Last night I returned from one of the most amazing weekends of my entire life. I’m definitely still processing all I learned and I’m sure it will take days before I can put into words all that God taught me there.
After the events of the last few weeks, I was prepared for God to speak to my heart in a big way. The spiritual attacks on our family ranged from mildly frustrating to nearly debilitating. There was the sickness with head colds that rounded our family and then the revolting stomach bug that landed our littlest in the hospital over night (out of town!) and then temporarily leveled the rest of us just days before I was to leave for Allume. Not to mention the near final-blow of becoming a “no-income” family just four weeks ago. Throw in a couple appliances breaking down (again.) and I was 100% convinced that Satan was waging an all-out battle to get me to give up and stay home. Through it all, the message was quite clear that I should still go, so went I did. With the anticipation of learning the treasures He wanted to teach me. So I was prepared for something great.
I was not, however, prepared for several other things.
I was not prepared for the lovely change in weather, rendering half my wardrobe useless. (YAY FOR FALL!!!)
I was not prepared to be loved on again and again by the organizers, sponsors and speakers of Allume. I had heard of the amazing SWAG– but oh. my. word! Here’s a photo of SOME of the books and lovely gifts we received. Blessed!
I was not prepared to start making real connections twenty minutes after I arrived. The first person I met was a member of Allume staff who is right now, in the midst of waiting on her 2 adopted daughters to come home from across the world. While working registration together, she shared a bit about how they had been waiting about twice as long as the normal timeframe. I immediately became connected with this mama in my heart, and have committed to pray that God would MOVE MOUNTAINS if needed, and get these sweet girls home by Christmas. Will you please take a minute and pray for them as well? Her name is Christin and you can read a bit of their story by clicking on the link above.
I was not prepared for the friendships! ( I know.) During the Newbie Meet-up Mingle, I seriously wanted to run, not walk, back to my hotel room and watch some HGTV out of denial that anything called a MINGLE was going on and I was supposed to be a part of it. But a few minutes in, I started talking to Amanda, (who frankly had the same blogger-in-the-headlights look) and we found out how small the world really is. So many writers, bloggers, women with stunning hearts and unique spheres of influence– and I was blessed to meet many of them!
I was not prepared for the QUALITY of the Allume Conference. I was completely unaware that this was only the 4th year running, and could not tell from the attention to detail, the beauty of the decor, and the caliber of each speaker! I was 100% blown away and am so thankful to have had a part.
I went to Allume as a “Mom who happens to have a blog.” But I left Allume as a Woman who is confident that God has given her a passion for writing for a reason. I went hoping to become a better writer, but I left as someone who is not concerned with being “good enough” but is focused on being “available.” I am even more convinced of who He has made me and I’m utterly grateful to be able to worship Him in this way. I now understand why I feel most relaxed and content when I am writing. Writing is a very personal form of worship for me and my desire is that it would ALWAYS make great the name of God. My hope is that I will continue to live in what I believe is an aspect of His calling for me.
I was NOT PREPARED to leave my fears, inadequacies, comparisons, and concerns in Greenville, South Carolina. But God is faithful and He reminded me that He is not the author of fear or confusion and that He has placed me right where I am for a time and a purpose!