I didn’t THINK I belonged didn’t mean God didn’t want me in the room. So I booked my hotel, flight, and continued to pray. I still felt unworthy. However, the closer the event got the more my doubt faded into nervous excitement.
Finally, I arrived in Washington. I didn’t know anyone. Even though there were other women from Arizona I had never met them.
I had to kick my extrovert side into high gear to meet some new friends, even though technically I’m an ambivert. Fortunately, most of the women attending were wearing purple lanyards so they were easily identified. I started by introducing myself and joining in all the activities that were available.
One of the first events was a prayer walk through the capital. The event was focused on prayer, repentance, and recommitting our country back to Jesus. The leaders of the walk encouraged anyone who felt led to pray at varying stops. Some of these included the Capitol Building, the Smithsonian Institute for Art, David’s tent, and the Washington Monument. As these women prayed they called down heaven. Literally.
Their language was different. Their tone was different. They didn’t care how they sounded or where their voices led. It was clear they were full of the Holy Spirit. I thought if I touched them I might get raptured.
As I observed these experienced prayer warriors, I felt humbled to walk alongside them. Once our prayer walk was finished we dispersed to have lunch. Usually, I attend conferences with friends so I rarely lunch alone. This was not the case. In fact, I barely had a chance to make an acquaintance so I explored on my own. I embraced the awkward feelings of being out of place. It was ok. I was ok. I was here and I was going to see what God had to offer.
Later that day, we had the chance to take a tour of the “Museum of the Bible.” I highly recommend doing this if you are ever in the D.C. area! This tour was mind-blowing. After the long day, we arrived at the main event. It was a gala to honor and recognize women of influence and bestow on them a Congressional Certificate of Service for Ministry. The clear impact these women made in their world was inspiring.
I could write a whole post on this part of the trip but I’ll save that for another time. The evening concluded and I took a few pictures and made a point to introduce myself to a young woman who was a constitutional lawyer. She literally defends our constitution in front of the Supreme Court. #mindblown
I thanked her for interpreting the law through the lens of the Bible. Then we made small talk as we walked back toward the hotel. It was at this moment that a member of the “She Leads” advisory team approached her and invited her out to dinner. The lawyer politely declined. The woman then turned to me, “Hey, you are from Arizona right? Do you have dinner plans? Why don’t you come along?” She asked.
Even though it was obvious the invitation was clearly meant for the lawyer, I graciously accepted. We hopped into an Uber and I found myself surrounded by dynamic leaders. They didn’t know me. I was a “nobody”, BUT God had appointed me to not only attend this event but to sit down and break bread with these titans of faith.
If my mouth wasn’t attached to my face I would have had to pick it up off the floor.
At dinner, I learned more about what each of them did, parts of their testimony, and their anticipation of what “She Leads” would accomplish in the future. One of the women I sat across from is on the National Day of Prayer Task Force. She was an older woman, classy, enterprising, and a pastor. I mentioned to her I followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and my husband to attend this event. Her response was profound.
“It’s good to feel small, isn’t it? We can see where God might be taking us,” she said.
Dinner concluded and we all went back to the hotel. As I reflected on the trip I realized not once during my trip did I FEEL like I belonged. God was faithful to remind me I was precisely where He intended me to be. I learned so much. I was inspired to dig even deeper into the word of God. My desire to be in the presence of God, pray powerfully, and be intentional about my time was renewed. This event was gasoline for my faith.
Having an awkward “fish out of water moment” reminded me, sometimes it’s good to swim in a bigger bowl. You get to see and learn the rhythms of the big fish. Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong somewhere? When you stepped out in faith and embraced the awkward how did God show you, you were right where He meant for you to be? I hope this story encourages you that even when you FEEL like you don’t belong, that is not an indication you’re not where God needs you to be.
Omheart Jess… this is so amazing!!you see, most of us who know you, think of you as a warrior for Christ ! But what I’ve discovered about you and through you is, when we are weak we are strong in Him! It is so genuine in you, that you don’t see it! I can’t imagine anyone not being blessed by you company! This weekend encounter was evidently God’s plan for you, for sure! I am so blessed at the things He spoke into your heart! Love you deeply…and how He loves you🙏♥️