The longer I am on Cape Cod, the more I love it here. I have been blessed by God to be a part of a very wonderful church full of loving people who accept and love me for who I am. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who adores me, even though sometimes I don't deserve it. I have been blessed with two very adorable, intelligent, and loving children. I love my parents and treasure them both for many many different reasons. I love each of my brothers and sisters independently and collectively. And I have the most amazing wonderful women in my "travelling party." So, when my insecurities of not being accepted or my fears of being alone rear their ugly heads, all I need to do is look around to realize that I am not alone and that I am loved for me. And all I need to do to be grateful is to look up and thank God for all his wonderful blessings.
One of the most recent of these blessings was the opportunity to attend the Beth Moore conference in Lowell. I think something like 27 women from our church went, and several women from another local church, not to mention a group from my church in NH. I was overwhelmed as we sat in the Tsongas Arena, rainy and cold outside, and wet and cold inside (we were sitting on the ice), that something like 2,800 women had gathered there from all over the country and Canada.
For those of you who were not there, try to imagine 2,800 women of faith gathered in one room. Try to imagine what 2,800 feminine voices would sound like in unison singing love songs to our God. That is a powerful and beautiful thing. Worship was amazing, spellbinding, and beautiful. What was more amazing was when Beth Moore stepped onto the platform to speak.
I love Beth Moore's Bible studies. She always has such insight. She speaks truths and she has a way of showing a girl how to dig deep within her soul to find truth, healing, and God's love. And I was, sitting in a cold wet arena, listening to her speak live. I had no idea what to expect, but was sure that it would likely bring me to tears.
I was a bit surprised that by the end of the first night I had not shed a tear other than at the beauty of so many women singing praises and worship to God. I loved what she spoke on, but I did not really feel a stirring in my spirit. Not yet.
But I was just so refreshed and happy to be there. My kids were excited about being home with just Daddy for once, which surprised me. Not because they dislike Daddy- they love him- but because they always cling to me. And I was surprised that Seth was excited about the weekend too. He was confident he could handle things like cooking and bathing and dressing the children. He sent me off with a kiss and a "Go learn something!" And here I was, off with my amazing friends, no stress or anxiety over Seth and the kids, and open to learning and discovering new things about God and myself.
I was disappointed at first that I didn't get my roommate request of Hannah, but in the end, I was ecstatic at the opportunity of bonding with two very amazing women, Larissa and Donna. My Roomies were awesome. We had some good laughs and I look forward to spending more time with both of these women.
It was nearly 1 am on Friday that we were finally dozing off, all exhausted from our busy lives and our current adventure to the BMC.
I fell asleep thinking on all of the wonderful things Beth had spoken about, finding our treasures, letting down our defenses, and how our treasures can bring us healing. Beautiful encouraging words.
Apparently I talk in my sleep. I know that some of my siblings talk in their sleep, it use to be a source of great amusement for me. And I had heard that Seth talks in his sleep after he had a particularly disturbing dream of the robot Gideon our school had built several years before. I have never actually witnessed him talking in his sleep, nor he me, although he tells me that I snore very loudly. I believe him too, as sometimes my snores will even wake me up. But, never had there been any record of me talking in my sleep until now.
At breakfast Donna told me that at sometime around 3 am I had called out, "I have my Bible!" I think it is odd because I did not bring my Bible as I had one downloaded to my phone and thought we might need as much space in Cordelia as we could get. (I named my van Anne in salute to my literary counterpart, but the van prefers to be called Cordelia.) At least my mind was on good things when I fell asleep. I could have shouted out something more, uh... well, not about my Bible.
I rode with Donna to the arena that morning because the friends I had driven there all had to be up at the buttcrack of dawn. Yes, this is actually a phrase that frequents my household, and apparently one that had come up on Saturday morning when my friend Lizzie freaked her roomies out at 5 am when everything was entirely dark except the glow from her cell phone reflecting off her chin and apparently creepy grin. They all had a good laugh and someone mentioned that it was the Buttcrack of dawn.
What a powerful morning at the arena. We had decided to sit in the bleachers this time and it was much warmer and dryer out than the previous night. I still had not seen anyone from New Life (my NH church), but that was OK. I knew they were there and having just as much of a wonderful time as we were.
The morning was kicked off by yet another powerful Worship service. I so need to buy this guy's CD so I can listen to it all the time. So powerful. There was even women dancing on the floor below us, and that made me grin. It reminded me of home. These songs were mostly clapping songs too. :) I like me a good clapping song.
Again, Beth stepped onto the platform to share with us the rest of her message about treasuring. She talked about Mary, and how she treasured things in her heart. At one point that morning she went on this long tangent about her father. She shared a lot of feeling and pain and even healing. And every word she said I could relate to. And when she was done talking about him she paused for a moment and said that she didn't know why she told us all that, but that God did and that she hoped it resonated with someone in the crowd. And it did. It resonated with me. Every feeling she had, I knew. Even that part at the end, where she held her father's hand and told him she loved him and forgave him. I know my dad is not dead, but I love him. I know that sometimes things can be stiff or awkward with him, but I love him. I love that he calls me. I love that he emails me. I love that he chose me, raised me, and called him his own. Kind of reminds me of Someone else, actually. I could have so easily dismissed this as a treasure altogether, but I won't. This is one of my favorite treasures that I have on my string of treasures. I have been chosen by my dad and by God. And I can let go of the hurt that came from my biological father. I know that he has passed on, and that I have never actually met him, but I can forgive him and let him go. I have a dad. In fact, I have two dads. And I love that. It's a treasure.
After we got out of Beth Moore, we discovered that there were some people out there that were intent on "fixing" things that really did not need to be fixed. It is sad, really. Here we were at this amazing conference, among amazing women, and hearing amazing things from God, and Satan was trying to use something to derail the whole weekend. I saw people hurt by it, and it makes me sad. I saw a friend cry. I never want to ever see her that hurt again. It was not long before we clung to each other and our treasures and we were back on top again. I will pray for those people that are intent on sewing discourd and hurt. I will pray for strength and peace to those that have to deal with such things directed at them constantly. I will cling to something that Beth Moore said herself: It is not about uniformity, it is about unity.
Unity is what makes us strong. That's another treasure. That's one of those things that can bring healing and further God's kingdom. And even though there are people out there that have nothing better to do than judge others and hurt good wonderful people, we can rise above that.
I was blessed beyond words this weekend. Not only did I get to spend time with some precious friends, I bonded with some new ones. My wagon train has grown in so many ways, my string of treasures has too.
Colossians 2:3 "In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (NLT)