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.
24 thoughts on “naked and not ashamed”
Hello my friend, you are so right! Fig leaves were never God’s plan. It was humanity’s way of trying to hide from him. I wish more Christians had the courage to vanquish their social inhibitions, and I dare say church inhibitions and just get real with each other. I think far too many of US are worried about wearing the ” Scarlet letter ” and not confident enough in the efficacious work of the scarlet bloodstained cross. You knocked this one out of the park my buddy. Thank you for exercising your God-given gift.
You are so right. It’s time for us to get real with one another and before God. I, for one, am glad to have a real friend in you. Bless you!
One day my friend I will meet the real, beautiful, awesome you- in person! This was wonderful!
It will be a pleasure to meet you as well Katharine! Thanks for your godly example and encouragement. Precious to me. You really are.
Lorretta….I just love your realness. And yes, we’re all a bit stuck on self, aren’t we? Just know that you can comment bomb my lil’ old blog any day. Love the crap out of ya!
Hey Girl! Bombs away! 🙂 I have found so much “kinship” in and through meeting you here and I sincerely hope we can join forces i(RL) for good and fight evil like the superheroes we are! Because I love the crap out of you too!
Meeting you in person? A definite highlight. You are charming and beautiful and bold for the King! Love you.
Thank you so much Jennifer. Coming from one who has learned of Him from the trenches, this means a lot. Just sick and tired of being cowed by the enemy in an area of pride and sin. This is a “name it and claim it” moment…Name the sin and claim it’s been resolved by the cross of Jesus. Back to work people! 🙂
Amazing Lorretta. I’m so glad you got to go. Water to a weary soul, it sounds like. God is gracious and amazing and I’m so glad you got to touch heaven along with 450 other women. How totally special. Write on, brave one, write on! xx
Thank you Adriel….it was very much water for my thirsty (and leaky) soul. By and large I’m discerning a move of God amongst us and I am now very pleased to just settle in and get to work…writing bravely and living in the brave ways I need to write about. Glad to see you here..I love your place too. Bless you!
So fun to live a little through you and hear about your experience at Allume. I can attest that Allume last year completely undid me in the best way.
You have one very wise friend. I love the way she put that (well, love and hate lol. They’re thought provoking and convicting words.)
Oh Amanda! What a glorious journey it’s been…the best thing I can imagine about these “painful” love wounds is that it’s an indication of belonging to Him. God disciplines those He loves …and that counts for a lot in my book. Hope I get to meet you i(RL) someday soon…and please know I am praying for you and the things you shared in your last post.
Loretta, I’m sad I didn’t get to meet you at Allume, for your experience is so much like my own. This is beautiful writing, friend. I will definitely be checking in on your blog! Love what you have to say! I am absolutely inspired.
Hi there Katie! You know, I met SO many people in the span of those 4 days and half of the others I didn’t actually share time with, I could *swear* I recognized them from online somewhere! When I went into the prayer room and scanned the journals..so many names sounded familiar to me! All I know is that I hope a bunch of us get to cross paths again soon If you EVER find yourself traveling South through Georgia, look me up!
Loretta, it was such a blessing to meet you, and to be a fellow Alluminati! I have to say, it was definitly a life changing experience for me as well. The Lord did some hard work on my heart, tearing down walls (some quite literally) and stripping me bare. I’m still reeling & not quite ready to write about it all yet. But I wanted to let you know, you are one I admire & looked forward to meeting. I’m so happy we got to share some time together. Blessings to you, my naked sister! 😉
Lauren, Lauren….Lauren! I am SO blessed by the time we were able to spend together–in the same proximity and a bit of one on one (story time with Auntie Alia!) Seriously…there is a kindred spirit I find in you and I can’t wait to see what God wants to do with that. I know you are in the midst of rebuilding out there and you are in my prayers. Stay in touch.
Love.Love this, Loretta!! That whole, ‘judgement about the intentions of others,’ statement is what so many need to hear. Why do we tend to think so highly of ourselves that we think that others are judging us in a negative light…or even no light at all, making ourselves small and insignificant in our own eyes? Oh yeah, it’s the whole ‘fall’ thing. We put on the ‘clothes’ to cover it up. I am so thankful for the naked truth of God’s Word and the truth of who we are in Him!!
Thanks Gay! To be honest..you’d think I would get this by now. I preach it to others all. the. time. And yet somehow the girl in the mirror has failed to get the message! WEll, up until now. It’s so much wide-opener out here now! Thanks for your encouraging words and all you do to serve our community in your space. Bless you!
Beautiful!! You were a joy to meet at Allume and I love your brave words here. I can relate.
Thank you Christine! And bless you for where you are and where God is going to take your submitted spirit. I am so grateful to have met other women who are hearing from God and sensing the greater mission we have. I love your site…so much good food there!
My first allume was a coming of age experience, as well! Something about all that unconditional love from God and His daughters. so glad to read this and rejoice with you.
You have such a way with words, this was a joy to read for that reason, as well.
Oh Trina. I am so blessed to hear from you here…and your “real food” writings have been so useful for me. I often have to fight the urge to say it’s not worth it because my kids are almost moved out..but dang…my story isn’t finished being written and these things are good! I want to learn the art of Kombucha next!
You are SO spot-on, Lorretta! This is turning our hearts back to the very beginning, when God created man in HIS IMAGE! Love you for sharing with such candidness.
Joyce! Good to see you here again! Someday I hope to make a journey that includes visiting with you in your country and learning all about the world through your eyes. In the meantime, I think it’s SO cool that God would connect us out here like this..the world feels so much smaller on days like today. Bless you dear One!