The hotel ballroom was a sea of table and chairs, plates and napkins, salads and desserts, and filled with a buzz.  Two hundred women spoke excitedly, nervously, with one another.

Would they accept me?  Would they judge me?  Will I feel alone as if I’m not part of the “in-crowd”?

I’m certain these same questions were dancing inside the minds of everyone else and yet at the end of a glorious weekend, I think we were reassured to answer “yes, no, no” respectively to each.

Relevant 2010 far exceeded any of my expectations and left me feeling even more affirmed by what I feel called to do on this little blog of mine.

I spoke with women whose stories conjured an onslaught of tears. As I listened, I felt myself basking in His glory, His grace and mercy that carried them through the heartbreaking trials that led to their walk with Him.

Stories of the human spirit and yet really stories of our God, the ultimate artist of that spirit.

Christian women bloggers are on a mission and I’m so honored to have been called to this diverse crew from all over the continent.  I looked into the eyes of real souls this weekend – souls that had survived, souls that have seen pain and yet rejoiced in the morning, souls that are called to give the credit to Him.

Souls ministering to others.

And I’m so humbled by them.

I watched God’s hand on so many situations – from hearing the word “Indianapolis” casually mentioned in a passing conversation and meeting a fellow Hoosier blogger to encountering another writer on the shuttle to the airport and planning a collaborative project in just fifteen minutes.

We heard much about priorities.  Him, yes, but also the number one ministry we serve:  our families.

We can blog until we are spent but if we’re not walking with Him, it will eventually show and the posts will ultimately blow away like those well-known chaffs of wheat.

I write to glorify God.  I don’t seek fame for myself though I would be remiss if I didn’t add there are times that I need to “check” myself in this department.  I don’t have a hidden agenda, unless you consider my desire for you to know Jesus to be one and in that case, I do have a hidden agenda but I guess it’s not really so hidden.

I’m going to schedule my days better and invest more in this blog.  I’m going to love you with grace and help you, as you help me, go higher up and deeper in.

But first I’ll be doing more of that with my family.

More technical thoughts loom as well – I’m still not sure how I feel about advertising on my site.  I would love to start vlogging.  I have an idea for a children’s book and a new post series.

My cup runneth over.

To whom much is given, much is expected.

I’ve been given much.

But I go back to who teaches me the most about God’s love, who loves me for who I am, who call me “wife” and “mommy.”  Whose giggles I hear when I’m 500 miles from home.  Whose legs I long to cover my cold feet when I’m in a hotel bed.

My ministry is first and foremost my family.  I serve them.

And with a delighted and honored heart, I serve you next.

Bonita Lillie of  “Encouraging Words for Writers” spoke of giving our readers a “gift” with each post we may write.

I’m praying that from now on, His words through me will be a gift to you.

Actually, they will be a gift to us both.

I will be sharing about my Relevant experience all week because I couldn’t possibly cram it all into one post.

My list of 1,000 things continues…This past week, I am so grateful for:

141. My Relevant ’10 Sponsor, Dr. JJ Snapp, who encouraged me to put my fear of not knowing a lot of attendees aside and just go already.  And he paid for it.

142.  The speakers of Relevant ’10  who were deeply moving.  Authentic. Honest.  Encouraging us to stop looking at numbers, stats, readers, and comments and look to Him for our approval.

143.  My Relevant ’10 roommate, Erin from Home’s Where My Heart Is, who I have known for a while from the blogosphere and met in-person for the first time.  I adore her.

144.  A whole stack of new writers/sisters to read that are on a mission to share our God .

145. God’s sovereign hand that knows the desires of our heart and fulfills them in ways we never dreamed possible.

146. Listening to Ann Voskamp of “A Holy Experience” close our conference with her loaded words and gaining such convicting perspective. (For the record, Ann began the “1,000” Gratitude community.)

147.  The bear hugs of little limbs embracing a mommy who yearned to feel their touch, hear their whispers, smell their hair and kiss their temples.

148.  The opportunity to rise tomorrow morning and have my cup filled by our MOPS group.

149.  A more intentional schedule of my day starting this week that includes built-in time with God.  In the morning, yes, but over good coffee.  I’m certain this is why He made coffee in the first place.

150.  New friends – God never brings someone into your life that is not a teaching instrument. I look forward to learning from you all.

I open my gift and I see the Bible. God’s words.  Go ahead an open your package as well.  Happy reading.

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