When God Shows Up {Allumination, Part 1}

When God Shows Up {Allumination, Part 1}

I slid into the breakfast buffet line as it winded down. My roommate, Christine, jokingly entreated me to exercise caution with the coffee cream, as I had overshot with it the first time.

As she jested, a man slipped into line behind me, waiting for coffee. Men at Allume are few. By the jeans and tee he donned, I assumed him to be a husband of an attendee. I pushed my wonderings about his assessment of these 2 punchy girls dawdling in the buffet line out of my mind. I light-heartedly confessed my milk issues to him and thought nothing more of it.

Until minutes later when Allume Host Extraordinaire, Logan, called him up onstage to lead worship.

Earlier in the conference, we had the listening pleasure of The Voice contestant Anthony Evans…so I flushed with embarrassment as I leaned over to Christine and whispered, “Um…is he big?”

“Um, yes. I think so…” And that is how I confessed my milk issues to Tyrus Morgan.

He was followed by a powerhouse.

450 bloggy women munched on bacon, biscuits, and scrambled eggs as anti-human trafficking activist, Bianca Olthoff, took the stage. She won me over early with homeschooling humor, and then she got serious.

Bianca busted out a heavy-hitting dissection of the first half Ezekiel 37. You know, about the dry bones coming back to life?

She exhorted us to prophesy over the dead things in our lives, to allow God to unleash revival and refreshment…so that we may step into the role of freedom writers–so we can help breathe life into the desperation of others.

And then, in an impassioned tone, Bianca explained the feeling that God laid specific situations on her heart, to encourage women in the room that there is hope. That God is breathing life into theirs.

My breath ceased momentarily as she named two very specific situations with which I’ve been struggling.

Y’all…(Yes, that’s right. I just wrote y’all. After working with southerners for a year and spending a whole weekend with them, I can stifle it no longer.)

Y’all, this was a blogging conference. A Christian women’s blogging conference, yes. Still, I sat in the midst of 450 women, not discussing SEO, driving traffic, maintaining schedules, and guest posting. No, God used a feisty Latina, a keynote speaker, to shout hope to me from a stage, to breathe life back into me and revive my spirit.

She spoke confirmation for things I hoped in private but rarely dared to speak.

And I wept.

Did I mention that 450 women (and Tyrus Morgan) filled the room?

Tissue after tissue. Tears and snot. Shoulders shaking.

Then Bianca spontaneously decided that we should stand and sing 10,000 Reasons (my daughter’s favorite song).

More waterworks. I felt two hands on my shoulders, and someone patting my back.

I was too embarrassed to turn around until the hands on my shoulders enveloped me in a giant hug. I sobbed into her shoulder as the song ended. Looking up, I saw it was my sweet God-sized dreaming sister, Melissa, with my other roommate, Gindi, as backup. More dream girls soon joined us, and I heard…

I knew she was talking about you!

I looked around to find you as soon as I heard that!

That was for you, girl. Definitely.

I surveyed the love in their faces and gave Delonna a giant hug of my own.

Whereupon she broke out into the most beautiful spontaneous prayer about my worth and beauty and God’s love for me.

No ordinary blog conference….

This was community–done right.

Well done, Logan. Well done.

And, thank you.


  1. I love the peek inside your weekend!

    And this is the second time today in two different contexts/circles I’ve heard Tyrus Morgan’s name! :)
    Kristin Taylor recently posted..{Adoption} Cate’s storyMy Profile

  2. He answered, He showed up, He is so good! I love reading all these beautiful stories of answered prayers! Blessings my friend, I am so thrilled for you!
    Katharine Barrett recently posted..{Easy} Crock Pot Pork Chop Dinner…My Profile

  3. *tears* I am so glad you went and were able to be there and that God spoke to your heart and soul…. it’s just simply awesome!
    Stacey recently posted..What purse do you take shopping?My Profile

  4. Glad you’re not stifling that “y’all” any longer! It’s a healthy, inclusive word! :)

    Oh, Mandy, may God cause your hope to abound and to flourish. You are precious!

    Deb Weaver
    Deb Weaver recently posted..“Staying Out of the Ring of My Enemy, Regret”My Profile

  5. Ok. Now I am ugly crying just like I did that morning. I overshot the creamer too. That weekend was such a life changer for all of us and a deeper love and understanding came from it. And that song. The meaning that song has in my life now is not easy to explain. You are an amazing woman and I love you sweet sister.
    laura pratt recently posted..“Coming Home For Christmas”My Profile

  6. Mandi, YAY! These are the moments for which I prayed for y’all at Allume. These are very the praises I expected to hear when everyone got home. Behold how good and pleasant it is when sisters join to Praise Him.
    More, more…we need to hear more!
    Peace and good, sister,
    Chelle recently posted..Be Flawed…My Profile

  7. You got me all teared up as well and as you know …
    I was not there with y’all :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Well sometimes you have to tell good ol’ Tyrus your milk problems! Ha!! What a beautiful post about most amazing morning!!

  9. I am so blessed to be able to wrap arms around you. Thank you for inviting me in, walking with me, holding me, shepherding me, and just loving me. You are worthy and you are being used: even in all this brokenness.
    Melissa Ann recently posted..The Jenkins Family Take Two: Authentic Documentary Family Photography Greenville SCMy Profile

  10. I know that moment and I immediately thought of you too. God showed up in that moment for me too (in a completely different way that I will be blogging about next week) but wow…that moment. it was such a God moment.
    Aprille @beautifulinhistime.com recently posted..Write more, edit more, publish less {takeaways from #allume}My Profile

    • I am so thrilled to hear this, Aprille! As you can tell, I am quite behind on Allume follow-up, but I look forward to reading that post. Aprille, your thoughtfulness really touched me. Thanks for thinking of me and praying for me. I so appreciate you passing along that song, too. Praying for you as you press forward post-Allume.
      Mandy recently posted..She’s in There Somewhere {Allumination, Part 2}My Profile

  11. Delonna @ Clothed in Love says:

    Beautiful post – you had me laughing, crying and feeling loved all at the same time. Can’t wait to read the second part :) God is restoring us all. Honored to be a part of the journey.

  12. Mandy, you have a way with words!! I feel like I was there! I’m so thrilled to hear some amazing pieces to what God did in and through you and others!!! Love how He meets our needs;) love you!!!!

  13. Mandy, beautiful, just beautiful! You went- God filled and brought life!

  14. YES!! When she spoke I too looked for you…I remember thinking she was speaking right to you!! So so amazing to be a part of that!! Love you girl!
    Kristin Smith recently posted..Look At MeMy Profile

  15. It’s so good to know that there were so many others doing the “ugly cry” as we stood there and worshipped. Thank goodness for roommates who brought welcome gifts of kleenex. :-)

    Like you, I love that we were so overwhelmed and undone by so much that wasn’t the mechanics of blogging. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You made me tear up just remembering the unbelievable community joy of the weekend!
    Kim recently posted..Discovering Joy: Turning neuroses into new roses Pt 1My Profile


  1. [...] Y’all.  (Yep, there it is again.) [...]

  2. [...] dear friend Melissa turns 30 this month, and she has cooked up something fun. She wants to “pay it forward” [...]

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