Saturday, August 14, 2010

Women Of Faith 2010

WOW! Just Wow! You wouldn't believe what an amazing experiences I've had this weekend! I had so many sparrow visits and affirmations of HIS & Bryston's love that I spent the day in tears. I am soo glad that I decided to go!

For those of you who don't know, Women of Faith is a conference of speakers, musicians, artist, and plain ole inspirational women. They describe it best on their site putting it like this; Imagine getting together with your closest girlfriends for a weekend. Think of the laughter you’d share, the tears you’d shed, the FUN you’d have. Now multiply that by 10,000 or so. You’re starting to get the idea. But it's so much more than that too! Its connecting to these women through their stories and sharing our faith and learning so much about ourselves and each other, its just an amazing event and if you've never been I highly recommend it! This years theme is Imagine.

I debated on weather or not to go. I thought that it might be a little bit too emotional for me since I haven't been to one in two years. It's an emotional few days even before Bryston. But boy oh boy am I glad I went.

I and my closest gal pal, Louise, had to work Friday so we had to for go the day show and head up just in time to catch the evening show. On the drive up, we're visiting and giggling and having a good time and then she gets serious and says, "I have something for you." The other day she and, Audrey,(Her daughter)went into JC Penney to shop. And little miss is really into jewelry now. Audrey ran over to the ear rings and necklace's and began to browse. Louise said that she ran over to her so excited and clutching in her hand something that she knew was meant for me. How Audrey knew to grab this or what made her tiny hands wrap around this treat I'll never know. Louise pulls out of her purse the prettiest sparrow necklace that her 4 year old daughter had been so excited about. Coincidence? Maybe, but I tend to think not.

Then another weird coincidence happened later that night as we were listening to Karen James speak. Karen was sharing her testimony & said that her husband in 2006 had climbed Mt. Hood which led to his untimely death when a freak storm rolled in unexpectedly. I just got a balloon from for Bryston's birthday from Mt. Hood! Okay, not a huge thing but it was just one more thing to add the the tally of the weekend's "coincidences."

We went back to the motel that night, all 9 of us women, and crowded into one room! Any other trip and I would have been super uncomfortable with this many bodies in one small area but it was so much fun! We laughed and acted silly and were lucky if we got a whole 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep!

The next morning started off as any usual Women of Faith conference does, with the worship team waking us up with some uplifting praise music. After that Shelia Walsh spoke on trusting God. And then it was Karen James's turn to speak again. She went further into heartbreaking details about how she lost her husband and told us a bit about his personality. She said that Kelly, her husband, was a Christian man. She said he was always after her about how much she worried about things. She said that he would always tell her the same thing over and over; "Babe, why are you so worried?" She would respond, because of this and because of that, and tell him why she was worried about a particular issue. He would always tell her, "Babe! You know that God takes care of his sparrows. We don't need to worry!" She then quoted the scriptures from Luke 12:6 and Matthew 10:29 that he would remind her about each time she would worry endlessly. Karen then shared with us about how after Kelly had passed she would be followed by flocks and flocks of sparrows. As I was sitting there listening to this I started to cry. Happy tears that I know what she is talking about! I have had regular sparrow visits almost daily since the day we left the hospital. And tears of sorrow for not only me but for Karen because I know.

After Karen, was Natalie Grant. She opened with a few upbeat songs and had us all on our feet shaking our tale feathers! Natalie then began to speak about hope and
how its all tied in with trusting God. That we're able to hope because God has a track record for being trust worthy, even in the most difficult of situations. Natalie then read this scripture from Isaiah 40:31;
"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" Another strange "coincidence," because not but 3 days before I posted this same verse here. She then went into her infamous song Held. If you've never heard this song or heard me talk about the first time that I heard it and it's significance to me, I highly recommend listening to it. Its an amazing song! So not only had I gotten the verse for an affirmation but now I also have Natalie Grant singing a song that has been so near and dear to my heart for a long time now! If I thought these were coincidences before this point, I was beyond sure now that they weren't!

