Oh goodness, my friends. There is so much that I want to say about this past weekend that I don’t even know where to begin. And so much that is going to take time to truly sink in down into the deep and that I want to take the time to ponder and reflect on. But I want to share what I can so far–to share how just one weekend has so impacted my heart and changed me in so many ways.
And I have to start with just sharing this amazing WHAT GOD?! moment that you may have already heard about if you follow me on Instagram. Awhile back I was asked to bring 265 copies of my bible study to bless all the lovely ladies that would be attending Hope Spoken, and I was so excited to be able to bring this piece of my heart and my story that means so much to me, but that also represents so much of God’s healing in my own life–His redemption story. But there seemed to be one printing holdup after another, pushing my launch date back on the study itself three times. They knew I was trying to get copies printed for an event, and tried to work with me as best they could, but even after the final files were sent, they told me that unfortunately they wouldn’t be able to fulfill my order in time–but that all 1000 copies would be waiting for me on my doorstep as soon as I got home from the conference.
I was truly disappointed at first, wanting so much to be able to bless all these lovely ladies, and also as a way to celebrate launching my business, but it was a dream that I just let go, knowing that God has had His hand over all of this the whole time, and that none of this caught Him by surprise. But then I got an email from the representative at the printer I have been working with telling me that although they weren’t able to expedite all 1000 copies that I ordered, that they were able to get a certain amount ready ahead of time and could have them delivered the day before I had to leave for Dallas. And guess how many copies they had ready?! 265! Because WHAT GOD?!!?!
My mind was so completely blown wide open, and then I got the call saying the driver was on the way to deliver the copies, and all 1000 copies were on the truck. They all came in. The day before I left for Dallas. Because God is amazing in every single way and deadlines mean nothing to Him because He is in the business of making impossible things happen. I still have no words when I think about it. I can do nothing but shake my head in silent wonder and praise Him for it. My goodness.
But let me just tell you–packing 265 bible studies the day before leaving for a trip was no easy feat! Originally when it was all going to go according to my timeline (cause you know, that always works out just how we plan) I was going to have all the copies sent to the lovely lady who was putting together all the swag bags. But it came down to the wire and I wasn’t about to ship what turned out to be 240 pounds of bible studies overnight!!! So I was able to get them all into two large rolling bags, and stuck one pair of jeans and three shirts in a backpack, and off I went! Turns out you can’t physically put a bag on a plane that weighs more than 100 pounds. They won’t take it. So I became the proud owner of some Southwest duffle bags, and amazingly got them to Dallas (with the help of lots of kind people willing to help me lift my bags!) and stayed up the night before the conference stuffing them into every single swag bag.
All of that is so crazy to me. The fact that this bible study is something that even exists just astounds me. From a girl who kept her story under lock and key to now see this person who just can’t hold it in–I mean, there are just no words. NO WORDS! Just my God. My God that writes redemption into every little thing.
Before the conference even began, I already felt like God had moved so many mountains. I was so grateful that night sitting on the ground, my legs banged up and bruised from transporting 240 pounds of bible studies across the country and then kneeling on the ground and stuffing every swag bag. It took hours upon hours to get those bags filled, but I felt just so completely humbled by it all and started praying over all those who would lay hold of these bags. It sounds silly, but it truly was back breaking work (I woke up the next morning SO SORE) but it felt so good and so fulfilling and just a moment of celebrating God’s ordained glory.
That night before the conference even began, I just felt so filled up. And part of that is because I finally got to meet Casey and spend some time with her just talking. For those that don’t know, Casey and her friend Danielle are the founders of Hope Spoken. Casey and I got connected over a year and a half ago when I joined her essential oils team, and somehow through God’s utter brilliance, He just truly connected us through our stories. It was so amazing to finally meet her in person after talking to her nearly every single day for a year and a half. The internet is such a weird and special place, and I am so grateful for the connections that I have been able to make through it–and for some of the friends that I have gained that I know will be friends for life. Meeting Casey in person felt like the most normal thing in the world for both of us, and I was so grateful to just talk with her in person as I stuffed all the bags for the next day. So special!
I have been to different conferences before, but there was something that was so special about this one from the very beginning. As the women started to arrive and I helped to hand out swag bags and t-shirts and just be part of greeting them, I could just see this openness on everyone’s faces. People just wanted to be there. It was this strange mix of coming in with no expectations yet also so expectantly waiting on God to just show up and move and do His God things, and He sure did. But it was in a way that was different from any other conference I have ever been to. It wasn’t about networking. It wasn’t about passing out business cards and sharing blogs and promoting ourselves. It was simply just about gathering to share hearts and stories and praise God. And it was so incredibly extraordinary in every single way.
