He Gives in Abundance

He Gives in Abundance

The kids were packed and settled at Grammy and Pa’s house.

My sister-in-law checked me in at Delta online.

My brother shuttled me to Detroit Metro. Walked me through printing my boarding pass and checking my bag.

I braved security.

And then I waited, parked at the gate. Thrilled for the adventures to be had on this particular weekend.

I took advantage of this long awaited quiet time to gather some words. How would I present myself? Convey who I am and what my online words are all about?

And then a woman scooted into the seat next to me.

“What waits for you in Harrisburg?” she questioned.

I paused, unsure how much to reveal. “I’m going to a writing conference.”

“Oh, Allume?” she said.

And, uncharacteristically, I squealed, patted her leg, and exclaimed, “Yes! You, too? Oh, how exciting!”

My first connection!

She inquired, friendly, of my goals for the weekend.

I beamed, and poured from deep inside about my anticipation of  heart experiences, soul connections, and God at work. I admitted it was not so much professional this time, despite my desire to grow as a writer. We spoke of Facebook and Mastermind groups.

I asked, “And you? What do you hope to get from this weekend?”

She responded, “Well, I am a publisher from Zondervan, and I am going to see if there are writers who match our vision.”

I just admitted to a publisher (unknowingly) that I was not seeking professional advancement this weekend.

Yet, the Lord placed His purpose on my heart, and a book deal was not it.

So, Sandy from Zondervan and I, we flew on the same plane to Harrisburg. And we had a pleasant exchange at the baggage claim about Lysa TerKeurst, Renee Swope, Ann Voskamp, Lisa-Jo Baker, and The Nester. And I was OK with that.

It turns out I had heard Him clearly. In keeping with His timing on nudging me to write about community, the Lord rained it down on me like never before. The first night was every bit as amazing as I anticipated.

I was jumping out of my skin to meet my roommate, Tobi from Favored One. Our hearts were already joined in the world online and by one lengthy phone call. Tobi is a post in herself–I know without a doubt that God put us together this weekend.

That one relationship itself would have made this trip worthwhile.

But our God? When He gives, He gives in abundance.

And Thursday evening was filled with squeals of joy and recognition, on my part and that of others. The fabulous women whom I have built friendships with online–they were here, in the flesh, with words of encouragement and hope…and chocolate and caramel corn.

We are Allume’s Better Writers Facebook Group. And what you need to know about these women is this: it is rare to find such love and acceptance. We spent the weekend like long-lost friends, sharing laughs and concerns. Not second-guessing any word spoken or its reception. Knowing we could slide into an empty seat next to each other at meals or a session. Sharing the understanding of the weight of words like SEO, migration, ebooks, plug-ins, and broken links.

The remainder of the weekend was a dance between being filled to overflowing and drained beyond belief.

I was not prepared for the wrestles and disappointments that accompanied the joy.

I learned who I was and who I was not.

For instance, I am no great lover of Twitter. I know, bloggers. It is the new frontier of marketing.

And yet. Phenomenal speakers stod up at a podium, words of life and truth pouring from them. I surveyed a room full of 400+ mighty women…consumed with their phones. Tweeting. And I couldn’t help but think: Might we pause the promotion? Instead of seeking tweets, might we just be–in God’s presence? In the presence of our beloved sisters? Might we be filled by seeking the face of God…and pouring into the body of Christ, those precious women whom we’ve waited months to do just this?

I was not prepared for soul topics to hit so close to home.

I was not prepared for the nudge to consider writing more on the deep, dark, wounded parts of my story. The wrestle.

I was not prepared enough for discrepancy between online personae and in-person ones.

And so, to be honest, every moment wasn’t amazing. Some were hard.

But it was worth it.

The official festivities ended with this:

An imperfect picture, yes. But I cherish it, just as I do the ones taken with each precious sister on the weekend.

The official festivities have ended, but I know His work has just begun. And I can’t wait to see it.

* * *

If you haven’t checked out the blogs of the Better Writers, you’re missing out!

Zohary from Raising the Rosses

Becky from Daye by Daye

Lizzie from Kairos Coaching

Katharine from Just a Thought

Debi from Funki Planet

Shannon from Arranged by God

Lisa from Little Writer Momma

Tereasa from His Pen on My Heart

Nancy from Words from the Home Front

Donna from City Chick in the Country

Tammy from Tickled Pink Tammy

Lani from Fresh Flowers

Julie from Whimsical Words

Did I miss anyone? Please leave a link in the comments.

Linked, with gratitude, to:
WIPWednesday



Comments

  1. Loved this post!!! And I am no fan of twitter either!!! It frustrates me more than it helps me. Thank you for your sweet and kindred spirit at Allume. I pray that God will and guide you as you share more of your story. xoxo

    • Thanks, Lizzie! Non-twitter-ninjas unite:) I wish we could have spent even more time together at Allume, but I am grateful for the upside of social media: growing the relationships online.

