I am sitting here in the lobby of the hotel that housed over 250 women for The Influence Conference. The weekend is over. The conference hugs and goodbyes given. And I am sitting here attempting to process exactly what happened to me over the course of the last four days. The knot in my throat won’t go away. My eyes are permanently rimmed with tears. And there is so much to say and so little words to say it with.
To say that the conference changed me would be a great understatement. I came expecting God to show up. He did. I wanted to network and meet people I had always wanted to meet. Bloggers and women I follow on social media whose lives are only separate form mine geographically. I connected. I wanted to be refreshed. Boy, did that happen. I wanted clarity, encouragement, motivation, and direction in my personal life, blogging life, and business life. And it came.
And I am blown away. I’m sure you’ll probably read several other blogs singing the praises of this conference and recapping what was learned, changed, and motivated in different people’s lives. For me, I feel like God used this weekend to wreck me in ways I never expected. Not just an ohmygosh, God is awesome sense, but in the sense that God has changed my heart about things, revealed areas that He’s saying, “Not right now,” to, and showed me areas that need His tender refinement.
Y’all, I ugly cried. There was not one single session or workshop that I did not cry in. I cried in them all. Ones you would expect to cry in and ones you wouldn’t. I mean, I cried when Jeff Goins spoke about waiting for your big break. Not exactly your tear-jerker session title. The Lord used the speakers and leaders to shout His word into my weary heart. To show me things that I was holding tight in my clenched fists. To whisper into areas of my heart that I had tried to shut behind a locked door. He used this time to love me. His presence was thick and real in the embraces of the women here. Community at its finest. And as I type this, my eyes fill with tears…I got a glimpse of the way it should be. Of heaven. Of community the way God intended.
Encouraging. Uplifting. Without judgment. Letting you be in your mess. Helping pull you out of it. Shouting to you when you try to stay in it. Sensitivity. Generosity. Giving. Loving. GOSPEL-ING. Pursuing. Grace. GRACE. Oh, grace. Grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.
Friends, you are a precious precious child in the arms of the Lord. You are lovely and beautiful in His sight. You are enough. And where you feel inadequate, Jesus willingly and joyfully fills your gaps. Without question. Oh if you could but just see what I have seen. Feel what I have felt. And not a single time was there any comparison of Twitter follower numbers, blog stats, shop success…y’all I was hugged by and cried with both “big” and “little” bloggers alike. There was no differentiation. Because it does not matter. The ground is level at the cross. And in the end, my blog is about HIM. About the GOSPEL. And if only one is reached by my ramblings, that is one more person I get to celebrate with in heaven. Nothing much matters beyond that. The Lord has given us our circles of influence, and however big those spheres reach is up to Him. It is not by my doing…and I am thankful for that. Seriously, if it was contingent on me and my actions, that would be a scaaaaary place. ;) It is Christ in me, the hope of glory. And that is all. At the end of my days, I want the Lord to say that I used the things He gave me well and did not worry about the rest.
More to come this week on my experience and what I’ve learned. Happy Monday. :)