Tuesday, June 1, 2010

His Amazing Touch

By Carolyn H. Reynolds
Slipping into the back-row seat for the breakout session, “Preparing for the Battlefield through Prayer,” at the 2009 She Speaks Conference, my eyes surveyed the room for a chair closer to the speaker. I knew God had directed me to this session, and I didn’t want to miss a word. There was not a single empty chair in sight; the classroom was filled to capacity. Disappointed with myself for lingering a little too long at the book table, I sat down in the back row and prepared to focus my full attention on the speaker’s presentation. Always the dutiful student, I was equipped with a class syllabus and arsenal of multicolored pens.

Getting equipped for spiritual battle has been a goal of mine for a long time, but especially now. There was an upcoming marriage enrichment weekend which my husband I were coordinating and my pastor warned us to always be on the alert for the tactics of the enemy, especially during ministry. My protective armor was a little rusty; it needed to be dusted, oiled, and polished! I knew I needed a renewed commitment to strap on the helmet of salvation, to put on the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sandals of the gospel of peace. Oh, how I needed a persistent, firm grip on the shield of faith. And most importantly, I needed a renewed commitment to take up my only defensive weapon, the sword of the spirit, the Living Word of God.

Immediately, I knew I would need to be laser-focused because nearby commotions began with later-than-me arrivals, and sound technicians making adjustments. Then the gal next to me began rubbing her eyes, and she asked if I had a tissue. After a quick survey through my usual everything-but-the-kitchen-sink handbag, I told her regretfully, I had none. Her head was slightly bowed forward, and her face remained concealed with her silky chestnut hair. She continued to rub her eyes. She must be having contact lens problems, I empathized. I’d like to think my motive was more out of compassion for another, but it was an “inner nudge to action” that wouldn’t stop. So up I sprang to locate and return with the needed TISSUES. Still, without any eye contact, my classmate waved to me a sweet thank-you. Whew! No more distractions.

A quiet hush fell over the room as our speaker, Luann, asked us to bow our heads for the opening prayer. It was at that very moment that I had overwhelming inclination to touch this person next to me on the shoulder. “No, not another distraction,” I thought. Had I not just purposed to stay focused on Luann’s prayer and message? Had I not heard from God to attend this session to learn and apply the principles we would hear? I struggled with myself regarding staying focused on the ongoing prayer, versus touching my classmate.

In a split-second my mind filled with questions, and the self-talk went something like this: “You don’t know this gal; she’ll think you’re nuts and she’d probably be right! Why risk making a fool of yourself? What if you scare her? What if…” That did it! Somewhere along my faith journey, I learned to take captive the “what if’s” of doubt and deception, and boldly step into the faith walk of “what if I fail to obey the voice of God?” I remembered that His sheep know His voice, and that there is peace in the center of His will. There was a prayer team back home praying for me to hear from God at “She Speaks”. And hadn’t my husband prayed over me that morning for God’s direction for my day?

So, by faith, I reached out and touched her. My heart suddenly warmed, and my hand gently began stoking her arm. It was a tender moment, reminding me of intimate memories with my children. Time seemed to stand still while my hand continued making soft circles on her arm. The prayer ended and our gazes continued focused forward on the speaker. Together we sat, two strangers, who were now connected by a spiritual bond of love.

Throughout the session, principles of effective prayers were interspersed with pertinent applications. The hour passed quickly. My colored highlighters got a workout, and the notes on Spiritual Warfare could parallel a Picasso. It was clear that spiritual warfare was not for the faint of faith. There were serious and somber charges to Christian prayer warriors like taking our thoughts captive and realizing the battle is the Lord’s.

At the conclusion of the session, we were challenged to find a prayer partner. At that time Tammy and I, introduced ourselves, paired together, and found our way to the prayer room. She took my arms in her hands tightly and shook me as if to get my attention.

“Carolyn, you’ll never believe what your touch during the opening prayer was to me. It was a gift from God. You see, I have been holding back tears throughout the conference because of the recent death of my precious son, Nick.” Just as I was entering the classroom, an “innocent” Mother whose son was fighting leukemia asked how Nick was doing. That’s when the dam broke.
Tears sprang from her eyes as she told me of the courageous journey of her precious son, Nicholas, who fought brain tumors for six years. At the conference the loneliness of missing Nick had tugged heavily at her heartstrings.

“When you reached over and touched me during the opening prayer, I knew it was a miracle from God,” Tammy explained. “The way you made gentle circles on my arm, was exactly the way Nick showed his love to me.”

What a gift from God we both experienced that day, His amazing touch.

Carolyn and Tammy have remained friends since the 2009 She Speaks Conference. You can read more about Tammy on her blog at http://www.tammynischan.com/.

Carolyn H. Reynolds, M.A. resides in Tampa Bay, Florida. She is a Bible teacher, Christian Life Purpose Coach, and president of Growth in Faith, an interdenominational ministry for women. Married to her dentist and best friend, Michael, they founded Pathway Partners for the purpose of encouragement through speaking, writing and coaching. They have authored a devotional book, “Pocket Pearls” and have hosted a television show, “Growing in Faith”. As new empty nesters, they retreat to Flat Rock, NC, where they conduct marriage conferences, and facilitate Life-Plans for individuals and couples.


Kimberly said...

This is a beautiful reminder not only of the tenderness of God, but also a wonderful reminder of why we need to listen and obey when He asks us to do something that sounds crazy to us!

I love your question, Carolyn..."What if I fail to obey the voice of God?". What an EXCELLENT question for when all of those other "what ifs" start popping up...a question I am tucking away to use in the future against my own "what ifs"!

Thanks so much for sharing!

Donna Sheppard said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was reminded of a time in a prayer service when God called me to lay hands on a lady who was broken. As I and other ladies prayed over her, she grabbed my hand and said "whose hand is that" (several times)? Her eyes opened wide and as she looked at me, she said she felt a shock down her arm and chest where she had been treated for an ambolism. She stated she felt the healing touch of God physically and emotionally. This experience had nothing to do with me, but is another testimony of how God's Holy Spirit works among brothers and sister's in Christ. It is so freeing to sit back and see what God can do, when all we have to do is... obey! This is POWERFUL!