Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Influence





This last weekend I had an incredible privilege of attending the first annual Influence Conference for bloggers.  The whole theme of the conference is about influence; how we each have a common thread: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and even though our spheres of influence may be entirely different, they still can make a difference.  Being my first blogging conference, I was a little nervous going into this weekend.  I’ve been blogging for 4 years, but recently I am becoming more intentional about my writing.  It is no longer just a place for the Grandparents to keep up on the kids.  I want it to be so much more! 

But to say that I walked in to this conference intimidated and unsure is an understatement.   What do I have to offer?  And these women!  They are all so beautiful and fashionable.  Maybe I’m out of my element.  And my story: What about my story?  I know that in a room full of 200 women, from all over the country, the question will come out:  So, are you married?  Do you have children?  Lord, it’s so fresh and new for me: I don’t even know if I’m comfortable with my story.  Christian, God-fearing, church-going people are not supposed to have broken marriages.  Yet that is where I stand. 

Despite my fears, I had to trust God had a plan.  I mean, while my bank account was gasping for air, He did provide the exact funds I needed to pay for this weekend. My niece was able to come from Illinois and watch the kiddos.  And He did give me the comfort of knowing 2 people attending already, albeit not well.  Yes, I have to trust He knows what He’s doing, even if I don’t feel it or see it.  Relying on faith alone, I arrived, anticipating Him to move.

Ready for the Stripes Party!

It didn’t take long.  The very first person I met at the Stripes Party – Janna – I don’t know how to explain it.  It’s like we have the same passion and we both felt that God was going to do something with it.  Have you ever felt like you’re standing on the edge of something really big, but you can only see just a small part?   Wow!  I had the privilege of connecting with her in length one other time over the weekend and both times, excitement and goose bumps.   Her and I both agreed that the Holy Spirit was at work, and we neither one can wait to see how God is going to work.

By the end of Thursday, I had met several others that were so kind and so welcoming.  And you know what?  When I told my story, they didn’t run away!  As a local, I headed home encouraged and thankful for these special women and this conference. 

Friday, was intense!  I learned so much valuable information and talked to so many more women, that by dinner time, I found myself emotionally spent.  Even though all were welcoming of me and all were kind and compassionate, the simple truth remained:  I am still not yet comfortable as a divorced single mom.  Oh, I live it and have for almost a year now.  I’ve accepted it, in that I no longer beg him to come back.  I’ve began the process of moving forward, in that I’m pursuing my own passions and my own dreams and looking for a way to provide more financial stability for my children.  But for a little over 11 years, I was a wife first.  And with that stripped away, who am I really?  I arrived home Friday night utterly exhausted and confused.  I was met at the door by three pairs of arms hugging me and so happy I was home.  Three mouths excited to relive their day just for me.  And three pairs of eyes sparkling as they waited to hear all about my conference.  In that moment, I realized something:  I’m not doing this for me.  Or even for them.  I’m doing this for Him.  I’m a child of God first: Covered in His grace, wrapped in His love, and following hard after His will.  My story may look a lot like yours, or it may look way different.  Regardless, Jesus is still the same.  And we can either allow that truth to soak in grace and only hope to influence the world around us.  Or we can be intentional and use it to expand our world much like the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10.

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

When Saturday morning rolled around, I was ready once more to hear from Him.  And He as usual, did not disappoint.  I heard so many speaker testimonies that my heart could resonate with.  It was a true blessing.  Not only was I able to attend a well thought out strategic business conference, but the Holy Spirit was at work in my heart, the hearts of the other attendees and the speakers.  I can tell you that I was a part of something huge!  The first annual Influence Conference.  And I can’t wait to go back!

Oh, and by the way, Influence did not end for me on Saturday, but was also the theme of my Pastor’s sermon on Sunday.  His main verse was 1 Chronicles 4:10.  Don’t you just love when the Holy Spirit can just tie everything up for you in a great big beautiful bow so you know you’re on the right track?!  That my friends can only be from my God!  May He be glorified in all that I do.  May I not run ahead or lag behind.  And may He be with all of you as you continue to learn how to influence in the name of Jesus.

A few of the gifts received...and some of the beautiful women I met.

4 comments:

soZealous said...

Becky, it was such a pleasure to meet you at Influence. I think you have such a beautiful heart:)

Looking forward to hearing more about your journey! xx

Becky said...

Erin, thank you for your kind words. I loved meeting you too! You are so kind and your fashion sense rocks! I checked out your blog briefly and I love that most of what you wear is thrifted! Love! Maybe you can teach me. :)

Becky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne said...

Oh, honey. I wish we'd gotten to chat at Influence. Thanks so much for sharing your story here. Truly, thank you.