Monday, October 24, 2011

Women of Faith

This past weekend, I was blessed to have the opportunity to attend the Women of Faith Imagine Tour with friends and family, and it truly was a transforming weekend!  We were awesomely blessed to have great seats on the floor, which was a surprise that came only a week before the conference when someone from WOF called to tell me that they had changed my seats from the second deck (can anybody say "nosebleeds"?!) to floor seating.  Thank You God! :)

This is their jumbo-tron that hung directly above the stage.

The best thing about this Women of Faith conference is that I had the privilege of sharing it with people that I love!  I was joined by my mom (Sharon), my step-sister (Angela), my sister (Tanya), my friend (Trish) and my sweet blogging friend (Kristin) and her mom (Kathy) who I was able to meet for the very first time in real life this weekend!
From left to right: Angela, mom (Sharon), Tanya, me, Trish, Kristin and Kathy.

The event started out with Sheila Walsh, who I have decided is absolutely my new best friend (though she isn't aware of this yet!)!  She is so hilarious and she knows how to reach right to your heart with the message of God's amazing love.  One of her first talks was about the importance of God's peace in our lives and my favorite quote from that talk was that "peace is not the absence of trouble, it is the presence of Christ."  Talk about a powerful statement!

Sheila was followed by Dr. Henry Cloud who is easily my favorite Christian psychologist!  He talked about the importance of happiness in our lives and how very intentional we have to be to choose happiness.  He said that only 10% of our happiness comes from anything circumstantial.  Holy cows!  That means that 90% comes from within and from the choices I make.  It really opened my eyes to the fact that I truly am responsible for the way I choose to feel and that it is my own decision whether or not to choose happiness.  I chose to buy his book "The Law of Happiness" and I can't wait to dive in and read it!

We had several breaks where I actually remembered to stop and capture some pictures, too!

Me and my sweet friend, Trish.

This beautiful girl has been one of my blogging friends for a couple of years now and it is always an amazing blessing to see her!  Jess, I can't wait until we can get together again! :)

Me and Jess during one of the breaks.

Kristin and me, happy to have finally met in person!

I really can't say enough about how much I love my step-sister, Angela.  I feel so blessed every time that I get to hang out with her, and having her be part of this weekend was awesome!  We enjoyed the conference and time at home, laughing all the way until pants were peed (not even kidding)!!!

My wonderful step-sister, Angela, and me.

One of my favorite parts of the entire weekend was when we heard from Nicole Johnson and Angie Smith.  If you've never heard Angie's story before (and I hadn't), you need to find her blog because her story will blow you away.  I'm almost certain that there was not one single dry eye at the XCel Energy Center as she shared the story that changed her entire life.  She shared her beautiful heart and the way that life unfairly swept one of her greatest blessings from her.  It was such a phenomenal story that impacted and changed my life forever.

We also had the privilege of hearing Natalie Grant perform during the conference.  She is one of my favorite artists and her concert was nothing short of amazing!

Natalie Grant performing at Women of Faith.

Again, during the breaks, I took time to snap a few pictures with my sweet friends.  It was awesome to see how many women that I knew had attended and to touch base with them!

There are never enough opportunities to hug my sweet Jess!

Even with only 50 seconds before the next session, we were determined to make a picture happen!  This one is me, Jess and Kristin on Saturday afternoon.

One of the people who we were able to see is my friend Melissa.  I was so thrilled to see her!  How we came to know each other is a bit interesting, but we have maintained a friendship since she photographed my wedding almost three years ago!  She is an amazing woman with a very purely beautiful heart and I love her completely!
Melissa and me during another break!

Me, Kristin and Melissa catching up during break.

I came out of this weekend with the realization that I have a lot of areas of my heart where I have been holding hurts and God is asking me to allow Him to heal them.  I learned the importance of being very intentional about my relationships (friendships) and the extreme importance of living every moment fully!  It was a weekend of eye opening growth for me and is something that I absolutely plan on attending again next year!  

Thank You, God, for this amazing opportunity of growth.  May my eyes never leave Yours and may my heart always desire to seek more of You.

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