I stepped off the plane, and noticed the hills, a contrast to the flatlands and cornfields back home. I thought it must be one of the most beautiful places on earth in the autumn, when the leaves on the trees peppering the hills are full of color. I was greeted at the airport by three adorable children and their daddy. Faces I’ve come to know through my computer screen. The beautiful family of my dear friend from One September Day, September McCarthy.
I checked into my hotel room, which would become a bliss filled retreat of solitude and prayers, and whispered worship from my heart…and naps, and bubble baths, and a place to sleep away the migraines that have recently plagued most of my days like a true thorn in the flesh. I met new sisters in Christ, who truly felt like sisters as we told our stories under the glittery snow fall, while live music wafted through the air. I felt so many Daddy’s little girl moments from our heavenly Father. You know the times when He sends gifts straight from heaven…and just for you.
It was nourishing and refreshing and lovely. Every moment.
When September first asked me to come to the Raising Generations Today Conference, I was so honored and excited, and just utterly in awe of the grace of our God and His great faithfulness. Years ago (in 2009 to be exact), September emailed me to share her story. That was our first conversation. I lost twin daughters and a son. She lost twin sons, and a daughter. (She experienced other losses as well.) We were both touched by twin to twin transfusion syndrome and Potter’s Syndrome. And, we were both women of faith, clinging to our God, and new to the wonderful world of words and inspiration and sisterhood of blogging. It was a whole new world for us, and my heart was immediately knit to hers and many others. (Even if she is a Steelers fan.)
I have felt so loved and cared for and lifted up this weekend. I hope that my tiny offering was at least some small encouragement to someone else, because I certainly have been encouraged by the gathering together of women this weekend. Real women, who love Jesus and love their families. This amazing conference began by September inviting women into her living room to walk alongside one another through the joys and trials of motherhood, offering hope and encouragement for every face and season of mothering. She is a woman walking the walk. And, God did a mighty thing. He sent sponsors and he sent enough women to sell out the tickets.
At Sufficient Grace, we understand the same simple treasure and desperate need to just walk alongside a woman in the midst of her brokenness. To love her and speak truth and grace…or just to sit beside her in the grief for awhile, in a safe place. A harbor from the stormy world. There is power…and healing in the willingness to enter in and tell the stories…and swim awhile with someone flailing in the dark, deep ocean of grief.
I am in love with the concept of Raising Generations Today. And, so honored to have been included in this beautiful gathering.
I met some amazing new friends…writers, speakers, mothers, lovers of Jesus. Real women.
When it came time for me to present my workshop, a few beautiful faces trickled in. There were maybe 10 of us in the room during the workshop. I am used to small groups, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. About 300 women were at this conference. Statistics say 25% of them have lost a child, but the baby loss topic is hard. And, if you’ve lost a child, it takes so much courage to willingly open that wound. I was grateful for the women who were courageous enough to step into my workshop and swim together in the sea of grief for awhile.
Afterward, most of the group followed me upstairs for a Heart to Heart session so they could share their stories with me, and each other. I hoped the tiny offering was some comfort. It never feels like enough to me. And, after, I struggled a bit…as I always do when finished speaking. Overanalyzing, wrestling with spiritual battles and my own flaws, second guessing.
I was wondering if September would be disappointed in my small turnout. She later shared with me some beautiful observations from the mothers who attended my workshop. Words that refuted the lie that numbers matter. Because to God, one heart…one soul…is worth everything. Worth giving His only Son in exchange for the salvation of that wounded soul. And, I remembered the truth. That my offering may be small. I may be small and so not famous, but God has shown me that there is immeasurable value in offering a safe place to tell the stories of brokenness and healing…to say the names the world seems to have forgotten…to honor brief lives…to hug mothers whose hearts carry a heaviness so deeply ingrained in their weary depths. To be allowed the privilege of serving as that willing vessel….well, there aren’t words for that.
God doesn’t care about quantity. He is much more interested in quality. He’s the kind of God that will leave the 99 to chase after the one broken soul.
My favorite part of the entire conference came from a beautiful woman featured on the Mom panel, named Traci, who oozes joy despite the brokenness she once came from. She oozes joy because she has been rescued and restored. When asked what she would say to another woman, walking in a place of brokenness, she confidently and boldly proclaimed truth that rang in deepest part of my woman soul:
“I don’t care who you’ve been or who you think you’ve been, you are intensely loved by Jesus.” ~ Traci Veek
What more needs to said than that?