It wasn't until the beginning of March that I realized Hope Spoken was right around the corner. I had bought my ticket the PREVIOUS February so it was a long time coming! My life had changed in every single facet possible since then and I hadn't had much free "brain time" to prepare. The excitement came on in full force and before I knew it, I was picking up Katie from the airport to spend a day in Austin with me before heading to Dallas.
Man I thought I was on a roll this morning, coming up with ideas on what to write as I put Ford down for his morning nap. And here I am now, sitting at my laptop with the lull of the baby monitor in the background, not really sure how to continue. From the second I showed up at the conference, the Holy Spirit showed up right next to me. I felt loved, comfortable, like these ladies wanted me to be here. I learned that Casey, Danielle, and Emily had individually prayed for each girl who was coming. Nerves, anxiousness, stress had diminished. I knew The Lord's provision was for me to be there.
I was surprised and enjoyed the fact that blogging was not mentioned. Many people asked "oh how was the blogging conference?" to which I replied, "No, it was a conference all about Jesus thought up by bloggers". How stinkin' cool is that. Business cards weren't passed out, no mention of bigger bloggers vs. smaller ones. Jesus. That's who was spoken about. Hope, truth, struggle, redemption, life. God sent His spirit that whole weekend and abundantly blessed us through the incredible testimonies of many brave women.
I learned and was reminded that...
We use busy as a defense to keep us safe. But we don't need permission from anyone to live a new life. Less hustle, more love -Shauna Niequist
That it's great to do big things! But it's also OK to be a small person that needs Jesus everyday -Hannah Singer
That self heroism is an evil thing. If our rules don't point to something greater, then we become slaves to morality and legality. Rules should be a mirror showing us that we don't match up to our mighty and sinless King. -Jami Nato
God is SO good, you don't have to be worried about what's around the corner. -Jami Nato
....I have a story.
I've never lost a loved one close to me, I've lived a life free from abuse and neglect, I got pregnant on the first try, my marriage is pretty solid. There are times I feel like, OK God I want to tell my story and I want to glorify you but I have nothing to tell. I opened up to my small group one night (led by Hannah Singer, that girl is so humble and full of grace), admitting that I don't have a story. My life's been pretty good so far. Yes I struggle, yes I screw up, and yes I am a broken sinner, but could I entertain a group of 200 ladies with my testimony for a half hour? God saved me. He sure as heck saved my wandering heart who often feels unworthy, but my biggest enemy is myself. I left this weekend wholeheartedly believing that I have a story. Jesus' dying for my precious little life is enough of a story.
Praises Jesus that my sin doesn't land on me! The wrath of God and ultimately spiritual and physical death. Our sin ends at the cross. -Jami Nato.
Jesus saved me. That is my story.
The Lord led me to a place this weekend I didn't know existed. Words both stung and were like honey, and etched deeply into my heart. Relationships were made stronger, tears were cried for both joy and pain, and I walked away with a full cup knowing and believing how much He loves me. OH how He loves us!
You'll see Ford in a few of the pictures below. Little man tagged along to his second conference with me. I have to thank my selfless husband for tagging along as well, watching Ford the entire time in a tiny little hotel room allowing me to focus, relax, and enjoy my sweet friends and roomies. I felt like I was on a girls trip!
Thank you LORD for this weekend. I'm counting down the weeks and ready to be wrecked next year, bring it on!