Reluctant Banquet Speaker
I’ve attended a lot of women’s luncheons and while most have long been forgotten, I will never forget the spring banquet when Julie spoke.
Pat and I were excited about taking a big leap and reaching out to the women in our little town by inviting them to a mother-daughter spring luncheon sponsored by our church’s Women’s Ministry. We immediately began praying for the right date, the right restaurant, the right theme and the right speaker. When we agreed on the speaker, we decided to ask her and that was when we hit a snag.
We observed Julie and her husband taking her mom to the 9:00 a.m. church service Sunday after Sunday. Julie and her mom looked like the perfect duo to grace our podium at our banquet-of-the-year. When asked, Julie said: “You’ve got to be kidding. Trust me; you don’t want my mom and me. We barely like each other.” I quickly apologized to Julie and admitted I probably had not heard from God correctly during prayer.
It was to our benefit that Pat and I waited on the Lord and did not line up another speaker in haste. Two weeks later, Julie called me and we met for lunch. “Is the invitation to speak at the banquet still open?” Julie asked. After meeting with our pastor, Julie realized that a great deal of healing occurred in counseling sessions with him over the years and that she just may be God’s mouthpiece of how He can take a troubled relationship and bring restoration to it.
The day of our mother-daughter banquet arrived and every seat in the room was filled. Pat’s centerpieces were exquisite and the menu we chose was a hit. I introduced Julie to the crowd. Her elderly mom sat at the head table and admired her daughter’s eloquence along with the rest of us. Julie was a powerful business woman with a flair for public speaking. She divulged just enough of the truth to let every listening mom or daughter know that God can take our mistakes and turn our pain into gain. She talked very little about the abuse and neglect in her childhood that flooded our private lunch with tears. Instead, she labored the point that God forgives and restores. Mothers are far from perfect. Circumstances in life may prevent us from loving them at times, but God always requires us to honor them.
It was obvious that the ladies enjoyed Julie. I closed the meeting with an invitation to come up and pray with us. To our amazement, lines formed. Julie was the last one to leave the restaurant and was exhausted after praying with broken women who suffered with damaged emotions from their mothers.
The enemy tried to steal our banquet, but the Holy Spirit nixed his plan. Women were healed and delivered by the truth of God’s Word that day! Months after that luncheon, women were still stopping me in the supermarket, the church parking lot, and at the kids’ school telling me that they attended that luncheon and how much Julie’s message hit home in their hearts. I had no clue so many women were hurting.
Julie continued to work in her profession, but she never missed our women’s Bible study on Tuesday mornings. In no time at all God raised her up to lead support groups for women with a gift to nurture them to healing through God’s Word and Spirit.
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