For years, I’ve been hearing, mostly from my Protestant friends, about the fabulous Beth Moore. “You must come see her,” they said. And so, seeing how big their hearts were for Jesus and how much they’d been moved by Beth, and since Beth would be paying a visit to our town, and I’d written a preview about her visit and secured a complimentary ticket in the process, it was a done deal.
Happily, I set aside much of my weekend to sit in a huge auditorium we know here as the Fargodome to see what God had in store for me.
Beth calls her events Living Proof Live. She’s been doing them now for 18 years, and each time she visits a city, she creates a unique presentation for that particular region. So even if you’ve heard Beth talk before, you’ve never heard THIS talk and never will again.
I arrived at the Fargodome alone, not sure if I’d have the chance to connect with friends who also had tickets but had gone separately. With nearly 5,000 women in attendance, I figured it would be impossible to find them.
But somehow, we managed to connect. And not only that, but God led me to the perfect seats three rows back from the front!
Day one of the two-day event had us up close and personal. The music was inspirational, and Beth grabbed our hearts right away with her powerful message.
She always chooses a word to focus on, and her word for this weekend turned out to be: anxiety.
Beth admitted she’d lived with this word and its effects all her life, and she did not hold back. Before all of us, she laid bare her weaknesses and crosses, so we might know she was not so far removed from our lives.
Her sincerity and passion were palpable, and I was taking notes like a mad woman on my Iphone!
As a Catholic I’m always a little hesitant at such events, knowing the worship style likely will be a little more emotionally charged than what I’m accustomed to at daily or Sunday Mass.
Now I don’t think there’s anything wrong at all with getting excited for Jesus. I’m right there! It’s just that Mass tends to be more on the reverent side – with good reason. What we do at Mass, we take very seriously. It is the Lord, after all, that we are preparing to bring into our very bodies. And if we are truly living in the light, we Catholics are feeling the joy deep down in our bones. It is a celebration, but also, a meal. We are getting fed so that we can go out and witness the truth of God to others. The emphasis may be different, but no less effective or worthy.
And while I did not raise my hands in the air, sway back and forth or utter any spontaneous “Amens!”…I was completely with everyone else, opening my soul to whatever God had called me there to learn. Just because I’m Catholic does not mean I’m above being ready for God to reach me wherever and however He wants.
After a rousing Friday night, we were back Saturday morning for more — this time in seats further back, which was fine with us. Time to let others experience the front. Beth went full steam ahead, going even deeper into her message this time. It was tremendous; I’m so glad I had a chance to experience it. I get now why Beth is so beloved. It would be hard not not love her.
In the middle of Saturday’s event, Beth asked women stirred by the Holy Spirit who wanted to ask Jesus into their hearts to come up to the stage and be prayed over and guided into a new level of spiritual commitment — an altar call if you will.
I’m glad souls who have not been able to know Jesus had that chance. For the broken, it is a precious thing to be welcomed in this way. God will do whatever it takes to call His children to Him, and I will always celebrate hope and a changed heart. As I watched the women go up, I felt a contentment in my soul that Jesus is already within me. What a gift.
It wasn’t but a couple hours later that I was at Mass in my own house of worship, and the parallel hit me as people began to walk up for the Eucharist. This was the Catholic altar call in action, and we experience this every Sunday, or even every day for those who attend daily Mass. Incredible!
This time, I went up. This time, I said, “Yes,” and “Amen.” This time, I consumed the very body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in an act of love and communion so intimate that it’s hard to fathom, truly. I think, because this is such a usual thing for us Catholics, we can easily take it for granted. But as a friend who is in the process of converting to the Catholic faith has reminded me, the Eucharist is an honor and privilege. We are so blessed to receive the Lord in this way; it is the closest we’ll get to Jesus here on earth!
As I experienced the weekend of Beth Moore and then Mass later, I felt gratitude, both for Beth’s inspiring words and spirit, and the richness of the Catholic faith as well. Though the Mass might not compare in terms of acoustics and the intensity of 5,000 women in an auditorium praising God together, the depth we experience at the Eucharistic table seems unparalleled.
To me it’s a win-win. For Catholics wary of attending such an event, I would say, “Go!” You will not lose a thing. On the contrary, you will probably find that the experience simply enlivens what you have already known and receive every Sunday at Mass. It does not replace, does not detract from, does not jeopardize the gifts that already exist. It is simply a refresher, a reminder of the awesomeness of God we experience in our own mighty corners.
As sort of a side note, I found it a neat confluence that the faith-based movie “War Room” opened this weekend, the same week one of its actresses, Beth Moore, visited Fargo. (Find my review from a few weeks ago here.) And just like the altar call comparison, I discovered another Catholic likeness relating to the prayer room presented in this moving story about the power of prayer. Years ago, I discovered my own “war room” when I was introduced to the Adoration chapel of our church. This little chapel, where I regularly go to converse with the living God, sitting at his feet as a child in need of reprieve, serves as my “war room;” a place to bring my bring cares of the world and lay them directly in the hands of God.
The weekend filled me with gratitude, for my faith and the fact that I can share it vibrantly with my soul sisters of all stripes; for God’s incredible love for me, which He began revealing to me at the beginning of my life; and also, for the Catholic version of altar calls and prayer rooms, where I first met the living God, who pulled me in closely and tightly and eternally.
Beth warned us it might not be easy to go back home and bring what we’d learned into our realities. But even before I’d arrived there, my sweet oldest daughter had texted that an early birthday present would be on my nightstand when I returned.
She didn’t know it, but this is exactly what I needed to wrap a bow on this beautiful weekend and have confirmation that God wasn’t about to stay behind at the Fargodome. No, he’d be right alongside of me, as always, forever. What a blessing.
Q4U: Where is your war room? Where was your altar call? What signs has God given you that He’s sticking around?