My Inspiration

"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

She Speaks! A Recap

It's hard to believe that almost two weeks ago I was sitting in the lobby of the Embassy Suites hotel feeling like I had made the most horrific mistake of my life. At first it was fun watching everyone come and go but by the opening session I was deep in the throes of a panic attack in my mind of major proportion and my stomach was in knots. As I watched women of all sizes, shapes and colors flow back and forth through the lobby looking confident, secure and so well put together, even in their travel gear, I found myself comparing myself to them and feeling ever so inadequate. They exuded peace, joy, spirituality and confidence that I was not feeling. Had I not been dropped off by my husband and daughter I dare to think I would have hopped in the car and raced back to Richmond and the security of my own little world. After all, who in the world did I think I was or what right did I have to be there attending that conference. I just didn't feel like I belonged.

In the midst of this tangent going on in my head I had to change from my travel clothes to my conference clothes but I didn't have a room so I headed to the lobby restroom, squeezed into a stall and proceeded to change. It was tight, it was frustrating and I was already feeling so emotional that I thought this was going to do me in. As I stepped out of the stall I realized I was not alone. Out of the stall 3 doors down stepped an angel. My first smiling, friendly face and when she spoke to me my heart leaped. We chatted as we put on makeup and soon became fast buddies. Tammy Nischan was my first conference friend. I was thrilled. We parted and headed to our first session with a promise to hook up there and we did. She had to duck out early for a meeting with a publisher but she sure did help me settle my first round of nerves. We bumped into each other several times over the conference, had our picture taken together and promised to stay in touch and we will. I now have a friend in Kentucky and one of these days when that travel bugs hits me I'll hit the road and look her up. In the meantime thanks to modern technology we'll stay connected via our blogs, facebook and such.

After our first session we had a couple of hours to kill until time for the opening general session and so again I sat in the lobby waiting for the arrival of my roommate and a room to be assigned to us. We were late getting to the opening session as they had finally found a room for us at 3:55 and we took our stuff to the room before going. In the dark we found a seat at the front of the room next to the screens and the speakers. Up close and personal you could call it. Lysa Terkeurst gave the most awesome opening speech, the music was just right and the spirit was high in the room. I was overcome with emotion and feeling very lost and alone as the lights came up and I looked out over this sea of amazing women and thought wow, how awesome is this and in the same breath it was replaced with what are you doing here?

So here I am sitting at a table all alone, caught up in the spirit emotionally and Satan whispering to me when up comes Susanne Scheppmann and she speaks! to me! I tried to speak but all I could do was cry. The dam broke, the tears flowed, she hugged me while I gathered my wits about me and then we talked. She assured me that many of the women there probably felt the same way I did and that over the next two days I would be fine. She gave me her cell phone number and told me to call her if I needed further encouragement or just needed to talk, hugged me and sat down one table over. I had to pinch myself because I couldn't believe that she came up and talked to little ole me, held me while I sobbed into her shoulder and encouraged me in my moment of weakness. It was in that moment I knew I had stepped into something so much greater than I had ever imagined. True unconditional Christ like love in the flesh. These Proverbs 31 women were the real deal. I was flying high.

By that time my table started to fill up and I met 5 very nice ladies and we had a lovely dinner while talking about our families and lives and how excited we were to be at the conference. All of us were first timers except one. She was there for her second go round and just as excited as her first time. As the meal wound down and it was time to go our separate ways I got a little nervous about the speakers group. What would the group be like? Who would be in there? How would the three minute talk go? (I felt ill prepared even though it was my story) And last but not least, how I would measure up against them? I knew we were not supposed to be in competition but using the three minute exercise to break the ice to get us prepared for our five minute presentation but the flesh is weak and it was hard in such an emotional state to put it aside.

But ya'll can I tell you that God is so good and merciful. By the time we were done with our talks I knew that He hand picked everyone of those women for our group for reasons only He knows and the blessings from the introduction was upon us all. We came in strangers and left sisters with a deeper understanding of how God uses us in our weakness to get the glory and the honor. I felt like I could have stayed there and talked all night even though I was tired from a very long and emotional day. I couldn't wait for Saturday evening and our five minute speeches. I just knew that if they were half as powerful as Friday's we were in for a treat.

Saturday's sessions flowed like a well oiled engine. I met more spirit filled women, learned so much about speaking do's and don'ts but mostly just basked in the glory of God. I skipped two sessions to work on my speech and felt that I was ready no matter what but the funny thing is I didn't say a third of what I had rehearsed. The spirit rose up in me and that was the end of that. The words that came out of my mouth were his and his alone. I was just the vessel he chose at that moment to say what he wanted to say.
I was amazed at the breathe of experience in the room and how we had all blossomed into beautiful roses overnight. Everyone did a fantastic job and although our styles were different, our presentations and visual aids varied it was all just as he orchestrated it to be. Our dinner was fabulous. In fact, the food for the entire weekend was very good. But what was truly amazing were all the wonderful speakers they had lined up for us. We had Renee Swope, Lysa Terkeurst, Angela Thomas, Beth Moore and Karen Ehman for our general sessions and for the break outs I had the pleasure of hearing from Micca Campbell, Whitney Capp, Mary Beth Whalen and Rachel Olsen.

I had so much love, wisdom and knowledge poured into me those two days I could scarcely take it in. We closed out with a worship service on Sunday morning that began with a message from Beth Moore and ended with Karen Ehman. Our hearts were full. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. My evaluation group sat together one last time, we took pictures and exchanged our information. Zoe Elmore, our evaluator, offered us a guest spot on her blog over the next couple of months and I am thrilled and in awe of her request.

I look forward to continuing what God has started through the connections with these awesome women. I'm already gearing up for next year's conference and continuing this journey into this calling bigger, better and bolder than before. Although this conference was called She Speaks! HE SPOKE! and I was blessed to be on the receiving end of his words!

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it funny how the Devil did his best to keep you from this. The Devil sure is a liar and God is surely good all the time!