Interruptions. Obstacles. Full Stops. Moments when God locks doors and makes the handles red hot to burn your fingers and keep you safe from going places you shouldn’t. Moments when your life changes forever. Has that ever happened to you? Does it feel painful when God tells you, “No … stop … wait. …”?
It did to me. Before my “divine interruption” of the two-by-four over my head of a brain tumor, hydrocephalus, and six months of double vision and steroids. Before I got sick, I felt like I was being punished when those things happened to me. Before the dream that I can only describe as a gift that turned me from the woman who smiled on the outside only — the woman who loved Jesus but neglected Him and the secret scoffer of dreams — into an entirely different woman. One who now knows the whispers that tell me to be afraid are lies. One who now knows God’s plan really is always best, and it is Him weaving the tapestry of my life. It is Him gifting me with moments of pure joy, connection, and love that always surprise me, feed my soul, and fill me to bursting.
This past weekend, I had the incredible privilege of attending The Relevant Conference, a blogging conference for Christian women whose mission is to:
“Go beyond the surface into intentional blogging and real life living. We support women turning their hearts toward home and using their blogs to bless their families while also engaging the world for the glory of God. Relevant is a one-of-a-kind conference that seeks to engage women by teaching blogging techniques and social media skill while also urging and encouraging women to live fully integrated lives with their faith and family.”
The vision of three talented women, Sarah Mae, Jessica Heights, and Dana Adams, this conference met and surpassed its mission in every way. I have been a part of the blogging community for nearly three years and have attended more than one blogging conference. I can truly say I have never experienced a gathering of bloggers like this one. I have never experienced a gathering of women of kindred hearts like this one. A gathering of women whose hearts were turned toward God and who so sacrificially gave of themselves and their stories for His glory and for the healing of themselves and of other women just like them.
The speakers were amazing and allowed themselves to be vessels to a message that is not heard often in our culture, let alone in blogging circles … that it isn’t about you. Your story — my story — is a part of a larger story God is telling for His purposes. Our keyboards are places where we go to offer sacrifice and to write for an audience of One. If we are not sharing our stories in authentic and transparent ways, we do a disservice to each other.
I went to Relevant to meet and connect with long-time and brand-new friends and to share with them the message of MomLife Today. And while I feel like I achieved that and more, I took away much more than I brought. I left with a message and an understanding that my story isn’t just mine, that I really have to “get over” myself and my fear that you won’t like me if I share it with you.
I wish I could make single motherhood bright and shiny. The truth is I can’t. I would like to be inspirational and encouraging and paint a pretty picture for you. There are spectacular individual moments of grace and love, but the overall is just not bright and shiny.
Someone said of me this weekend, “When I listen to you talk, what I hear is ‘life is hard, but God is good.'” I think maybe that is a statement all of us could find relevant.
If you’d like to learn more about Relevant and what others experienced there, please visit The Relevant Conference.
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