And every year the speakers and singers really outdo themselves, sharing their hearts and past experiences all in an effort to point us to God and to share that we are not alone. That we are all on this journey together. And that God loves us more than we could possibly image.
Two of my favorites from this weekend were Lisa Welchel and Mandisa.
Lisa spoke about adult friendships and how she struggled to make real friends since her childhood/friendship forming years were atypical due to The Facts of Life and acting, then she went straight into marriage and kid-raising years.
I really connected to that -- NOT the acting part, but the struggle to make friends. I was a shy and awkward youngster, so not a lot of girlfriends in middle and high school. I didn't know the Lord as a child, so no church friends/youth groups either. Then, at 17, I became an unmarried teen mom, got married at 20 and suddenly had three children by the time I was 23! I was too busy to be a good friend and felt very different from all the other ladies anyway. The "sandwich generation" quickly set in and for several years I was overwhelmed with both parenting my children and caring for my ailing parents (who had adopted me in their later years). Momma passed in 1997 from pancreatic cancer, Daddy moved in with us after we moved the family to a new town in a house that would fit us all, we had a surprise baby in 1999 (yeah Miss T), and then Daddy passed in 2001. These past ten years, I've been super busy with my sweet kiddos (only one still at home now), working and volunteering. But not a lot of friends. I still feel really "different" -- most times I feel I don't have much to offer to a friend and never have felt like I measure up. Sad to actually write that out. But I liked what Lisa said --- that the Imperfect gals you know make the safest and best friends. And, if I'm anything, I am definitely Imperfect!!
Then there's Mandisa -- she just performed her heart out, and it was ALL to His Glory. She looked amazing, too, having shed 112 pounds so far. I really want a black fringe dress just like this one! (I risked life and limb to snap this shot, too -- I didn't know we weren't supposed to take pictures while "in the bowl")
THANK YOU, BookSneeze, for sending me two tickets so I could share this event with my readers. What a treat! I got to meet a few other bloggers who were there doing the same thing --- sweet ladies from the coast, and a couple were there for their first time. If you would like to read and review books, check out BookSneeze!
Special thanks, also, to my sweet friend Kathy who came with me and treated us to an overnight in a local hotel. Here we are at dinner at the top floor of our hotel.