Outstretched Arms

fearWow!  I am having an incredible time at She Speaks, a conference for women in ministry developed by the fabulous ladies at Proverbs 31 Ministries.  It is late and I am tired but I have to share what God revealed to me today before I will be able to sleep. (Yes, this conference is THAT good)

It all started in the prayer room.  This is a room at the conference, set aside for {yup, you guessed it} prayer.  This is such a neat idea, as the staff at P31 pray for all the attendees in the months and weeks before the conference.  I had been warned that you would not leave the prayer room without having experienced the presence of God powerfully.  I had secretly avoided the room, eyeing it suspiciously every time I walked past; completely ignoring the still small voice that beckoned me in.

Then this afternoon I was headed to a breakout session and the prayer room was almost straight across the hall.  I felt a pull in my soul like metal to a magnet.  I walked into the prayer room rather than my scheduled session.  As I put down my things, I did a quick scan of the other women in the room.  There were three or so women praying together in a corner and another young woman up front.  I set down my bags, trying to be as quiet and reverent as possible.  Little did I know that in less than a minute I would be bawling like a stuck pig sobbing, which is anything but quiet and reverent.sadface1

I made my way over to the tables in the front of the prayer room where every attendees name had been placed on a sheet of paper containing a name of God.  For example, my name was on the name ELOHIM meaning The Creator, The All Knowing, The All Powerful One.  Since I had expected wherever my name was to mean something personal to me, I felt a little knot of disappointment in my stomach because my name being on ELOHIM wasn’t doing anything for me. {Now before y’all go thinking I am being sacreligious, I had been expecting an epiphany and wasn’t having one.  I was disgruntled}

I continued around the tables, curious to see the other names of God (and where my name had NOT been placed).  That is when IT happened.  When The All Knowing, Creator of the Universe stepped on my toes.  God hurt my feelings. *gasp*

I saw that one of the sheets of paper had the name of God that means “the Healer”.  Instantly, I had a mental pity party.  Why wasn’t that where God had put my name?  Why hadn’t He had all these awesome women praying for me to be freed from this stupid disease?  I went back to the spot where my name rested and picked up the little slip of paper that said Melissa Smallwood.  I reasoned with myself that with 600 names, the ladies had obviously heard God wrong on this one.  My name didn’t belong on ELOHIM.  God needed to heal me.

I didn’t get but two steps away with that slip of paper in my hand when the tears started to fall.  And I mean torrential downpour fall.  The Spirit of God was on my heart like stink on a middle school boy.  I fell to my knees {thankfully the ladies at P31 know how to put on a conference and there was a cushy, kneel down and pray thingy right there or I probably never would have gotten back up} and knew in that moment that healing was not God’s will for me.

You see God (or ELOHIM), He is all knowing, all powerful.  He knew I came to this conference with a divided heart.  He knew that I am scared to death to be completely surrendered to His will for my life because He won’t reveal to me the detailed itinerary. He knew that I was not committed to the concept of “ministry”.  He knew that I would come in that room and need to be reminded that my physical comfort and fleshly desires are not what is important to Him.  His plan, His will- Him, not me is what is important.peace

A sweet woman named LuAnn (that is all I know about her, just what her nametag said) brought me over tissues as I was confessing all this {and more} in to my prayer journal.  As I wiped the tears and snot off my make-up streaked face, she lovingly looked at me and asked if she could pray with me.  She took my hand as I nodded and asked her to pray that I would just get {and stay} out of God’s way.

She prayed like God had given her a window into my soul, like she knew or had experienced the exact crossroads moment I was at at somepoint in her life.  And what she said resonated deep within me.  She prayed that God would give me the desire to run to Him. 

I immediately pictured my youngest son, Matt, running to me with outstretched arms last week at BWI airport- welcoming me home from a trip.  That is what God wants from me and for me.  Not to have to drag me, kicking and screaming and throwing a big girl tantrum every step of the way.  No, He wants me to run to Him with outstretched arms saying “Use me.  Show me the way.  Not my will but thine be done”.

I surrender all, Lord.  Reveal to me what Your all is everyday.  My arms are open.  Here I am…..


  1. Luann Prater is on the speaker team at Proverbs. She’s amazing and loves to pray with women. She’s also the host of Encouragement Cafe radio program.

    I love your heart in this post,.

  2. What a wonderful experience, I wish I were there with you sounds absolutely amazing 😉

  3. That is just awesome Melissa! So glad God opened your heart to hear His voice.


  4. Powerful time…so thrilled you had it in you to post this while She Speaks was going on . It was so good to meet you. Will make connecting now that much more meaningful. 🙂

  5. Melissa Smallwood, God LOVES YOU!!!!!

    I am so glad you had this awesome touch of God during this conference. He has a plan for your life that is perfectly orchestrated for you and nobody else. I totally understand the fear part. I danced around for so many years not wanting to submit (dare I even say that word?). YES I will. Because only God loves what’s best for us.

    Sometimes I have to remind myself that the God who created me and loves me, certainly knows what’s best for me. So why do I ever fight it? Duh, I dunno.

    And only He knows my true desires. You know how we sometimes worry that He will send us off to some forsaken country if we truly surrender. If it is His Will for my life, He will give me a desire for that. I just know it.

    Melissa, I love your openness and honesty. It really gives others an opportunity to come alongside you and encourage you. I can’t tell you how many times I keep things bottled up and don’t talk. So, you keep sharing.

    I can’t wait to see how the Lord will be working in your open and willing heart.


  6. How precious you are to the heart of God … and to us here at P31.

    So glad you came!

  7. Hey Melissa,

    We sat together at lunch on Saturday and I loved hearing this story firsthand. It remains one of the clearest things in my mind about She Speaks…

    It was good to talk to you and great to visit your blog…

    You’re a great writer!


  8. Sounds like it was an awesome experience. I would love to go to the conference next year. I’m sure I would really learn a lot. Thanks for sharing, great post!!


  1. […] there was She Speaks.  I had the most amazing experiences at She Speaks last year and could not possibly believe that it wouldn’t be God’s will […]

  2. […] cured me right quick of the desire for him to remove my illness from me.  I had a head on encounter with Him about it and have never looked at that trial in the same way sense. On to verse 12: Blessed is the man who […]

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