Do you believe God ordains blessed meetings of people, who have the same intentions, seeking after His heart? To pull together a group of like-minded women and/or men to love on and support each other in the great and hard times in His name?
In the past I suppose I may have thought that believers tended to over spiritualize something like this… Until I went to Hope Spoken this past spring.
Beautiful Teressa and I had met in fall of 2013 at the Influence Conference several months before Hope Spoken. We had been talking about this conference that was beautifully orchestrated through a God-inspired dream of three incredible women: Danielle, Casey, and Emily. T and I were encouraging each other to pray over our apprehension and unknown fears of stretching ourselves in this way and for finances to be provided in order to go. In amazing ways, our Great Provider did just that (an entirely different post on the ways He provided) and as I look back now, I truly in my heart believe this group of eight women was orchestrated by our Maker. Not because we deserved it. Not because we are special or because we were "due for a blessing" of such magnitude, but I believe it may have been because of the mutual prayer in our hearts to embrace His Truth like never before, to have an incredibly community to glean wisdom from during this season of pregnancy, and simply because His love is incomprehensibly larger than life.
Our beyond generous friend Ruthie and her husband did the work on an earthly realm of connecting us by offering to put all of us up in Dallas/Fort Worth Texas for this two day conference that would ultimately encourage us, break us, and change our lives forever. Upon arrival, we realized that 5 of the 8 of us were expecting sweet babes within weeks of one another and those not expecting were full of brilliant motherly wisdom and midwifery experience. Coincidence? I should dare say not. We instantly connected. No cattiness, no comparison. Just Love, Truth, and Hope were spoken. It's certainly no coincidence that the name of the conference (Hope Spoken) ultimately became the theme in our daily lives in the form of text messages for months upon months to follow...even until today. I have tears just thinking of the thousands of conversations we have had during this short journey so far and my soul is blessed to see where He takes us. All because God provided and we said YES to taking a step outside our comfort zones.
As our team group texted yesterday morning...especially about the impending birth of Heathers baby (due TODAY) I was blown out of the water. As a first time expecting mama (of course in addition to the unending support of my incredible family, our inspiring life group from home, and our loyal lifelong friends) I don't know where I would be without the support of this community. They have pushed me, encouraged me, and have inspired me towards the type of mother I hope to be and I adore each of them beyond words description.
I cannot say enough about these inspiring women, but just a glimpse into what each of them mean to me specifically and the first thoughts that come to mind:
Amanda - Beautiful women of truth, who constantly seeks His authority in all she does. Has a passion to encourage every woman she meets for His namesake. She isn't afraid to be raw, real, and completely honest. I adore this in her and so do a multitude of others! She loves her husband and baby boy fiercely and let's be real, girl has hair that won't quit… Absolutely stunning. Her Story HERE.
Heather - Truly one of the most gentle, genuine, and loving spirits around. Adoring wife and tender mama of precious Eden and another sweet babe on the way! Beautiful inside hand out, with talent coming out of her ears… But doesn't even know it. The moment you meet her you are captivated by grace and the Holy Spirit inside her. I love her to pieces and connected with her the moment we met! Her Story Here.
Katie - An absolute darling, bubbly, live-life-to-the-full woman after God's heart. Loves her husband and baby girl with all she has, and her honesty and open heart is something I wish to aspire to. She has God-sized dreams that I adore watching come true and a smile that could brighten anyone's day. Her Story Here.
Lauren - Incredibly gentle spirit with a sense of humor that will slay you. Humble and patient wife and mama of two sweet girls. Constantly thinking of others, she always has her eyes open to the ways God is working around her and everyone she meets is blessed. Beyond beautiful and the minute you meet her, you cannot help but be completely engaged with her warm and loving spirit. Her Story Here.
Lisa - Genuine, loving wife, who truly craves to watch those around her bloom and reach their absolute potential. She inspires me daily. Encourager, loyal and beautiful friend. Always quick with a word of love and thoughts of true wisdom. Her Story Here.
Ruthie - Mama bear beauty who wants to give you the world the minute she meets you. Incredible mother to Ford and loving wife! She daily seeks God's Truth and Will for her life in the multitude of connections that God has given her to minister in. Also, stunningly beautiful in all ways...She is connecting hearts and lives in ways she doesn't even realize and always does it with a smile and open heart. Her Story Here.
Teresa - Servants heart, pastors wife, and wonderful mama to Harrison and brand new baby Jane, who inspires everyone around her to not only to live healthy spiritually, but mentally and physically as well. We connected the moment we met and I have adored her ever since. Watching her have her second baby just a week ago, I have fallen more in love with her beautiful, soft spirit and her capacity to take on the armor of God, even in the most difficult of circumstances. I was also lucky enough to take her photo captures for her bio on her blog. Her Story Here.
(Heather B and Jackie were also our wonderful roommates. Both women made an Immense impact on my life in the short time we spent together and I enjoy following them every day on Instagram! Sadly, we were not able to connect via text when they returned to Canada, but we love and adore them just the same!!)
So, Why do I write this?
In part because my heart is soaring that such friendships can and do exist in our lives and I am beyond thankful and bursting with joy. In part because I desire to pass on the Hope that if we come to Him with open hands, He listens and provides immeasurably. But mostly, to share the Truth that in God's gracious nature, He meets all of our needs, even when we are not even sure what our needs are yet. I yearn to share this Truth that when God calls us, even when it's intimidating… Saying YES can yield more blessings than we can possibly imagine.
In my heart I have been a mother since the conception of this child I currently carry… And I have been thankful for every day that I have gleaned wisdom from the women in my life prior to our girl's arrival. Because it's never too early to prepare for parenthood...
Had God not provided these women, I would still be praising Him. But this extra blessing of wisdom and grace has changed my heart and I look at our future and smile. Praising God for so many of the wise women he has put into my life both locally and around the country, as I am well aware this journey is not one I can do alone.
He reminds me daily that it is not an option… It is a MUST that I continually step outside of my comfort zone.
That I crave to be stretched in ways I am fearful of...
And, that I constantly say YES to His call.