I got home on Sunday. It's Tuesday night now.
I'm not sure how all of my feelings are feeling which may mean that I shouldn't be writing yet, but here I sit in front of a mocking blank screen.
Filled up but not overflowing after attending the Faith and Culture Writers Conference in Portland, OR again this year. Eventually, I know I will have to exhale... to breathe on my own again and to 'feel all of my feelings and see how we're doing' as Jen Hatmaker would say. But I'm not letting my bossy schedule rush the process.
So I sit... staring down this blinking cursor, wondering "What. is. the. deal y'all?"
Honestly, I'm still not sure. Something.
The deal is something.
It's part confirmation and part challenge.
It's part Hallelujah and part Holy Crap.
It's part what I expected, and part I had no idea.
It's a deep work, and I refuse to hurry it up.
Instead, I am trying to give it a little space and room to breathe on its' own.
It feels like some things are dying... but new life is rising up to take its' rightful place!
To be honest, that sort of scares me. So it just figures that I am headed out to Jumping Tandem in about two weeks, because of course! Maybe that is where it will all come together and I will know... or at least get a glimpse... of what it all means.
For now, I could tell you how awesomely incredible Faith and Culture was... and that would be true and Truth and it always is! It is stretching and welcoming and inclusive and full of my people - some of whom I knew were mine ahead of time, and some of whom I didn't have a clue... but this conference, more than any other I have attended - this conference sets the table and invites everyone in and we find that, for real, we are one Body and one Bride and we are brothers and sisters and we are so for each other that it is breathtaking... it is heaven on earth... it is Kingdom and this - this is why He came, and this is why I go.
I could tell you all of that.
Or I could tell you of all the people that came close, poured out, hugged hard, prayed into, and lifted up... all of the speakers and session leaders, the volunteers and the worship team - every person who rolled up sleeves and worked behind the scenes and in front of a mic and made it seem flawless and, well --easy. I could name drop... I could do that.
But while I know I took pages and pages of notes and yet not one selfie with my tribe, and I know that I tweeted all the one liners and the messages seeped down deep, at this point - I only truly know one thing!
Just one thing that I see fruit from already... and if this is all I get to know that I know... Sweet Jesus - it is enough!
The main thing that I know for sure at this point is this little (read: big) thing that happened off to the side in the pre-conference mini-workshop. It kept unfolding through out the weekend, and God kept connecting dots and shifting things around and by the time I got back home, it all led to a conversation that is even now reverberating Healing and Grace back through the years and oh my goodness, who gets the credit for that other than God?
Through out the conference the messages all overlapped and rang out: Your story matters! Every speaker said it clear that we must know who we are and write from our true identity, use our own voice.
This is my passion and my heart and I believe this with all of my being. This is my message and purpose.
But here's the deal:
We always only know in part.
We are all still becoming... so we are all still learning who we are because if we are still here sucking in air, we are still a work in progress and He is still at work in us and through us making us into who He created and intended for us to be.
We can think that we know who we are and we can have a pretty good grasp on that, but our God is so in love with us. What He is always wanting for us is more freedom. More... not less. And sometimes we don't even know that we are bound... or that we are repeating a cycle that carries a heavy weight, that breaks and binds and bends down low.
But He is the burden bearer and the One who breaks the chains... He is the One who lifts us up, not bogs us down.
He is the One who sets us free and sets our feet to dancing.
He is the One who connects the dots and opens hearts to healing... all on the road to freedom... all on the road to becoming more and more who He made us to be!
Check back in a day or two for Part Two, as I write out what it was specifically that He revealed and how it is unfolding and raining down Glory that is doing a deeper work... how at first glance, from this side of healing, it seemed like no big deal. However, anything that repeats itself in tying us down or holding us back... anything that can build a wall or create a gap... well-- the shadows of Grace both tear down and build up as the Son is beckoning us to dance in to Freedom. We all have a Freedom dance inside of us, and He is reaching out for us to just. start. moving!
Until then, remember to:
P.S. I'm linking up with these lovely writers:
The Community over at #Small Wonders
Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday
19 hours ago