You know how when you take off your bra at the end of the day and you put on your comfy sweats and fuzzy slippers and all just feels right in the world? Yep that's a little teeny bit of how last weekend felt. It wasn't the physically comfortable that made me feel that way however. I was super nervous inside. I didn't know what in the world Hope Spoken was. I had absolutely zero expectations. I didn't know how all the friendships that were meeting up would meld. What if I met someone who knew me and I didn't know them? Would that be weird and uncomfortable? Or what if I met someone I'd long admired and they weren't what I thought? That would be disappointing. What if tripping with my Tamara girl went whack and all of a sudden we couldn't stand each other...uh that would be BAD!!!
Joy, Sioban, Rachel, Stephanie aka Honey, Carissa...Just a few of the sweet faces I met this weekend.But the funny thing about fear is that most of the time all those things that you think might happen never do and the things that actually do happen aren't nearly as terrifying as you played them out to be in your head. Hope Spoken was beautiful. God's presence was there! His anointing filled the conference rooms, the hallways, our hotel room. My expectations were blown.
All my old and new friendships melded together without a hitch. A few people did "know" me and it was wonderful and humbling and exciting all rolled into one:) I didn't pass out from nerves. I didn't wilt under the pressure. I met SO many amazing women. SO MANY and they were just what I thought. Beautiful inside and out! Hugging them. Hearing their voices for the first time. It was beyond surreal...it felt like providence. These girls are my family. We are sharing eternity together. It was a sliver glance into what Heaven will be like...one giant family reunion of love, grace and common ground.
Even the little details like where we sat in the conference (front row) and who are small group leader would be (Stephanie Holden) were worked out. We really don't need to spin our wheels wondering about those things. His hand provides. He knows just what we need and miraculously steps in. Even Tamara and I hunting for leather all over Dallas... We found our shops without a hitch and came home with goodies. We didn't get lost. We didn't wreck the car. Phew!
There were several separate words from the Lord that really touched my heart during the weekend. One was Shauna Niequist's talk. I mentioned her a few posts back. I've been reading Bread and Wine and I just knew I was going to connect with her. We were on the front row remember. Her words covered over me like warm butter. She shared about her life and how at one point it was more or less spinning out of control. She was traveling, writing, speaking and multitasking to the extreme. Her life was careening and she was missing it. She was missing the joy. She was missing dancing in the kitchen. She was missing who she used to be. The girl who used to have fun. She talked about MORE LOVE LESS HUSTLE. She talked about not caring about impressing others or looking capable. She talked about relearning how to rest...more slow, more sleep, more unplanned moments...about self care. About being present, whole, brave...about laying down words like "busy" and "should".
She told the story of a pier she liked to visit. The owner would throw candy out at the boats passing by. One day there was a LOT of activity...kayakers, sailboats, people in the water swimming. It was complete chaos. She was standing there nervous and afraid someone was going to get hurt, and she kept wondering where the owner of the pier was...that he should step in. That what was going on was irresponsible. Finally he walks up and he pulls out his giant bag of candy. And he starts throwing candy to all the people in the boats passing by...the kayakers, the swimmers. And it hits her that she doesn't throw candy. She doesn't know how to lighten up and enjoy moments around her anymore. She started weeping and made a vow to start throwing candy...which she did right then in the conference. She pulled out a bag of lollipops and threw them into the audience. And I sat there weeping...because apparently that's what I do. I weep;) And I could feel the Holy Spirit whispering the same things to me. Lay down busy. Relearn to rest. MORE LOVE LESS HUSTLE. Be present. Impress less. More love. Less Hustle.
I'm not positive on how to get from A to B with that. I'm not exactly sure how she was able to manage her deadlines, speaking engagements and travel. I imagine the word no came into play. That she turned her computer off and put down her phone more often. That she had to make a concentrated, not always easy choice to choose slow...to choose CANDY;) The things that really matter will get done. I know that was a word from the Lord straight to my heart...and to a lot of other "busy" stressed out women in that room. We have one very beautiful life, and I'm thinking putting love first and the rest next is a recipe for only good things.
Be a blessing.
barbara, me, lissa and tiffini
giggles with my girls
wisdom from our leader
Dallas birds...sounded like we were in the tropics
favor with new faces
kind TSA agents
thrift store finds
hugs, tears and so much love