This week was a blessing and a curse. A blessing…God allowed my work schedule to get adjusted, so I would not be in Atlanta. On Tuesday, I helped my sister prepare for Switcharoos, AND I got to see my nephew and niece which made the work well worth it. Switcharoos is a huge consignment sale in Greenville that I go to each year in search of clothes for friends and family. It’s so much fun, because you get a lot of stuff for a really good price.
This past weekend, I took eight women from my Bible Study to Charlotte, North Carolina to see the amazing Beth Moore. After you see the pictures, you will think they were all crazy. We recently finished her Living Beyond Yourself study, so seeing her was a great finale to an amazing study. Leading up to the trip, I was getting more and more discouraged in the details of the trip. It felt as though everyone had an opinion how things should be done, when we should leave, what we should do, etc. Most were supposed to be helpful comments, but my sleep deprivation, attitude, and the devil were winning at stealing my joy.
We left Greenville at 3:30. The event did not start until 7, and we hoped to arrive by 6 since it was general admission seating. As you can imagine, the trip was going great…well, until the 7 mile backup on 85 due to the tractor trailer accident. So, since we are brilliant women, we started navigating an alternate route. Well, as you are probably guessing right now, we were stuck in another traffic jam due to construction and the other drivers who had the same idea. We arrived at the Time Warner Center at 7:15, and we sat in the worst possible seats. Imagine the nosebleed section way up high, and then imagine like three stories above that, but we could still hear! God had a great message for us for the weekend. But another awesome thing was I didn’t want to have to pay for three cars in Charlotte for the conference since our original plan was to drop one car at the apartment that we were using, but alas we didn’t have time. Would you believe, some lady was standing at the parking garage and gave one of our cars a free parking pass. It was a small gesture that meant a lot! I had never worshipped with so many women before. They said we were about 9400 strong, but it was AMAZING! We actually all kept joking about our first ever Bible Study, because we felt like it was the same kind of force against us that was there that night…but we are still going strong a year later.
I wish I could say that I quickly grew up and got over my irritations, but sadly, that wasn’t the end of the devil working on me. My girlfriend and I were together on the trip, and it has just seemed the last few weeks that we were drifting apart for some reason. I couldn’t necessarily pinpoint the reason, but it kept escalating and finally boiled over. I struggled the entire conference to listen to the messages. I was emotional as all get out with no real reason why. Somehow I got all of the notes down and still learned a lot looking back over them, but it was weird how that happened. I had to apologize to our group for being so stressed and allowing my attitude to get the best of me. They were gracious and the apology led into a great time of testimony about what this conference did for each of us. What a reward to hear that each woman needed to be at that retreat including myself. My girlfriend and I got to talk and make EVERYTHING wonderful. Restoration and growth were achieved this weekend which to me means the retreat was a success in spite of all of the trials. I also was able to deepen some relationships and build new ones with some amazing women. It still amazing how God has brought people back into my life from high school that I never hung out with previously.
However, in spite of all of my attitude problems, traffic jams, and melted cupcakes (Sorry again Carissa), we got to have a great time together. Did you know grown women like to stay up until 2am to talk? Yes, we had our own version of a slumber party. I would also be awful if I didn’t thank Courtney’s sister-in-law for coordinating free lodging for us. Who says you can’t cram 9 women into a one bedroom apartment….what you can’t do though is use only one bathroom…now, that was a challenge. I also need to thank Courtney’s brother and sister-in-law for hosting us for breakfast on Sunday. Take a look at the pictures…Keith made an amazing spread for us, and we were incredibly grateful.
Some of you may be wondering what Jon does all the time while I’m away. He suffers let me tell you. If you noticed yesterday’s post, that was him wake boarding. He went out on the lake for five hours on Friday with his co-worker, and he went jet skiing on Tuesday while I helped Becki with the Switcharoos stuff. On Sunday after church, he even went golfing in 104 degree weather with some of his friends. His life hasn’t been too bad, but according to him, he missed me, so I’m fine if he fills his time with fun things until I return.
This is getting longer than I intended, but I wanted to share with you what Beth shared with us. She based most of her message around Deuteronomy, but she created an acrostic for us to remember why we should HOLD FAST to God.
His affection is set upon me.
Only He is my praise.
Loving Him awakens my true heart.
Doing His will does me good.
Fleeing to Him means fleeing with Him.
Any tighter embrace will also replace.
Satan wants what we have.
The Lord is my life.
H.O.L.D.F.A.S.T. God has sent His love upon me.