this is a super long post, i'm sorry in advance. i'm recapping every little bit [no joke] of a recent trip in one place - i don't really expect anyone to read all of these words, but i want to have this all tucked away to look back on. oh and i didn't proofread this. yikes.
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it finally happened, after more than a year of hoping-wishing-waiting, hope spoken finally has come and gone. when my bestie, cory asked me and rach if we would be interested in a girl's trip across the country i had a 3 month old. a weekend of girl time, truth, rest & fun sounded ah-maz-ing, even if it was 15 months away. without knowing anything about any of the speakers, what was planned or how we'd get there, i bought my ticket - well, i asked for it as a birthday present really. i trust my friends' taste in adventures and they were a little more 'in the know' than me.
in between buying the ticket and arriving at the conference i did a tiny bit of research on a few of the ladies that were involved and also found out that some of my favorite bloggers / IGers would either be in attendance and/or leading small groups, etc. i got even more excited [if that's possible] about being there. if my friend's who i look up to are about it, and these women that i don't know [ha!] but look up to are about it, then it's gotta be great, right?
we planned our trip to get in thursday morning, a day before the conference so that we could really get the fullness of our 'adult spring break' and not feel too rushed. we had from about 10:15a thursday until 4 p on friday to do as we pleased, see dallas, just visit, etc. i really loved this part of our trip. if i were to do it again, i would not skimp on this! since we were splitting our hotel room 4 ways, one extra night wasn't so much more and it was really worth it for the extra time. although, our 6am flight out of louisville was a wee bit rough!
they may have gotten up at 4a to shower and get ready. i may have rolled out of bed and brushed my teeth. don't judge. we only got about 2 hrs of sleep that night. i'm a lover of sleep. like i said, rough.
we were super psyched to hear that our sweet friend libby wanted to be a part of this conference too and immediately made our plans to all stay together. lib lives in virginia (we're in ky) so we get to visit way less often then we'd like. all of these ladies are such an encouragement to me - the way that they love the Lord, and people - especially their families and the people they minister to - spurs me on in a way that i can't fully communicate. and the way each of these friendships have been created and cultivated is nothing less than ordained. God has really woven our stories together in such an intricate and beautiful way. i'm one really blessed lady.
when we arrived we got our rental car, got some authentic tex mex and went shopping at an outdoor mall. funny enough we only went into a loft and gap in two hours. the gap? honestly? hahah when the clearance rack is an extra 40% off i guess there's nothing left to do. the poor boy working in the dressing room as we tried on all matching outfits for 60 minutes.
lib's flight was delayed, which was no surprise because that sadly happens to her kind of often, so while we were waiting for her we checked into our hotel and went to the pool. YES THE POOL! i was in a bathing suit while it was 34 degrees at home. it was so nice just to feel the sun. i need freckles and vitamin d already! when libby got in we visited, got cleaned up and hit the town. ironically, the locals working at the hotel sent us to this terrible restaurant downtown but at least it got us in the vicinity of good things. we ate a delicious meal outside catching up talking about life and motherhood and ministry and being a wife and what's hard and what's good and what we're looking forward to and what we dread. we talked about what we wanted out of the weekend and so much more. i've become more 'introverted' in my old age but i still really crave people time, just in smaller groups. i love to hear about other peoples' hearts and lives. i love laughing til it hurts. after thursday i already considered the weekend a success and the conference hadn't even started yet.
we slept in friday morning, oh glory! it was so nice. after a starbucks run, a long walk and lunch at 'the porch' [must try!] and it was time to check in. #itshappening
the place was absolutely gorgeous. basically i will steal all of these ideas for future baby birthday parties. so many special handmade pieces that made it all so sweet and made all the ladies feel like they were entering into a weekend that was crafted thoughtfully just for us. so many super talented and generous people were involved in making the weekend such a raving success.
i've never been to a women's conference before but for me the vibe was very cool. all the women, even if you were just with people in the elevator, would be friendly and introduce themselves. it didn't feel cliquey or fake, just seemed real and lovely.
when we first came into dinner we sat right behind some girls who actually are involved in young life [a ministry that all of us girls are/were involved in] and know a ton of the same people of us. out of 250 people, it just seemed kind of amazing that we'd be there together and then sit right behind each other. one of the girls i had actually met once before and the other is going to be on assignment with libby this summer - what are the chances? then as our table filled with really sweet women, two of the ladies were two that i've read their blogs for quite some time - Emily from jones design co. & Jami at from the nato's. i silent screamed and tried not to be too awkward - i know they're normal people. but they're normal people who have amazing stories and are mommas of bunches of babies - these are the people that i didn't know but that i look up to! they're at my dinner table! we actually ate all of our meals together. i can't believe i didn't ask them to take a picture with me like a crazed fan but i had to draw a line somewhere of being a complete creeper.
