Female relationships have always been tricky for me. If I’m honest, girls aren’t my favorite people. I’ve learned this more and more over the years as I mother my boys. Boys are a messy creature, but simple in their wiring. Feed them, give them trucks and play nice. In all transparency, it wasn’t until my late twenties, early thirties, that I learned how to build healthy godly relationships with women.
So to bring myself to a place where I was with 700 of the nations most wanting and aspiring writers, speakers and ministry leaders in one place was not without its share of anxiety.
For months I have been outside my skin excited about attending She Speaks 17. That is until the week of the event, when nervous energy kicked in, insecurities snuck to the surface of my heart, and my mind panicked at the thought that perhaps God wouldn’t speak anything to me this trip.
I could handle whatever happened, but I was desperately seeking a word from Him. You know what I mean? Those moments that mark your memory and affirm in your soul you heard from the Lord. I wanted it desperately.
I had no publisher appointments or meetings with agents. I had no past experiences to build expectations upon. So I just came and looked. Eyes wide open all weekend long. Friends, I saw soooo much when I looked for it!
I attended workshops and heard amazing speakers in general sessions, I took notes and kept ears open for the tiny whisper He was bound to give me. Only it didn’t come.
For 3 days I kept my eyes and ears perked at attention, desperate for a whisper, or shout, from the the heavens. Truth upon truth came pouring out in every session. Lines and words that brought healing, hope and encouragement, yet still I knew I hadn’t received what I came for.
Saturday night the sessions were over, the crew had cleaned up, and boxes packed away any remnant of our three days in the hotel. I found myself exhausted, weary, and meeting at a table in the cafe with three beautiful women. All so very different, and yet so very much the same. We sat for hours. Talking, laughing, encouraging, inspiring, planning and dreaming. It was not lost on me that a week before I was terrified about being in such a place filled with women who were more brilliant, beautiful and talented than I. And here I sat, around a table with a woman far more brilliant than I, another significantly more creative and gifted, and another far more beautiful, yet I felt accepted, loved, whole.
God has a sense of humor in how He teaches us lessons!
The conference had come to an end, and my words from God hadn’t come. We realized the extremely late hour and the early morning flights to come, so we snapped photos, hugged and went up to bed. And there, in the square of the elevator as we each stepped off to our corresponding floors my words came. The sweetest whispers my soul could have heard, words very much worth the wait, “You’re doing exactly what I made you to do.”
“Serve as I call you to serve. Love who I call you to love. Be what I made you to be. Trust me to do the rest.”
I wanted a vision to pursue, tasks to complete, words to inspire. God gave me none of it.
He showed me His people instead.
And friends, it’s the most beautiful picture I have ever seen.
Here are some more photos from the weekend….cause while other people freak out about meeting movie stars and sports celebrities, this girl geeks out about speakers, authors and teachers! 😉