The past few weeks of my life have been a complete whirlwind! I am finally back home from all my travels and my heart is so ready to share with you all about the Influence Conference!
For those of you who don't know about Influence Network, it is a Christian women's online network. For the past few years the network has put on a creative women's conference in Indy. On New Years Eve this year I decided to take the leap and buy a ticket. I decided that 2015 was the Year of the Lord and that this was going to be the year where I watched God work mightily in my life.
Let's just say, so far I have not been let down.
At some point the week of the conference I realized it marked the two year anniversary since my world came crashing down. The irony that this was the same exact weekend I simply cannot believe as coincidence. I'm going to share what I wrote in my journal following the conference, because I don't think I really need to come up with new words for it, even if I could:
Wow! This weekend was amazing! I feel so incredibly blessed.
This weekend marked two years exactly since everything began to fall apart. To be honest, I wasn't sure I'd make it through two years or even one year or even six months. Things were hard and dark and so incredibly painful.
I did the best I could though some days that wasn't enough to keep friends by my side. Most days turned into many days which turned into fewer and fewer days where I wanted to give up my life. But it didn't happen in any sort of quickness at all.
Some days I trusted God whole heartedly. Other days I stopped pursuing Him and lived in resentment instead. Some days I poured out my heart to others and other days I couldn't leave the house.
I had a lot of quiet days alone. One night where I laid on the ground in a cemetery, reflecting on the irony that I was pleading to die among those who would plead for another breath. I prayed to God and saw a shooting star fall across the sky as I asked for God to make me a husband who would love God more than he loved me.
I have had moments of sheer terror. Panic attacks so bad my hands became stiff as plywood. Where I had to be met in a parking lot to calm down because it hurt so bad to breathe that I thought I would have a heart attack. Let's not forget the time more recently where a friend had to pick up take-out instead of me because the last time I went there I saw something that caused me to shrink back into darkness.
None of these hard moments are lost on me. That is why it is so great to say that this weekend I've been changed. I honestly didn't expect to be so changed but I totally was.
See, this conference spoke some incredible God truths over my life. Those that reminded me I don't have to fight for any kind of worth, because my worth is rooted in Jesus. Though I've always known this to be true, I didn't know it like I do now. I learned how to trust in God whole heartedly and rest in what Jesus has already done for me. (And how I don't have to do anything more to earn His love or to be worthy of being called His). I was reminded to speak truth over myself and that I should be taking every single thought captive.
Make it obedient to Christ.
But perhaps what tipped the needle was this...
I was known. By people I didn't expect to recognize me. I was seen by friends and they spoke truth and life into my heart. I was sought after by people I didn't expect to want to seek me.
Lately my prayer has been to see signs of Gods love for me. I've literally been seeing hearts everywhere. But this weekend, I saw that love in so many places. And when I was tired and weary and starting to feel defeated that's when I was reminded that the battle has already been won!
The more I talked about how much God changed me these past few years - the more I realized just how free I am now. My eyes were opened and I learned some new things about myself:
- I'm not shy or as socially anxious as I used to be.
- I have so much more love to pour out and the more I hugged people, the more I wanted to do it again and again.
- I'm able to be much more open with others than I used to be.
- I'm able to take criticism in a healthier way and let it grow me instead of letting it condemn me.
- I still have so much life to live!
- Mostly, I am a daughter of the Most High God and my worth and identity rest solely in this!
Honestly, so many awesome truths poured into my heart and I was able to receive them. I may have cried a few good tears during worship as we sang. I didn't care who was in that room. I didn't care if people with hundreds or thousands of followers looked at me and I didn't give thought to what they may think of me. In the final moments of worship it was just me and God and a whole lot of thankfulness. My heart was free and open and ready. Ready now to live out that great commissioning. I'm so thrilled to be back home. I'm anxious (in the best way possible) to see where God leads me and how I may be used for His glory right where I am.
My life is in your hands, I trust it all, I trust it all to you. My dreams and all my plans, I trust it all, I trust it all. Forever I'm changed, I'll never be the same, because of your love, because of you Jesus. // brett stanfill, trust it all.
It's been a long two years, but praise God because He is the author of beautiful redemption stories! If you told me two years ago that in this present time I'd be attending a Christian women's conference and leaning on God for all my strength, I probably would have thought you were smoking something funny! It's truly amazing to see how much God has changed me and how abundantly He has blessed me. I want to talk more about this but I'm going to save it for next time. I leave you with lots of photos from the conference!