(Hailey & Jess, my sister)
When Natalie was done signing I got a text from my sister. Here is what it said;
You know what I was thinking while Natalie was signing her held song? I was thinking about how incredibly strong your bond with Bryston is, Not even Heaven can break that bond. Bryston just shows up everywhere to say he loves you because he does love you, so much...even from Heaven. Its just really neat to see you love someone so much!! You're an amazing Mommy and Bryston is an amazing little fella!! ;) I so needed to hear that at that exact moment! I truly believe that God put that message in her heart to deliver to me that day.

And I'm not even done yet! After Natalie Grant went on we had a surprise performance by Selah! They had just happened to be in Omaha and decided to come to the conference! How lucky are we! Before they began to sing they talked. And to my surprise, I was about to get another affirmation. Todd Smith began to speak. I never put 2 and 2 together and realized that Angie Smith was his wife. For those of you who don't know Angie, you can read her story on her blog. But in short, Angie and Todd had a daughter Audrey born still. By the time he got to this point in his story I'm a mess. He asked that any woman who had suffered a stillbirth or miscarriages to stand. So I did. He said that he wanted to recognize us for the moms that we are and to let us know that its not our fault! I have been to several Women of Faith conferences but I have never ever heard any mention of stillbirth or miscarriage or had so many personal hits as I did this year.

Okay, so after Selah's performance was Michelle Aguilar, the winner of The Biggest Loser. She talked about how her parents divorced and how her Mom had taken her 2 sisters and left Michelle behind with her brothers and Father. She went on to tell about how she ended up on The Biggest Loser with her Mother for a partner. Long story short she learned how to let go and let God. HIT! I have only told one other person this, but to understand why this is meaningful to me, I'll go ahead and share it. On Bryston's birthday, after I had decorated and done everything in Omaha that I had wanted I headed home. About halfway home, out of no where I hear plain as day, God's still and small voice whispering to me. He said, "It's time." Confused I asked, "Time for what?" To which I heard, "To let him go." I pleaded, "I'm not ready God! I'm not ready!" And I cried the whole rest of the way home. But you know what, I think God understands that while I might not be ready, He will help me to let go. And ever since Bryston's birthday I have felt a bit lighter in spirit. A bit more ready. How I don't know, but there it is. I'm learning to let go and let God.

I'll probably always carry this grief, sorrow and guilt with me but after this weekend my load feels alot lighter. I am so glad that I chose to go. If I hadn't, I would have never had all of these amazing affirmations from God & Bryston. Each time I get one my heart heals a bit more. This weekends signs might seem like coincidences to anyone else but to me, even the smallest one means more to me than I'll ever ever be able to describe in words. God's small & still voice was heard loud and clear this weekend!

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
(Psalm 65:5-8)


JenJen said...

I've been wanting to go to a WOF conference for years but now I want to go even more after reading about your awesome weekend!

I had goosebumps about Audrey buying you the sparrow necklace...I don't think that was a coincidence at all!

I feel like I'm in the same spot, too, with needing to let Lily go but having a hard time actually doing's so hard because the love is just so overwhelming...


Andrea said...

Isaiah 40:31
Oh how I love this verse...I just posted it on my blog a few days ago :)

So happy you had a great time at Imagine.

Have a great week Jennifer and enjoy that new necklace. Last Thursday as I was working at the garden center I unpacked a box of little planters and they were blue with a sparrow on them and said "his eye is on the sparrow" and I immediately thought of you. Made me smile.


Mary said...

I am so glad God used the conference to encourage you! It sounds like it was a wonderful time! Post pics of the necklace when you can, I would love to see it!

Ebe said...

Sounds like you had a beautiful, wonderful time. I'm so glad for you. I'm a bit jealous!

God upholds us every day and for this, I'm so thankful. Hugs, friend.

Lisette said...

It sounds like you had a beautiful weekend, good for you. I am glad that since his birthday you have been feeling better and more at peace. You will never be over his loss in any way but being at peace about it is awesome. Little by little I am starting to feel the same way. ((HUGS))

Holly said...

Oh I just loved this post so much!!! I'm so glad you went. I went to Women of Faith this year for one of the days and it was just an awesome experience.

Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

Jenn said...

Sounds wonderful! I got to attend a WoF conference once, it was amazing.

I'm so glad you had such wonderful reminders of God and Bryston there.

One thing: Audrey Smith was born alive and lived for over 2 hours. I actually just read Angie's book I Will Carry You today.