the worship was amazing! tim halperin, jordan & lauren & jenny simmons did a phenomenal job! not that i didn't think worshipping the Lord in song would not be great no matter what but they found some seriously talented people to lead us in that. since i had no expectations, i was completely blown away. ps // tim said that he's playing at several young life camps this summer friends! your students are going to l-o-v-e him and he did an excellent job of speaking about Jesus in a way that i think will completely resonate with teens. i wish he'd be at camp with us - jelly!
holy moly, i haven't even written about my notes yet or anything i learned. what a mess. i should have done two parts. hmmmm. i'll hit some highlights from each of the women i heard speak and then hopefully be back to really share some deeper things that the Lord has been pressing on my heart.
many of the women spoke out of place of their testimony. they spoke about their personal lives and how they know God. i'm not going to retell their testimonies but they are totally worthy of hearing. you should seriously read about these women and what the Lord has so faithfully done in and through them. some of these women were keynote speakers, so everyone heard from them, and then the others were breakout sessions so different people heard different women. here were some of my take aways. some of this they may have actually said and some may have been just things they made me think about. [i don't want to not credit them and then i don't want to credit them for something they wouldn't have wanted to say - haha]. bolded things that really hit me hard.
-living a life of love: 1 Corinthians 13
-lay down the hustle and rebuild your life on purpose
-your choices can draw you toward or away from the person you want to be & the life you want to have.
-saying "no" to some things opens you up to say "yes" to the most important things
-what is important to you vs. what is important to the world?
-exodus 16: you can't handle the workload alone, you will wear yourself out
-acknowledge that God can use other people too
-give up the need to be known for something other than Jesus, it doesn't matter what someone else can do.
-luke 10: mary and Martha, we want Jesus to say "you're so capable, i'm so impressed by you" but he says "you're missing it! it's me!"
lauren chandler: she actually did an amazing job that was really more of a sermon format, and it was great. my notes on this are terrible but she broke psalm 107 showing how God works in and through so many different hard things we go through, whether that's circumstantial or self-inflicted.
-God often draws people into the desert before he does something different, a time of preparation, sacred time. you need me, not the promised land
this was kind of a q & a format and i didn't jot notes really - whoops! but she did share about her life, the awesome parts and the hardships. it reminded me that we don't always know what God is up to but we do always know that He is for us and for our good.
hannah singer: was so incredibly proud of her speaking in front of this group of women. it takes so much guts to share your story in a place like that and she was such a rock-star. as a girl who utterly hates public speaking i felt so blessed to see a woman who maybe doesn't love standing at a podium do it for the cause to pointing people toward the Lord - super encouraged.
-grace will show you that you are unworthy without making you feel unloved
-the devil doesn't want you to share your story, he wants remind you of your shame.
-2 Corinthians 12:9
-joy and grief can co-exist
-jeremiah 33:3: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’"
-"when i look at my scars they always remind me of what God has done and i remember that Jesus has scars too."
-don't look at the 'heroes of faith' in the bible and imitate their life, look at them and say "who is their God?"
-if i'm not the hero who am i? i'm the adulterer.
-we're just arrows pointing people to jesus, like john the Baptist in the desert.
-the only way that ______ will change is that God will change your heart, work a miracle
-know that you are loved, precious & chosen
-moses knew God intimately but he did not get to see the promised land. the promised land is not the reward, knowing God is the reward.
-you don't need to fear the trials that God will allow to lead you closer to Him. HE IS SO GOOD.
-your story matters, even if isn't "dramatic" it is the most incredible story of love and grace, it's worth sharing
-step out in faith, say yes when God prompts you
-don't miss the moments you're in
-God is a God of redemption
-Isaiah 26:3: "you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."
hebrews 12:2, 11:1
-faith that remains unchallenged usually remains unchanged
-faith is often challenged by pain
-you don't always have to avoid or mask pain, you can participate, seek God, praise God, glorify him.
-1 Kings 18
-God told her who she was before He told her what to do
-Isaiah 61:1, 54:5
-God is enough, He is trustworthy and good.
-God withheld the only thing she thought she needed and replaced it with what she truly needed --> God himself
-We are wired for surrender: we know when we've carried too much & not given our burden to God when our sin creeps up as anger, impatience, worry, etc.
so that's that. i can't possibly type anything else. except, check out that guy behind cory. i had a wonderful time and felt so blessed to be on this weekend. thank you for all the hard work so many people put into those few precious hours.
oh and i met maybe my all-time favorite blogger, ashley campbell in real life. nbd. i was really awkward and she was really sweet. and very small. so nice to have met you if you ever click your way here and then read for three hours to the end of this post ashley!
emmie was really glad to have me home. ha!
until next year ladies! wink wink!