The busyness has been full of loads of fun and oodles of blessings. For example:
- I spent this past weekend in Denver with a group of 8 other ladies from my church at the Women of Faith conference. It's the first I've been to in over 7 years, and this one blessed my socks off almost as much as the very first one I ever attended. I spent the weekend laughing and crying, worshiping and praising. Between my allergies and crying, I never should have even attempted eye makeup! In addition to the other speakers, listening to Sheila Walsh share what God has done in her life and hearing Natalie Grant sing her heart out (even being six months pregnant and being in Mile High City--amazing!) was a tremendous blessing to my heart. I'm so grateful for that time.
- I returned home very late on Saturday night in order to be in church Sunday morning for our revival services to begin. As if the revival itself wasn't enough, I got to spend much of three days with some of the most precious people in my life, as they were leading the music for our services. God crossed my path with theirs almost ten years ago, and from the first time we met, God glued us together as soul mates and I've never been the same since. Being a parsonage family, there's always a level of guardedness you must always maintain because, well, you are the pastor and his wife. With these special friends, we can let it all out and bare our hearts and souls. These are the kinds of friends that cause me to cry when I first see them because I'm so happy to be breathing the same air as them and cry when they leave because our time together has been so precious. You just don't have too many friends in life like that. (Benjamin even realizes that our relationship with them is different. He said to me one night after the service, "Mom, are they our friends...or are they our family?" I told him, "They are our friends, but we love them as if they are family.") I've already asked God if He could arrange to have our mansions next door to each other!
- While at the Women of Faith conference, I heard them share stories with all the attendees about their partnership with World Vision and how they are changing the world, one child at a time. There was a tug on my heart that told me God wanted me to choose a child to sponsor, so on Saturday afternoon before leaving the conference, I made my way to the World Vision booth. I had no preference as far as country goes for the child I would sponsor, so I decided it would be fun to sponsor a birthday buddy. I asked the lady behind the table if she had a child with my birthday. She pulled out the folder and handed it to me, and I stood there and bawled my eyes out as I looked upon this precious 3 year old girl in Honduras in pigtails and a sweet pink dress. I quickly filled out the form to get the sponsorship started and anxiously brought Esmeli's information home to share with my family. We're already trying to figure out how to sponsor a child with each of our birthdays. Don't tell my husband, but I'm also praying for God to make a way for us to all someday be able to go to Honduras and meet Esmeli and her family!
- On top of everything else, I managed to read Mary Beth Chapman's book "Choosing to SEE" over the past 72 hours. If you don't know who she is, her husband is well-known Christian recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman, and her book chronicles their life story with a focus on the loss of their 5-year-old daughter two years ago. It is an incredible book, and Mary Beth is completely transparent in her struggles with depression and with the loss of her sweet daughter. I laughed my head off and I sobbed my heart out as I read her story. They are an amazing family, and I would highly recommend the book to you.