I was in Grundy, Virginia this weekend. It's a tiny coal mining community with a great big vision and the power of move mountains! (literally--they have moved a mountain, and I met the wife of the mountain-moving man who did the deed!) I was in Grundy (or Maxie, or Harman) to partner with the women at Harman Memorial Baptist Church who were hosting their first ever women's conference. And...
I met some amazing women. One was Dee Dee. She is a physical therapist who told me right off that she met her husband in a nursing home. No, he wasn't a patient--but rather an optometrist. His office is in "town" (I couldn't ever quite figure out where 'town' was, but evidently neither can those who live there. For when they moved their mountain, they also opened a discussion as to where they want to move their town! The final decision is still up in the air).
Dee Dee called me several weeks ago--said she found me on the internet, and wondered if I might be interested in leading their conference. As I listened to her tell me what the Lord put on her heart, my mind wandered back to the early years at TSC. Something kindled inside of me (I learned this weekend it was the power of the Holy Spirit responding to the prayers on their end of the phone). And I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Grundy, Virginia (where ever that was) was where I needed to be on October 10 and 11.
Another amazing woman was Belinda. She's the pastor's wife. She grew up in a pastor's home (which is always encouraging to me when I see beautiful women embracing the ministry even after growing up in a pastor's home! There is HOPE for my three!!). She tole me that because her father was a pastor, she told the Lord that when she got married, she would NOT marry a pastor. However she did marry a Gideon and that Gideon later became a pastor! When she told me this story she laughed (with genuine joy) and said, "God tricked me into being a pastor's wife!" Isn't that funny???
Then I also met the former pastor's wife, Billie Joyce Owens. Her husband died in a car accident four years ago, and although I detected an undeniable loss --it was resting safely beneath a fountain of joy that bubbled over with faith, peace and abundance. She spoke of God as if He were her very BEST FRIEND (I've no doubt He is) --and told me of the amazing gift He gave her in her grandson.
And I can't remember the names of everyone I met--but I will remember the face and the testimony of an elderly woman who sat on the front row Saturday morning. She caught me in the break and shared how her husband of nearly 60 years (would have been 60 years October 23) died this past June. She shared how much she missed him. I exclaimed "what a gift to have a marriage for that many years!" and she responded, "there's not ever been another woman who was loved as good as me." She went on to say that she married him when she was 13, and had 5 beautiful children. She told me that her firstborn was married this past August, and he told his mother that he wanted what she and his Dad had. She told him "then do what your father did. Listen when she tells you what you need to hear!" I thought this was some of the best marriage advice I'd ever heard!! When she told me that her husband was 81 when he died, I said, "you must have taken great care of him." to which she responded, "we took care of one another." Isn't that sweet? I pray I can have a testimony like that when I use a walker to go to church.
I had a traveling companion this weekend. My friend Kim. She too amazes me. Kim is a single mother who has done an amazing job of raising her daughters. As we talked (and talked and talked) during the 8 hour drive from here to there and back home again, she became a hero in my eyes. But everytime I said, "wow, Kim you are amazing!" She would respond, "no, not me. I'm nothing! I would've crashed and burned a long time ago had it not been for the Lord."
So---maybe it's not the women that are so amazing, but rather their God. I learned this weekend that some people MOVE MOUNTAINS~ I learned this weekend that others conquer the storms, and I learned this weekend that women in the backwoods of Virginia are changing the world.
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