Blog by Ginny Paynter
This will be my 15th Devoted and I am more expectant and in love with all Devoted is than I ever have been. Devoted isn’t just something I go to every year, it’s a pillar in my life that has firmly set my feet and grounded the woman I am called to be. I call it my “Spiritual New Year.” Everything resets at Devoted; my year is defined, and I’m refreshed to face what lies ahead. Through the years, I’ve been healed, set free, expanded, grown in intimacy with the Father, and empowered through Devoted and each year gets better and better.
My favorite thing about Devoted is the community of women. A few years ago, I was sitting on my own during a morning session, surrounded by hundreds of women. I was sitting behind a group of women a few decades ahead of me in life. Worship had been incredible, so much so that I had felt the breeze of the Holy Spirit in the room in a tangible way I had never really experienced corporately before. After the preaching, we were prompted from the speaker to pray for people who were believing for their husbands to come to know Jesus. To this I was a participating observer. I watched a number of women in the group in front of me stand for their husbands. What burden these women stood with! I could feel their desperation and burning desire to see their husbands come to know Jesus personally. They held hands with the women on either side of them and as I stretched my hand toward them, to agree in prayer, I was reduced to tears. I could sense these women had been holding their hands up to Jesus for years in this same prayer, and that morning, they stood again with a faith like when they first believed. I could see it. I felt the burden in each tear as it rolled down their cheeks and I felt my heart burdened for them – wanting the breakthrough they had been waiting so long for.
I couldn’t pick one of those women out of a lineup today if my life depended on it, but I have never forgotten that moment. It’s one of the most beautiful moments of a myriad of beautiful moments I’ve been privy to by attending Devoted. They weren’t just individual women standing in faith for their husbands: they were my sister, my mother, my friends, and myself; standing arm-in-arm fighting on behalf of those closest to them. There was nothing about them I didn’t see in myself; I felt that I was one with them, and I was inspired. Community is a game changer – it refreshes a weary heart and spurs us on to build it more. It’s not what we walk into Devoted seeking God to meet us with, it’s that we bring it all together to the Father and side-by-side seek Jesus and His answers together. We compliment the other with our faith and expectation. It’s not that those women brought their burden to Jesus and lifted their hands and prayed, it was that I complimented their faith with mine and together, in unity, we submitted our requests to God.
It’s not just about what you get out of Devoted. It’s also about what you bring. It’s about showing up, being open, being willing, and being a piece of the community. Community is never about the one, it’s always about the whole and we are each a part of the whole. There’s something quite powerful about knowing I get to be a part of this body of women. Devoted is about each one of us, together, and for that I’m most blessed.