Thursday, October 18, 2012

influence is real.

i have been staring at this blank page for days now not knowing how to write my influence conference recap. there are not enough words to explain or describe my experience. the Lord was present. very present and near during the entire thing.
friendships were built and grown. Jesus was glorified. my heart is full.
upon entering into the gorgeous sheraton hotel, my legs were shaking. part of it being from the horrible accident we witnessed on our way down [praise God both people involved were okay]. but the biggest reason was because i was about to enter into a room of 200 other women not knowing a. single. one. this was a big step for me. a really big step. i always considered myself an extrovert until that moment. but the Lord walked with me every step of the way [along with my amazing roommates after i almost had a melt down.. okay - so i did have a mini meltdown]. i am so incredibly thankful for the roommates i had. i was able to be open and honest with them about my insecurities from the beginning and let them  know i needed them otherwise i would be calling up my husband to come pick me up. [and i am so very thankful i didn't end up driving alone. i probably wouldn't have made it ya'll..]
see? the Lord was with me. he knew exactly what i needed - and he provided!

i will be honest, i didn't reach out to many people that first night. it was hard for me. i tried to get the courage, but i froze. most people had to come up to me; which i am also very grateful for. once the first night was over, the next morning got easier. i started recognizing more faces and it was easier to say hi. if i didn't say hi to you, or if i ignored you - i am so incredibly sorry. i was so insecure myself that i chickened out of saying 'hello' to many people i thought i would meet. it's nothing against you, i promise. the sessions and lunches allowed me to meet a couple new more faces and exchange business cards as well. each one got easier with time, but i still left feeling like there were so many faces and people i wish i would have had the opportunity to connect with.

God did amazing things in my heart that weekend. he showed me my influence - he opened my eyes to a lot of hurt, desires, dreams, baggage i have that i need to explore. he showed me where my heart is and where it isn't.

jami was one of the speakers and oh my word did the Lord use her. she struck a cord so deep in me i cried. and i cried hard. it was amazing. the Lord broke me - Jesus revealed himself to me. God is being glorified through her, through her marriage, through their story. she spoke straight gospel, she stressed that we need it every day, and she's so right. her session left me reflecting on where my heart is. 'we are an active pursuit of what our hearts worship.' - jami nato.
jessi was another speaker. friends, she is wonderful. so wonderful. her heart is so precious. you can see the Spirit in her. i am so thankful that she listened to me saturday evening. i am more than appreciative that she took that time to talk to me and even invited me to email her and visit[!!]. it meant the world to me - especially from my first night of fears thinking no one wanted to talk with me, like - really talk with me. jessi posed the question that has been imprinted in my mind since... 'who is louder... _____ or Jesus?' in everything i do.. does it scream me, or him?

i have influence. you have influence. we all have influence.
my prayer is that i don't lose sight of that. i pray that i will never stop being influenced by God so i can continue to influence others to the gospel. to a relationship with God. a God that is real. a God that is near and dear. a God that loves his children immensely. to the One who laid down his life so that we may live. the One who bled so we don't have to.
i came to the conference knowing and expecting that it was going to be rewarding but i had no idea how much bigger and better it was really going to be. so much i already bought my ticket for next year and i am so thrilled to see how the Lord is going to bless it!

these women are real. their hearts are real. the internet is real. influence is real. Jesus is real!
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6 comments:

  1. Lovely post! I found you via Instagram because you were tagged in some of my favorite bloggers influence conference photos. I'm so happy I did, I've read through your blog and its truly a blessing!

    Sarah
    sweetnessoflaughter.blogspot.com

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  2. I LOVE this post-so real and beautiful! Wish I would have gotten a chance to meet you, but being my introvert self, I'm not one to go up to people I don't know and start talking. The conference was a bit of an overwhelming experience, but I am so glad I went and hope to go again next year. Hopefully we can meet then! :)

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  3. How amazing!!!! I am thrilled that God encountered you in a new way that weekend!!! (: (: (:
    You have great influence!!!

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  4. I loved reading this and hearing your heart and reading about your experience!! Praise God, what a blessing!

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  5. I love you, Jennifer! I never could have guessed that you are insecure. Being in your company made me feel more secure. Praises to Jesus, eh? :)

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  6. This gives me so much hope. I am such an introvert and there are days when I feel like the Internet has been a blessed technology in my life, allowing me the ability to connect with people I would've otherwise never met. I cannot imagine how much harder it would be, though, to connect with people in person in a split second, when you are alone in a room. I've heard about #influenceconference before but didn't know much about it, but it sounds wonderful. Especially because you know you're all coming together for this same thing, caring about the same values, and yet you are so very different. I tend to believe stepping out of your comfort zone is both exhilarating and terrific and difficult, yes, but so worth it. Sounds like you found that to be the case.

    What amazes me is that there are so many women I have yet to meet who are just beautiful inside and out and are growing and connecting together.

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