For the past two years I have had the privileged of going to the Created for Care conference in Atlanta. The mini sessions provided allow me to work on my skill set needed as an adoptive mom, the main sessions provided an opportunity for God to pour much needed refreshment into my soul and the camaraderie of being with like-hearted women; ones who know the song in my heart, sing it with me when I'm weary and dance alongside me when I'm rejoicing... well, that is just too precious for words.
But this year, going to Atlanta seemed impossible. That's where our story ended... where we left the one who would always hold part of our hearts behind. Panic ensued when I waited to board the plane; how could I return to the place where my heart broke. With encouragement from my fabulous husband and from friends who are all too familiar with the pain of loss, I boarded the plane, didn't create too much of a scene and the flight took off.
On a side note, if you watch Friends you'll laugh with me. I was completely envisioning a missing right phalange episode with how much my anxiety was overwhelming sure. Surely the discreet airplane marshal was more than aware of my presence on that plane.
But I made it to Atlanta and safely into the arms of friends who were waiting for me.
This beautiful lodge was waiting for us. You think adoption conference and think conference style hotel... but Created for Care treats us like royalty and brings us to this beautiful resort to refresh and reconnect.
The extraordinary view I woke up to each morning. Seriously who goes away for a conference and has such a beautiful view.
The company is definitely a highlight of the conference. Some of the most amazingly faithful and beautiful women in my life gathered together at one place. The Lord has surely blessed me with magnificent friends during this adoption journey.
|Thankful that God placed these beautiful roommates in my path this year.|
|My friend Marlisa; shining light of God.|
|Heather gets my heart and loves me still!|
|Hope is our anchor. This girl is amazing!|
|My soul sister, Jen! No words necessary.|
|Adoption mama's always wear each other's t-shirts.|
|Super amazing girls who's faithfulness encourages me every day.|
I could write for hours the wisdom the speakers impressed on my life and the truths God pressed on my hearts during this weekend away. Instead I'll share something that Beth Guckenburger shared her first night speaking: the story isn't over yet. Just the day before as I arrived in Atlanta my mind was overwhelmed by the way our story ended here in Atlanta. And while there will always be grief over losing our girl last July, our story didn't end there. Even when we can't see, even when we can't feel it or fathom to believe it our story is continuing on. It is being written in ways we can't even imagine; there will be highs, lows and chapters left unfinished.
But it is not over.
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the women were given no time to pack up their homes, their lives just moments to gather themselves and leave.
But Miriam, she packed a tambourine.
When the Pharaoh chased after them and they were greeted by the Red Sea, the story could have been over.
But it wasn't.
When the Red Sea parted and Moses led the Israelites across, Pharoah and his soldiers were close behind. Safely on the other side, the walls of the sea fell back down and swept the Pharoah and his people away.
The story could have been over then. But it wasn't.
Instead of being over, Miriam brought out her tambourine and began praising the Lord.
Miriam brought her tambourine, not out of necessity but out of hope.
Hopeful expectation that the Lord would come through.
And He does.
The story may not look the way you expected it.
But it's not over.
Tambourines at the ready.