  2. Mandy. You have me in tears. This is so beautifully written, and so very true. I am still sifting so many things, the beautiful and the hard, and I am so glad I have God to walk through it with me.
    Katharine Barrett recently posted..Allume Tapestry…My Profile

    • Oh, Katharine! Thank you! I truly feel so blessed to call you friend, and how sweet it is that we had Allume to meet in person, finally! I am eager to hear and see how He works in you through what happened at Allume.

  3. Mandy, this is beautiful and perfect! Good for you for keeping your mind focused on God’s intention for you for the weekend. I would have been tempted to try to change His purpose to fit mine after I saw all the “possibilities” out there. I am still chasing approval instead of Him in so many ways. I am so happy you had a fulfilling experience!!
    Brenda @TripleBraided recently posted..Who are We Missing?My Profile

    • Thank you, Brenda! I fumbled many things, but He gave me grace to hold firm on this one:) I think we all crave that deep knowing and acceptance–some just mask it more. I pray He wraps you in the deep embrace of His unconditional love and provides you with the in the flesh friendships to love you too!

  4. Sounds amazing, Mandy!! What a wonderful experience. Love to see how He works. So happy for you!
    Jennifer {StudioJRU} recently posted..inspired art prints. {31 days}My Profile

    • It was amazing, Jennifer, and I am still processing! He works mighty and beautiful things. Thanks for sharing in my joy!

  5. Yay for caramel corn! And for new friends and for hearing God’s voice. I can’t wait to read what He has laid on your heart. You are the best twin a girl could ever have. Xoxoxo
    Debi recently posted..SPECIAL ALLUME LINK UP!!! – Frequent Flier ClubMy Profile

    • Debi, thank you! I am so blessed to know you. It’s so awesome that we had the “in real life”/in person time at Allume to enrich what was grown online. Blessings. Love your do!

  6. Mandy, love your post…your honesty, daring to be REAL…and I’m no fan of Twitter either! Looking forward to following your story!

    • Woo-hoo! I must admit, I am heartened to hear that it is not just me who has a twitter issue:) Thanks so much for stopping in here and for your kind words. You are welcome here always, and I look forward to you tuning in:) Blessings!

  7. Love you, girl! I’m so captivated by your heart.
    Oh what God can do through you…
    so glad to know you’re leaning in close enough to hear His whispers of what He has in store.

    and someday, you and I….we’ll take a snapshot. :)
    Nikki recently posted..Hallowed Be Thy Name {Thoughts on Halloween}My Profile

    • Aw, love you too:) Thank you for taking the time to write here. Yes, He’s holding me close through thick and thin!

      I am looking forward to that snapshot. Maybe I will talk you into a trip to Michigan this summer;)

  8. Thanks for sharing this, Mandy. It’s a great reminder that blogging does not come easily for many. There are a lot of wrestling matches behind the screens, as we struggle to write honestly and to follow God’s leading. Neat how you met Sandy, yet didn’t feel the need to back pedal and impress her, as you were confident in God’s direction for you in this moment.

    I hope to meet my fellow ‘Better Writers’ in person someday soon. Blessings to you!

    • Hi Sabrina! I’m so glad you stopped in here. Welcome! Blogging is a complicated thing, for sure. I know I stumbled through some things at Allume, but somehow, God gave me grace enough to hear him when speaking to Sandy. I’m praising Him for that. I hope to meet you in person, too! Blessings, better writer!

  9. What a great weekend, Mandy! How I wish I could’ve gone, and like Sabrina — hoping to meet my fellow ‘Better Writers’ in RL soon.
    Thanks for sharing your reflections, especially about Twitter. I love it, but share the same conviction that you do — Just BE STILL AND KNOW for a minute :)
    Susan recently posted..Why I’m not worried about the electionMy Profile

    • Hi Susan! Welcome home:) I pray He held you close during your time in Belize. I would LOVE to meet in RL some time. Yes, be still and know. Love that!

  10. Oh Mandy! I love your post and I loved meeting you. Thanks for sharing your heart and I am so glad I’m not the only one who is not a huge twitter fan. Blessings my friend!
    Zohary recently posted..Back from AllumeMy Profile

  11. Likewise! So good to have another non-twitter-ninja to commiserate with:) What a blessing last weekend was. So great to have met you!

  12. Mandy, This conference sounds wonderful. I wished I could have gone. I love your last picture. I would have been thrilled to meet some of those women. :) So glad you had a good time.

  13. Hi Colleen! Thanks for stopping in here. It was a wonderful conference, and I was so blessed to have a few minutes with Ann. She was so gracious and thoughtful. Please stop back any time:) Blessings!
    Mandy recently posted..Allume EucharisteoMy Profile

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  1. [...] sweet soul connection initiated by our God, and forged through late-into-the-night girl talk at Allume, prompted us to leave a weekend spent together with a promise: prayer, support, encouragement, and [...]

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