. . . and then some more . . . More life. More Jesus.

Those Four Days I Spent at a Blogging Conference

I flew through Washington Dulles on my way to Allume. The blogging conference in Greenville, South Carolina where 452 women came together last weekend to figure out how to collectively make God famous on the internet. In the world.

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I had an hour layover. So I found a turkey brie sandwich at a Cosi deli and sat down at my gate to eat it. I knew it was one of the last moments I would have alone for four days, so I took some time to breathe and think through my expectations for the weekend.

Then I realized I had no idea what to expect, except for one thing. I fully expected to be overwhelmed. And, really, how does one prepare herself for overwhelmed? So I gave up the thinking-through and struck up a conversation with the woman next to me.

As soon as I got there, my expectations became reality.

Seriously. Over. Whelmed.

It started when my roommate and I rode the elevator with NY Times bestselling author Melanie Shankle and asked her name. (Um, duh! Melanie Shankle. You know, the lady that will speak tomorrow morning? The one whose book you adored?!?)

It came with me to the first meetup, with all the new people, where everyone and everyone else was better at doing what I’m usually so good at. I introduced myself to Tricia Goyer, the amazing author of more that 35 books and asked her name too. (Hello, Bria! Have you looked at any Twitter picture? Ever?)

And, yes, the overwhelmed followed me into dinner that first night. That’s when the awesome Barefoot Mel so graciously saw what must have been the picture of a holy-cow-this- is-a-lot-of-women-and-what-the-heck-am-I-doing-here scream. (Seriously, I felt a little bit like crawling into a corner and rocking while sucking my thumb.) She gave me a hug and asked me to sit with her and her friends.

I felt a little bit like Nemo. I was really ok, but at the same time terrified. Wanting to sit back and soak it all in, but still wanting to be at the forefront with all the famous people I’d already seen. I didn’t want to see them as famous, I wanted to see them as fellow Jesus-chasers. I wasn’t there to compete. But it was hard to remember.

My thoughts were loud. Super duper loud. And crazy. Ann Voskamp spoke at dinner that night, and I loved what God had her say, but I felt like His voice was a distant echo bouncing off all the loud that was in my heart.

So I found the prayer room after dinner. A big dimly lit, softly music-ed room (did I just make that word up? I think I just made that word up!) full of godly women who wanted to be Jesus with shoes on for those of us who might want to find respite there throughout the weekend.

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God gave me a beautiful new friend who asked if she could pray with me. I said yes.

We prayed for God’s voice to speak. Prayed for clarity of purpose. Then I grabbed my prayer journal and wrote these words:

Dear Lord,

The noise is big. I want to hear You. Please help me hear You. And help me obey.

Amen.

And then I heard God speak.

Okay, not really like that. But kind of.

Three times last weekend, God gave me specific answers I had asked for. Three no-doubt-about-it times He let me know He wants me all-in. He used three different people (two agents, one speaker) to assure me and to prod me and to tell me to get over it and just do it. Get the word out about Him and the amazing life He wants us to live.

Just. Write. Bria.

Quit worrying about screwing up your motives. Or your kids. Trust that He won’t let you. Trust Him to keep you on track. And just do what God has given you to do. Take the next step. Write the next word. Publish the next post. Love the person right in front of you. Just show them Jesus.

He reminded me that first morning in South Carolina, Greenville Hyatt, room 545’s shower, why I was there. It had nothing to do with meeting famous people or being less than or more of a writer or a networker or even a follower of Jesus Christ.

I was there because He ordained it.

God wanted me there. So I was there.

He gave me people to meet. Women to befriend. Bloggers to love.

And he clarified my purpose in writing what I do. He gave me words of assurance in moments at lunch. At a breakout session. And lunch the next day.

So today I have purpose I hadn’t realized I had. I have so much to tell you about those clarifying words He spoke ever so clearly. But I’m pushing 850 words here, and I want you to come back. 😉 So I promise I’ll tell you. Just not quite yet.

Have you ever felt like God gave you an answer you’d been waiting to hear? Do you think I’m crazy?

19 Thoughts on “Those Four Days I Spent at a Blogging Conference

  1. celeste kern on October 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm said:

    Thank you for sharing. God sure answers our heart’s desire…..He fills our desires with his purposes for us . So thankful you had a fulfilling time! Hugs

  2. honey i was so overwhelmed I re-introduced myself to people I had met mere hours before. SIGH. I’m not usually like that!
    Can’t wait to read your next post!

    • Hi Jennifer! I know, right? I’m not usually like that either. Craziness, I tell you!! 🙂 Thanks, my friend, for understanding. Good to know I wasn’t alone.

  3. Sharon on October 30, 2013 at 8:55 pm said:

    Do I think you’re crazy? Absolutely! Crazy in love with Jesus and gifted enough to write all about it so we can get a better glimpse of how much He loves us. And just crazy enough to be my friend! Anxious to read what’s to come !

  4. Oh, sweet Bria! The first time I read this, I felt my heart wishing again that I could have been with you. AND YET, I know that God’s plan is always perfect. I know that He preordained for all of this to happen. But friend? I don’t think you realize how wonderful you are- both as a person AND as a writer!!!
    I cannot wait to hear more!! I am sitting on the edge of my seat!! Love you soooo much!!!

    • Becky, I kept imagining you there. Hoping that maybe next year we can experience it together. I love being on this journey with you, sweet friend. Love. It. Love you too. 🙂

  5. Brianna, you flew through Dulles! I live 15 minutes from the airport, I could have waved! I’m glad you had such a wonderful time at the conference, can’t wait to read where your writing will take you!

  6. Carrie Snyder on October 31, 2013 at 10:31 am said:

    Crazy, yes Bria, crazy awesome! Love what you have to share. Thanks for taking the time to do it so well.

  7. Carrie, you make me smile. 🙂 Thank you. Someday, God’s gonna’ have you blogging. I just know it. (At least I really, really hope it.)

  8. I LOVED meeting you Bria, so glad God saw fit to make us roommates. And that Emily, isn’t she awesome? She and I were actually prayer partners but I must’ve been off doing something when she prayed with you. I’m so grateful God met us in such tangible ways. I think God answered every one of my prayers, even ones I didn’t know I needed to pray. Let’s keep in touch okay.

    • Hi Shelly! Me too. 🙂 So, so thankful I get to be your friend. And how cool that God still let us get to pray together. Just in a different place. Really looking forward to keeping in touch with you!

  9. crazy? no, awesome and unique and beautiful. I am so glad you have this experience tucked away in your forever places

  10. Hi Brianna, I found your blog through the Allume link-up (which, sadly, I did not attend because I only learned about the conference a couple of weeks ago) and felt really moved by this post of yours. I have read through so many recaps on the link-up and so encouraged by what you all have taken the time to share. What an absolute blessing that weekend was for everyone. I long to be a part of a community like this; there are so many Christian/Blogging conferences out there but I have yet to attend any because they just didn’t feel “right”. Until now. Allume has been on my mind and heart since learning about it a mere two weeks ago; I just wish I didn’t have to wait a whole year to attend. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your experience!

  11. Hi Angie! I am so, so glad you came by here and joined in the conversation! Thank you. It was a great experience. I really hope you get to be part of it next year. Hope I can go again next year, too. Then we can meet in person. 🙂 Until then, we’ll just hang out here online. K? Welcome, new friend. 🙂

  12. Oh, Bria! Yes, it was ordained for you to be there and to welcome other women with your huge heart and beautiful smile! I’m so thankful for you!

    Deb Weaver

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