Evangelist's daughter delivers message of hope
March 26, 2009
FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Turn on the TV and you are almost certain to catch a glimpse of a world seemingly falling apart. Pick up a newspaper and read about the latest blow to the economy. At a time when life seems so uncertain, a refreshing dose of hope was delivered on Saturday.
Hundreds of women filled the North Fort Chapel for the Protestant Women of the Chapel Spring Conference, titled, "Ignite the flame in your heart that will bring real hope and everlasting peace."
Anne Graham Lotz, founder of Angel Ministries and daughter of evangelist Dr. Billy Graham, was the guest speaker. Praise and worship leader Stephanie Seefeldt accompanied Lotz.
Lotz greeted the audience after a session of praise and worship; then she asked a question.
"Do you watch the news'"
The majority of women nodded, "yes."
She listed serious issues facing the United States and several countries today - issues that do not appear to be going away anytime soon, she said.
"Our world is unraveling on just about every front," Lotz said. "So let me ask you, is your world unraveling'"
After her dark set-up, Lotz suggested a bright alternative.
"We are living in one of the most dangerous, strategic generations today," she said. "I believe it's time to turn the corner and it's time for good news - time for a real hope that we can believe in."
The type of hope Lotz referred to can only be found in the Bible, she said.
"(God) offers us genuine hope," Lotz said. "It's not wishful thinking. It's the kind that fills you with life and gives you comfort and strength.
"The world is not unraveling," she said. "It's actually falling right into place."
Two of the biggest mistakes people make are putting their utmost faith in others and focusing too much on themselves, Lotz said. She has struggled with both, she admitted. Coming from a family of high achievers, she suffered from low self-esteem at one point in her life. That changed after she realized her purpose in life was not to please others.
"Your purpose is not just to wait until your husband comes back, and it's not just to raise your family," she said. "Your purpose is to bring God glory and fulfill His purpose so that others get to know Him."
After sharing her heart, Lotz encouraged the women to participate in a workshop that taught them how to listen to God's voice. She encouraged them to continue the workshop in their daily lives and to share it with others.
"(God) begins to address the things that are crying out from your heart and gives you answers - if only we would listen," she said.
For Suzanne Gray, Bible teacher and PWOC member since 1971, the conference was the first social event since her husband's death four months ago, and she said she came seeking comfort.
"PWOC is an incredible group of women," she said. "The minute they heard of the loss, they've been there completely, and I wanted to show them my appreciation."
Gray said Lotz reminded her that her tears are temporary. She also reiterated that grieving is normal and sometimes necessary.
"Grieving is a process and as hard as it is, you need to embrace that process to come to the full healing God has for us," Gray said.
Lotz said we often lose hope when a loved one dies, but life actually begins when we die.
"There is hope for tomorrow," she said. "There is more to come."
Lotz wrapped up the conference by challenging the women to invite others to heaven by asking if they know Jesus is, followed by prayer, praise and worship.
Like Lotz, Tammy Baca, retreats chairperson for PWOC, said she hopes women left the conference with peace and hope that lasts forever.
"I am praying that this event will change lives forever," Baca said.
Laura Levering is a Soldier's spouse and herself a former Soldier and combat veteran.