Friday, October 26, 2007

Post-Conference Thoughts

The song pounded over and over in my ears, as in my dream I found myself surrounded by women trying to help me open the cd player and stop the music … then I woke up and realized that Owen’s Cars dvd had ended and it was the background song on the disc menu that was driving me insane in my subconscious! My excuse for sleeping so soundly while my son watched a movie is that I was running on four hours of sleep and had already showered, dressed, driven to the airport and back again, all before 6:30 am this morning!

We had the privilege of hosting our first overnight guest Wednesday and Thursday. Our guest this week was a missionary wife from Bolivia, originally from Sweden. We had a lovely time getting to know “Osa” as we called her (her name is actually spelled differently but pronounced this way) and this was on the heels of my having gotten to know many wonderful ladies in the days preceding her visit! Sunday through Wednesday, I had the beautiful experience of attending a Women of the Harvest retreat along with my sister and 70 attendees from Latin America – all women in missionary service around the continent.

I started writing about my conference experiences three different times and still haven’t been able to put it all in words. I thought about asking, “What do pedicures & haircuts, chocolate chips & candy corn, laughter & tears, Bible study & worship all have in common?” because we enjoyed and experienced all of these things over the course of four days! Or, I thought of sharing this quote: “Our response to God is based on Who we believe Him to be.” because it was this thought that began our study of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and the exploration of rich Biblical truths together.

Someone asked me what I most appreciated about the conference. On a superficial level, of course it was such a treat to be hosted in a beautiful hotel with all of our meals included and to find new gifts at our tables each morning … but on a much deeper level, it was just so sweet to share with other women who are walking through similar life experiences and to have the freedom to talk about our joys and struggles openly – freedom to be real with one another outside of the “fishbowl” of ministry.

Our speaker shared a word picture that stayed with me throughout the conference. The Bible speaks of us having “this treasure in earthen vessels,” and truthfully most of us have many “cracks” in our vessels. We spend so much time trying to hide those cracks so that we can look our best to others, but it is through our cracks and imperfections that Christ’s light can sometimes shine most brightly!

I also appreciated that we were given time on the first evening and after each session to be quiet before the Lord. So often we just hurry from one activity to the next, but at this retreat we were given time to purposefully be still before God and listen to His Spirit.

I could write of many other blessings and perhaps will do so in future posts. I look forward to pondering more of what we were taught and hopefully maintaining some of the relationships made at the conference. It was a special time indeed!

1 comment:

Erin lee said...

oh steph it sounds so amazing. i was thinking of you this week as you were there. maybe next year i can join you! i want to hear more about it.