I have not been able to shake one experience from the She Speaks conference. It was the last session before dinner on Friday, July 26. I was tired, frozen (yes, that’s no typo! The hotel was so cold that some of us were shuddering and shaking because of it. Many of us would use every little opportunity we had to get outside to warm up. And then I would dread coming back into the deep freeze. And trust me, I know about deep freeze, I live in Manitoba! When women were saying on the She Speaks Facebook page to bring a light jacket or a light sweater, they sure were not kidding… Personally, I could have used a proper winter sweater…) Well, that was a rabbit trail…
But back to my story. It was the last session before dinner. There was no way I was to miss Tom Davis’ session “Writing Out of Your Passion.” I was curious to see what Tom Davis would say about this topic. I had not googled him like I had done for the other speakers. I went into the room with no preconceived opinions, not knowing anything about this man. I was in for a treat!
Tom Davis spoke with passion, his hand gestures displayed passion, his whole body language conveyed passion, and after I heard his life story, I must say he lives passion. Currently he is the president and CEO of Children’s HopeChest, a global advocacy organization serving orphans and widows around the world. He is also the author of 5 books.
Listening to him speak I couldn’t help but see a man who has totally surrendered to God’s call and God’s will. “It is all about God using you in His Kingdom,” was one if the first sentences he said. He had a 10-point presentation. But his third point caught me off guard: “Look Into Your Past.” I felt his question “What are you running from?” directed at me personally.
What am I running from? Yes, the past is one of them.
I do not like my past. I try to avoid talking about my past. But over and over again God seems to point me there. It feels like God is weaving a spider’s web out of my past’s experiences around me. I do feel a bit trapped in it.
Look into your past! I’ve learned that my past is part of my destiny; my past is part of my calling. I’ve had a few experiences where someone came up to me and shared a struggle or hurt they were experiencing. And I couldn’t help but have to look into my past. Because what this person was going through was very similar, and in one case just the same as I had been through. Creepy, right?
Not really, if you believe there are no coincidences in life, if you believe there is a purpose for every hurt, every pain you have ever felt. I didn’t see much purpose when I went through the pain of persecution in Moldova. As a kid you just want to fit in, and if you can’t fit in, than at least you want to be left alone. But when you are constantly afraid to go home from school because you don’t know if there will be those kids again who spit in your face and threaten you daily, you don’t see much purpose for your pain. And all this harassment only because you had the courage to say that you did believe there is a God, you did believe the Bible stories your parents and grandparents had been telling you.
The pain was real, the harassment was real… Today as I look into my past I still don’t understand the whole purpose of this experience. When I hear of Christians being persecuted for their faith, I can identify, I know the fear they feel, the questions they have. Was that the purpose for me?
At the end of Tom Davis’ session he talked about his work with HopeChest, about the orphans they have been able to rescue. Now guess what country he was talking about? MOLDOVA! I sat frozen in my seat, this time not because of the cold hotel meeting room. No, because God was connecting a few more dots from my past to my present.
At the end of the session Tom announced a giveaway, a fully paid trip to Moldova with HopeChest in October of this year. After I recovered from my initial shock I went to the HopeChest table in the foyer and started talking with two of the staff. I wanted to know what city/cities they were working in. And I saw the box for the giveaway entries. After a long debate with myself I did put my business card into that box, silently hoping my card will not be pulled…
There are many happy memories from those five years of life in Moldova. But there are also many painful memories I have avoided for many years. I don’t know what will become of this encounter with my past. But I know there is a reason I was supposed to meet Tom Davis in that cold hotel meeting room, tired and weary from a long day of intense learning, during the session “Writing Out of Your Passion.”
Look into your past! What do you see? Is there anything you are running from?