This past Saturday I was blessed with the timely opportunity to attend the Gather Rise Conference in Surry, B.C. I was going by myself and nervous as I could be since I had never been to anything like this before. I was stepping out of my comfort zone but Hubby and I were here already and had planned and extended our trip so I could go.
The women speakers at this conference rallied from across Canada to bring us their story and their words of God-given wisdom. Each one of them was special and I was truly blown away. God showed himself in that space that day. As we all gathered to praise him and learn from each other-it was truly beautiful!
The original reason I had learned about the conference at all was by following Ann Voskamp's instagram feed. She mentioned it and was going to be their headline speaker there. Her book, One Thousand Gifts, was the way God gave me my first step out of the dark after Our Girl's diagnosis of leukemia back in 2010. Her words were kind, heartfelt and real. She was a modern "Jane Austen" in my opinion. I know some can find her too wordy, but now after reading that initial book 4 times over, I take away a new God-given insight into my relationship with him each time. It has peeled back the layers one by one and helped me to have hope and trust when I had none.
She spoke at 11 a.m. that day, and when she walked in, I will admit, I was fan-girling a little! Okay- A lot! But as she began to give her message to this room of 700 women, she surprised me! Having never heard hear live before, she was so engaging and energized! Her online videos and such are always very soft spoken, humble, and she seems very shy. So this power house was not what I expected but even better! She was truly on Fire for the Lord God and the call for us as His people to be Easters to this world. To go out of what is safe and give. Give everything we have for Him and in the giving then allowing God to fill us back up so that we can continue to give and shine for His amazing gift and promises.
After this we went to lunch and a while later Ann Voskamp walked into the room to stand with the women at the Compassion table. (Compassion is an organization that helps children around the world through our sponsoring children.) I was sitting with some of the amazing women I had become instant friends with in the front row that morning, who prompted me to go and talk to her. So off I went nervous and really unsure of what to say.
She was so soft, gentle, and humble. She even began to cry as I told her the story we had come through and how God had used her as a beautiful instrument in my way back to him and the love that he had for me. She asked me "Can we get a selfie?" and I of course said yes and she signed a brochure for me as I'd left all my books at home. It was one moment I think I will cherish for a lifetime. I was and am so thankful for that opportunity.