Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Influence Conference Wrap-Up

A few weeks ago I attended The Influence Conference and once again my heart was rocked in the best ways a heart can be rocked. From my incredible roommates, to the speakers, to the seminars, to meeting Shauna Niequist, to singing worship, to hearing about incredible organizations who are the hands and feet of God in big time ways, to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. It. was. all. so. great. 

I was just thinking 'Oh man, where do I begin'? But, let's be honest, I already knew where I wanted to begin and that is with the sweet women I got the privilege to room with. It seriously feels like we've known each other forever. We laughed harder than I have laughed in a really long time and we got to the deep places of our hearts as well. Oh, what a good reminder that with great depth comes great joy! Thank you for that reminder, sweet friends. Thank you for letting the Lord use you to make me feel normal and loved right where I am at. Thank you for encouraging me to be a woman who strives to be more like Jesus. Thank you for your listening ears as I processed my heart and mind and thank you for laughing at my jokes.
I am a changed woman because of all of you.
Here are the beauties themselves. Oh, I just love you all! 

I can't forget Ali and her daughter, Emma! They were still on their flight to Indy so that's why they weren't in the photo above. Let's talk about Ali. She is my sister from another mister and it's not just because we bought the same headbands. 
Meet Emma. This is only one of the many baby selfies I had her take. If you are my friend, and you have a baby, baby selfies will be happening. Dah! Look at that chin! She is so stinkin' cute! 

Not only were my roommates the highlight of my life that week, also hearing the incredible speakers was so so good for me. They kicked my butt, reminded me of Truth, and put me in my place about my identity being in Christ and Christ alone. And they did all of that with a beautiful grace. 

Something everyone and their mom knew I was excited for was to meet Shauna Niequist. 
If you're wondering if I cried, the answer is "duh." God has used this woman in my life to speak so sweetly to my grieving heart. She made me feel like I wasn't alone after losing Elston, and that what I was feeling was normal and okay to feel. So, go out and get her books: Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine.
 You'll love them. 
In Shauna's interview at the conference, she spoke of being intentional with the community God has given us. She reminded us that we have to work at that intentional community. We gotta log in the hours if we want it to be rich. She also spoke of writing and the gifts God has given us. If you want to be a good writer, you've got to do some reading. And lots of it. Even if it's not the particular genre in which you write. She encouraged us to not let someone else's rules determine and define what we love and how we do what we love. We need to do our thing and do it well. Keep honing in on our giftings. We don't want to look back one day and say "I had an opportunity to do that and I was scared, so I didn't." Lastly, she reminded us that the world needs to hear what we have to offer and if it costs something, that means we are on the right track. 

Another seminar that hit a soft spot in my heart was when Annie Downs spoke on our words having a great impact on others. Proverbs 18:21 says "The tongue can bring death or life." Every time we speak we are either creating life or death. My generation can be the generation that leads the next to be women who are life-givers and life-speakers. My generation needs to be this for the next generation. What we write on our blogs, on social media, what we say when we engage in conversations, what we think, the thoughts in our minds that don't come out of our mouths but affect our actions. We can bring life with all of these things and we need to fight for it. You all, I don't think there was a dry eye in the room when Annie spoke. Lord Jesus, change my heart, change my thoughts, change the words that come out of my mouth because I want to be a woman who inspires, encourages, tells Truth, and I don't  want to sit back and just watch. I want to be a part of this change. Thank you Annie for being willing to get up there and speak these crucial and essential words to my soul. Thank you. 

{Here's the whole gang loading up on coffee, Jesus, and our sweet lil friendship.}

There were so many more incredible women who spoke, but this post is already a novel as is. Perhaps I will do a round two of this Influence Conference wrap up. Because I just don't think it's wrapped up all the way yet! I am excited to tell you more! 

I pray that even these snippets I wrote of what these women taught me sink deep in your heart today. 
Join me in believing the truth about God and who He is, about who we are, and let us let our words be a sweet song to the hearts of others today. 














6 comments :

  1. Killing me..there are tears...love you, miss you

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    1. I had tears when I was writing this post too! Can we all please live in the same city?

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  2. I'll be honest: Been avoiding people's follow-up posts 'cause I'm a teensy bit jealous. But of course I read yours, and absolutely love all of your take aways and experiencing it a little through your eyes. :)

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    1. Trina, even though the conference was awesome, it wasn't the same without you! I missed you when I was there! You are one of my blogging inspirations, my friend.

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  3. OH sweet sister. i LOVE you! so blessed to know you and walk in this journey of life side by side! you're such a joy to be around and have a beautiful spirit. thank you for your friendship!

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    1. Girl, lemme tell you what, you are a dear friend to my heart and forever will be whether you like it or not! haha. Love you bunches.

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