"I'm not weird. I'm a limited edition!"
Those are the words of Patsy Clairmont, a feisty, diminutive, hysterical woman of faith. And she was the main speaker at the Women of Faith Conference I recently attended in Anaheim, California.
First of all, you've just got to love Patsy – any *pixie* that can speak so powerfully about the Lord is a keeper! Seriously, the woman is maybe 5 feet tall – on a good day – on her tiptoes! She's also on the - ahem - "other" side of 60. But let me tell you, if I could bundle up her energy, I could have single-handedly prevented the recent power outage in Southern California!
Here's the amazing thing – Patsy has an unbelievable testimony about the power of God.
You see, for more than 10 years, Patsy was housebound. Totally imprisoned in her home because of the overwhelming effects of agoraphobia. At one point, she was terrorized to even leave her bed.
If you don't know, agoraphobia is defined this way:
Extreme or irrational fear of crowded spaces or enclosed public places.
Please tell me you catch the irony of this. A woman too afraid to go out the front door of her house for ten years, stands alone in front of 12,000 women in a crowded (and enclosed) stadium.
THAT, my friends, is GOD!
Patsy will be the first one to tell you that.
And she did.
I'd love to share some of her thoughts.
First – "God can do the impossible with the ridiculous."
Patsy uses her very own story as an example of this. I'd have to agree. God is indeed in the business of using the most unlikely people for His purposes. Think about it –
A crazy guy builds an ark. A very old man, and his very old wife (read very old womb) father a nation. A baby found in some bulrushes leads over a million people out of slavery. A rather reluctant hero defeats an army with only 300 men. A Christ-hater becomes one of the most powerful missionaries in history.
One tiny baby born in a grubby, lonely manger saves humanity.
Reminds me that man's foolishness is truly God's wisdom.
So, I know that I am one of the more ridiculous people in this world – and yet, I have to believe that God can do impossible things in me, through me, and for me. He sorta specializes in that. And He can do the same for you.
Second – "Hardship is formative."
I wasn't a fan of this point. Uncomfortable truth just makes me – well – uncomfortable. But this point is well-taken. Patsy paints such a clear picture of how God has used hardship in her life to shape and mold her into HIS woman of faith.
We aren't formed by our easy times. The Bible tells us that. We are refined by fire – fire that purifies and removes the dross of life. Character is developed by perseverance. Endurance is the hallmark of God's people. And like it or not, hardship has a way of clearing the way for God to do some serious, deep-down work in our hearts.
Third – "Our will is stronger than our emotions."
Another speaker worded it this way: "God has created you with a will that is stronger than the way you feel."
This one really got me pondering. I found it challenging, and I found it thrilling.
Challenging because I am a very emotional person. And I am frequently led/distracted/fooled/obsessed/overwhelmed/confused…(feel free to insert your own word in here)…by my feelings. How often they dictate the way that I view situations and people – how often they dictate the way I act and react.
But…and here's the thrilling part...
God did not create me to be a victim of my feelings. He did not create me to be "run" by them. After all, the Holy Spirit is there to bring control to a life. I think that's an awesome truth.
You see, slavery to sin is just that – slavery to the whims and desires and lusts of the flesh. Sin operates in the realm of feelings. How often have we heard it said, "Just do what you feel." Hogwash!
Faith operates in the realm of will. Faith exists in a higher plane than feelings. It works best in obedience – in willful acts despite one's feelings.
Love your enemies.
Forgive seventy times seven times.
Turn the other cheek.
Don't lean on your own understanding.
Be thankful in all circumstances.
Don't worry about anything.
THAT list could go on and on.
God's way turns our "feely" ways upside down. He calls us to something greater than feelings – He calls us to Himself. He wants believers who are single-minded in their pursuit of Him.
Patsy had so many other good things to say. I'll just finish by listing some of the quotes that I wrote down:
"Say yes to God every morning."
"Allow God to give you the strength to live His song in your heart."
"Leaning into the Lord gives you better hearing."
"Judgment gets in the way of progress."
"Prayer matters – it's significant."
"Try to believe for what you don't understand." (Ouch…tough one)
"QUIT quitting!" (Sigh…yes)
"You have to change how you view God's rescue." (Really?? Yes, really…)
"Change can be good." (Wasn't a fan of this one either…but I was...you know what I mean)
Good stuff, huh?! Especially when these little nuggets of truth are interspersed with the funniest stories and facial expressions! I love Truth when it's liberally coated with laughter, don't you?
So, my friends, I wish all of you were with me in those stands last weekend. But, I hope that I've brought a touch of Patsy Clairmont to you.
A pixie touch of God's word.
She stands as a visible testament to the power of God to do the impossible with the ridiculous. She reminds me that ALL things – and most likely, the HARD things – are working to conform me into the image of the Lord I love.
And she inspires me to be a willfully obedient Woman of Faith.
What spoke to you today?
(P.S. Sorry I haven't been visiting your blogs as often as usual. Playing *nurse* to a husband laid up with a broken ankle takes a lot of time! I'll be by as time permits - and thanks for understanding. You do, right?!)
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"