I'm really tired so this may not make a lot of sense. But I want to try to get this down before the moment passes - which may happen quickly since a nap is definitely on my agenda for the near future...!
I didn't want to go to the Beth Moore conference this weekend simply because of the time it would take, plus, I'm not a big fan of Verizon Arena - my knees don't do stairs well anymore. (If you don't already know it: weekends are for catching up on sleep :)
This week it seemed that something happened almost every night to disturb our rest and Thursday's storms were the coup d'grace. Friday I just kept thinking that when I got the e-mail from the church several weeks ago saying someone had paid for me to go to the conference, I should have responded with, "I really appreciate it but I can't go," and left it at that. As tired as I was, in retrospect, it seemed like the wisest thing I could have done.
And so now I'm wondering how often "foolish" passes for "wise" with me... So thankful I didn't do the "wise" thing in this case.
At any rate, seeing 8,000 women - young mothers with babies, elderly women in wheel chairs and every age person in-between in the arena was a powerful thing, truly. Listening to thousands of sweet voices raised together in song was amazing. I looked around this morning at all the women in those stands and thought, "This is what Heaven is going to be like, only oh, so much greater..." (Not that I mean only women are going to be in Heaven...:)
But the big thing I noticed was that I didn't see any perfect women. And I always see perfect women - especially at Dillards and on t.v.. Which is maybe why I don't shop at Dillard's much and I prefer to read books as opposed to watching the telly..
Anyway, maybe it was just me - but I didn't feel like anyone this weekend was putting on a show or trying to impress. When Beth said, "Maybe you don't have any big problems in your life; maybe your marriage has been problem-free..." and then added, "I guess that could happen..." we all started laughing. And I mean, we all started laughing... Well, perhaps I should amend that to all the married women:)
When Beth asked for women to stand to be prayed over, she prefaced that by saying, "And Ladies, if someone in your group stands for prayer, don't ask them later why they stood!" When she called my "number", I stood with several hundred other women for prayer and as soon as a I sat down, my friend leaned over and said, "So, why did you stand???" and we both cracked up.
At another time, during break, they were showing a video of several hundred people - in ordinary clothes - doing a choreographed dance to Christian music. In the background were some high rise buildings. I heard my friend say, "I think that must be a city in the South..." She was serious and I was too as I asked why she thought that. She paused for a minute and then said, "Well, I don't think people in the North do things like that..." and we started laughing again. Laughter is good and acceptance is precious...freeing... And I"m thinking maybe it's a diminishing quality in our Madison Avenue society....
I figure Beth's transparency and certainly the prayers blanketing the conference, set the tone for the whole weekend -where we could just be ourselves, laugh, listen, and even cry. (It was all okay!) And I guess I'm saying that the relaxed atmosphere, the honesty, and just knowing that I belong to such a large group of women (who are really only just a drop in the bucket when you think of all our sisters throughout the world who are trying hard to follow after Him) - all of that made attending this conference sooo much smarter than doing my usual Friday night/Sat. morning routine. Most weekends provide stare-at-the-wall time and that's good. But this weekend was stare-at-God time and that was needed, at least by me.
At one point this morning, when Beth was saying that it wasn't us or our friend or the church that brought us to the conference but God... it suddenly dawned on me... God really did bring me! Tears started flowing (I hate it when that happens but, again, it was really okay!). Why did the tears pop out? Because it hit me: I never intended to go. IN fact, I fully intended not to go. Seriously, I thought I had turned down the first offer of the free ticket but apparently I hadn't... And I'm telling you, if I had bought my own ticket, as tired as I was yesterday, I would have just opted out at the last minute. But I couldn't waste someone else's money...
So God did bring me to the conference at this time and He brought me there for a reason, which I'll probably write about some day, after I've had time to process it..
And in the meantime, I'm grateful.. for Beth Moore, for the conference, for the fact that God shows up in unexpected ways, for the fact that I'm not the only imperfect person on the planet but actually there are a bunch of us :) :) And, obviously, I'm also thankful for the unknown person who said, "I will" when God impressed them to buy a ticket for me.
Next time, maybe it will be my turn to do the buying at His bidding ... If that happens, hope I'm "foolish" enough to "get it..."