There is so much to say but also no words to say it all. My heart just feels so completely full after this weekend. After being part of different sessions of women just openly telling their stories–just simply sharing what God has done and is doing in their lives. And perhaps that is why I was so drawn to being at this conference in the first place–that is the mission that God placed on my life. I had been following Him for many years when He gave me the call that changed everything, but that also set the course for everything that has come about in my life since then. That is the mission that He has given me–to tell my story. I believe we are all called to tell our stories. To share the highs and lows and honest suffering and just be real with what He has given us. To share how He is redeeming the brokenness along the way, and just being open to what He is doing even when we can’t see it yet. We know our God through His written word–and truly it is all just stories. Story upon story of those that have come before us. Those that faithfully followed God and those that screwed up over and over and over again. And His redemptive thread that can be traced through it all.
And that’s just it–He has called us to be the light of the world, shining His brilliance through our very lives. To stand high upon the unbearable mountains that we face and just simply shine His light and not hide it. To share our hearts and our struggles and our real and true selves. And that is what happened this weekend. Women all over the place not afraid to go to that deep place–to the ugly and the broken and the pain. A glimpse of what heaven will one day be like–life behind that veil that has already been torn. That’s what I saw this weekend–so many unveiled faces just willing to be poured out for the glory of God. No matter what. No. Matter. What.
Truly, there are tears pouring down my face right now even as I write this. As I think on it and the beauty of it. Seeing people who I have followed and journeyed with online stepping out from behind what often just looks like beauty and happiness and showing their deep and honest selves. Strangers that quickly became friends who were just willing to be open and raw and vulnerable. The Holy Spirit just running rampant through that place as pieces of people’s lives that they never intended to share just poured out. My own story, being shared around a table and with different people that I met through the course of the weekend–another moment of tracing God’s redemption. I truly cannot express to you the utter beauty of it all. The amazing wonder of seeing so many women all over the place just walk into this large conference room ready to truly be vulnerable and enter in with the walls ready to be crumbled by the might of our God. I can’t even tell you what that truly was like to experience. It was just beauty in every single way. Life in the already-but-not-yet. The day when we will one day all be sitting around a grand table sharing our stories and what God has done with it all. Every little part of every single moment filled with redemption.
I loved all the moments of amazing worship and listening to all the speakers, but I truly felt like the heart and soul of this weekend was our time in small groups. Everyone that comes to the conference is assigned a small group that you meet with four times throughout the weekend to go through a devotional with. A couple months back, Casey asked me if I was willing to be a small group leader, and I quickly said yes even though I felt so completely inadequate at that task. But more than anything, I was looking forward to coming to this conference where I didn’t know hardly anyone and already having a group of people that had to be my friends at least some of the time! I truly began praying that God would handpick the ladies that He placed in my group, and boy, did He sure answer that prayer!
It’s just another one of those things that I truly don’t have words for. But this group of women just clicked right off the bat. From the very first devotional meeting, no one was holding anything back. All the walls were down. Everyone just showed up. We each took turns with our moments of ugly crying. Talking through the sessions after we heard them and sharing the parts that truly struck us personally. Sharing how God is at work in our lives and the things that we have already overcome or are always in the process of overcoming. It was just amazing. We spent the whole weekend together, laughing until we cried and crying until we laughed and just clicked in a way that I cannot even describe. I feel so incredibly blessed to know each of the women that were placed in my group. Something special truly happened in our small group this weekend, and I know that we will be connected for many years to come through this experience. Plus I basically told them all that they need to find me a husband, sooo y’all better get on that….
Honestly, this weekend was just a dream in so many ways. Between connecting with old friends and online friends and my amazing oily friends and making new friends. To seeing God moves in ways that I can’t even describe. It was holy. It was just truly a holy weekend and an experience where it was just so evident that the Spirit was moving. And there is so much to process and in a way I don’t even want to try to put it all into words. I just want to praise Him. Praise Him for the ways that He works so deeply in our lives, especially in our brokenness. Especially as we live out in the wilderness. There is redemption at every little single corner of our lives and we can’t always see where it is leading to in the moment, but it is there. It is absolutely there.
Thank you to everyone that came this weekend. Thank you for coming in with unveiled faces just ready to be raw and real before God and one another. And mostly, thank You God for this amazing, amazing event. Something that I will still be processing and coming off of in the many months to come. This weekend of pure beauty. Because truly, that is what I saw over and over and over again. It’s the very same message that He has placed on my heart that I won’t ever be able to stop proclaiming. There is so much beauty in the brokenness of our lives when we give it to God. When He steps in and takes hold of the fragments and creates a masterpiece out of them. Things we would never choose or ask for ourselves but in His perfect knowing He just takes and leads us to places and experiences and people that we could never dream. This weekend was so much more than I could ever ask or imagine–and that’s just who God is. He is everything.