It was Saturday evening at the Allume Conference when I began this post. So many wonderful things were spoken over the weekend. This conference is not merely all the how-to's on blogging. It goes beyond that. It steps into real life living and challenges me do the hard work of mothering (in not so many words) and reminds me that I'm not "just a mom". What I do matters and I have influence. My influence matters first for my children. Then I extend out wherever God desires for me to reach.
Blogging how-to's mean nothing if we don't know how to give ourselves and our writing, our art, to God first.
Bianca Olthoff talked about having dry bones. That's where I was before right Allume. I was so drained and had nothing left, I felt like dry bones. I felt like I could not feel. Not drained from preparing for Allume, drained from fighting through our adoption process and feeling like I would never measure up as a mom. The stress levels have been high and felt not only by me, but by my children. And I didn't want to go home unchanged. I didn't want to go home the same person I went there as. I wanted to go home knowing that God has called me to fight for my girls in Africa, but also to fight for my children here, in my home.
I felt like I was so tightly shut up, with all these protective layers around me that I could not be broken open. I was all cried out and nothing inspiring would make my feet move. It's strange, it wasn't that I didn't feel vulnerable. It's just that, I knew all the head knowledge, but didn't put feet to what I knew. I was inspired but the inspiration was no longer enough to make me move. I've grown immune to it. It no longer spurs me to action.
Now that I am home, I have a greater sense of peace and a new beginning aches to be unleashed. So many people pulled me aside and prayed for me and our adoption. I would have spontaneous bouts of crying, like when I pulled out the picture of our girls to show Ann Voskamp. I just broke down in tears, and Nasreen (a dear friend and production manager of Allume), slid over, wrapped her arm around me and prayed for me. Ann reached across the table and put her hand on mine and prayed for me further.
The message of Allume was awesome. It was empowering, encouraging, and equipping. But without prayer, it would have gone nowhere for me. The Holy Spirit needed to be unleashed on my heart in ways I could not understand, and the prayers of these women helped to break that bond around my heart. God brought me a peace that I have not had in weeks.
I also learned through Jennie Allen's keynote that my sense of control was holding me bondage. I didn't quite realize how much control I have tried so hard to hold onto. That control is keeping me from being free and I need to let it go in order to have that freedom--and then help set other women free.
Allume is community in the best sense of the word. It's not a conference, it's a reunion. Working on the back end for months and months (12 to be exact) and watching the work of our hands come to fruition is nothing less than beautiful. God doesn't ask us to be adequate, just available. We showed up, and He did the rest.
I hope you'll join us next year.