I’m keenly aware that many reading this had no idea I was out of town last weekend attending my first-ever writers conference with a little over 450 other “Alluminati”….a mountain-top experience if I’ve ever had one!
I’ve waited almost a whole week to settle my head and heart, otherwise I’d be running the serious risk of emoting all over you people (you can thank me later!) As it is, this post may get a little “rambliscious” so I’ll try my best to keep things under control.
If you know me (and most of you do) then you must trust when I say, God used this conference to change my life.
You’ve probably noticed this “changed my life” thing has been going on for awhile. I’m OK with that because it’s not only for my benefit…I’m convinced it’s actually for your sake too. I hope you can see that.
You know, right before I left for the conference, God compelled and convicted me that it was time to get honest, real and raw here with you. As in–
emotionally and spiritually naked,
transparent and vulnerable.
It was hard. I knew I was running the risk of all sorts of things and who likes to remove their “fig leaf” in public for goodness sake?! God reminded me that He is my covering. I can trust Him and I do. So, I did…HERE. Naturally, He was right.
In fact, I’m more convinced now than ever before that there are a whole bunch of people who need to feel safe in His arms and find healing in these deep places.
I want to create as much space for that here as possible.
Confirmation came on the morning I was getting ready to leave as I read this during my quiet time:
See that right there in John 17: 21? A word for me and you. A word to those of us called to give witness to the word in whatever way God reveals. We are ministers of the Word.
That did it.
While I had no idea how to really prepare for this, I knew it was time. So I packed up my concerns, fears and a great deal of personal insecurity and headed off in the direction God was leading. True to His promise, He met me through this experience right where I needed it most.
About 450-plus writers attended Allume and if you asked each about their experience, naturally, you’d get 450-plus versions. I’m respectfully aware that what I’m about to share might seem foreign to another who also happened to be there. Which is fine because there was PLENTY of space for all our experiences at Allume.
Here’s all I know:
I went expecting to hear from God.
I went hungry and came away filled to the brim, pressed down, shaken together and
I’m still running over.
Serious amounts of planning and preparation go into something as big as this however, I’m convinced that much of what happened at Allume overall really could not have been planned.
The stage was set, space was made, the Spirit was invited and together we set into motion nothing less than a beautifully choreographed liturgical dance...an almost seamless act of worship from start to finish. People….
God. showed. up.
*** From the opening strains of a sacred blessing and re-commissioning moment where we discovered it takes not one, but the combined “light of 450 stars” to even begin pushing back the darkness around them.
*** To the chorus of voices rising to the heavens in holy hallelujahs because in all our varied “even so’s” it’s still so very well with our souls.
*** Through the dip and sway of encouragements, shared laughter, warmth and tears; communion in our community–embracing diversity and finding unity; in quiet corners and through microphones… stories meshed with confessions, fears gave way to hope, as failures, struggles and bloody messes mingled with precious prayers…so much prayer.
There is just something about the need we all have
to know and to be known.
To see and be seen.
To hear and be heard.
It was all there….if you wanted it.
I wanted it…needed it…bad. It came.
I had a profound “coming of age moment” which has done it’s deep Gospel work and left me beautifully stricken once again. God revealed a bit of darkness in my own heart:
I’m a recovering SELF-aholic.
I didn’t see it right away and it took meeting some women I really and truly admire for it to all come to the surface. It was during the conversation with one Sister in particular that I made the comment about feeling like a pest…a “comment bomber”.
SO gracious, so sweet, so real. Immediately she wanted to know who in this community ever made me feel that way. Truth is:
Later shared this experience with my BFF on the drive home. She stunned me with her response. She said, “What if it’s not really about what you believe about yourself but instead it’s a judgment you are making against the intentions of others?” Huh? Ouch?!?
hate love her for that. (sigh) It’s what BFF’s do.
I see now… it’s as if I’ve been able to offer grace to everyone else while at the same time behaving as if I’m unworthy. It’s the backward assumption and judgement against the intentions of others when it comes to me. It means I’m still thinking too much about my SELF.
Sin? Oh yeah.
Repent? Yes. I do.
Because, I don’t want to live there anymore and neither should you. What a stinkin’ waste of time. No more….there’s just not time for that. I want a do-over!
So, let’s just get and stay real ok? After all, fig leaves were never part of God’s plan…He actually prefers us naked.….He’ll be our covering. He promised and you can count on it. Let’s just do it.
Naked and unashamed…