One year ago I was on a train headed west. I had spent the weekend at the Relevant (now Allume) Conference where I had confirmed that bloggers, and more specifically Christian Women Bloggers, were my people! They hear my music and march to my drum! They don’t look at me weird and say, “You do what (blogging)?” Furthermore they reached past my natural defenses and touched my heart. I wanted so badly to go again this year but God said no. And then He put an exclamation point on that by allowing me to be sick all weekend.
In some ways I am still feeling the effects, of my trip to Allume, a whole year later!
- Stacy and I had been blog friends for a while. We met, in her little Pennsylvania town, and traveled to Harrisburg together, where we were room mates for one of the best weekends ever! When weather cancelled the trains running between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Stacy and her husband graciously spent their Sunday evening diving me to the train station in Pittsburgh so I wouldn’t be stranded. In the course of a weekend together Stacy and I had shared details of our lives, that just don’t make publication, that assured me that she was the one I needed to talk to this summer when I thought my world was falling apart. She was there for me. She listened. She empathized. She prayed. She reminded me that no matter how big my storm … God is bigger!
- I had asked for time off, to go to Allume, back in February, knowing that it wasn’t ideal timing but believing that I should go. I worked extra hours before my trip, came home and went back to work a day early, and put in long days to catch up. It was still held against me, til the day I quit, that I took that particular week off. I suppose, in some ways, Allume was the beginning of the end for me at a job which I learned to hate. And that’s okay. It wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing in this season.
- My Facebook Newsfeed, Twitter and Blog Reader are full of bloggers that I met through Allume. Women who have stood beside me and prayed for my missionary child, my wayward child, my husband’s health, and my marriage. They have also been the loudest voices telling me not to allow Satan to steal my voice, or the joy I find in blogging, but to continue to share the messages that God lays on my heart.
I didn’t go to Allume this year and I was sad.
There were so many women that I wanted to meet … or meet again. Encouraging words that I knew my heart needed to hear. Praise that would have escorted my weary heart into the presence of my Father. He kept me home and in the end … that was a good thing! My husband had another mini-stroke the previous weekend and I wouldn’t have been comfortable leaving him. Our checkbook, and credit cards, would not have borne the travel expenses, hotel, meals, etc. well at this time. And I wound up sick. I slept most of the weekend. Didn’t even make it to church. But in the words of Brene Brown my heart heard encouragement that it needed. Songs, prayers, and scriptures on Facebook, Twitter, and my iPod, escorted me into the presence of my Father. And I am enjoying the reports from those who DID go to Allume.
I hope I can go next year.
I hope maybe they’ll make it a different weekend since this time of year seems destined to have bad weather, and travel complications, on the East Coast. But whether I get to go or not … I will continue to interact with these wonderful blogging sisters, the Allume Community, and know that some day … we will worship together, when He calls all our hearts Home!