The Relevant Conference can be broken down into three parts for myself.
First, joy. I immediately met many amazing women. I heard words of encouragement. I even won something from DaySpring. I was filled with joy as I waited for what the rest of the weekend would bring.
Second came tears. Something hit me early on Friday and I spent most of the day crying off and on. I will share some of it in a later post. However I can tell you that I had been pretending I didn't mind that G is deploying next year (I had, after all, encouraged him to go). But I already missed him, missed talking to him, missed sharing all the wonderful things going on with him.....and we had been apart less than a day. Six months? No way. And the fact that it isn't a choice made it even more difficult as I came to terms with how hard it is going to be. There is no asking him not to go. The day just kept getting better and better (please note the sarcasm). The conference did get better and better, but my day kept going down hill as one thing after another left my eyes red. Nothing bad, just things I really tend to avoid thinking about--- a difficult task when God is so present and telling you it's time to face them.
And then came hope. Hope that I can make this blog what I want. Hope that my marriage is going to be fine as we learn to communicate better. Hope that I was going to be okay no matter what storm came. We ended the conference in celebration, long talks late into the night, and hope for the future.
I needed this. I so, so needed this. I needed a weekend away. But more than anything I needed to really connect with women who see the world so similarly. Women who can be kinda crunchy. Women who love being women. Women who struggle. Women who daily try to remember to lay those struggles at the feet of God and stop being so hard on ourselves. The last night we listened to a phenomenal speaker, Ann Voskamp, and when she mentioned her husband saying something to her about a nasty case of perfectionism I knew what it meant. I, too, struggle with trying to have everything together and mentally beating myself up because of my life's mess. I needed to hear the words from these amazing women. I needed time in a place filled with God.
I wrote this post in my head after hearing Ann that last night. I had fought a headache as I tried to stay through her talk. After I went back and took a scalding hot shower, something I rarely do. I remember thinking, "This is bad for my skin, but good for my soul." That hot shower was the physical manifestation of my weekend. Something painful that led to goodness. I got out of that shower, went and sang, went and spoke to others who like me needed this.
I am so glad I went. I learned less about blogging that I thought I would (due partially to my missing a couple sessions to connect with other women) but more about my life. Hopefully there will be a Relevant11. I think a yearly break to focus less on life, more inwardly is a great thing. And the coming home made me even more glad as I greeted G with a smile, grabbed his hand and felt His hand in my hope.