(9/30) On Sunday evening, I boarded a plane to Rome, Georgia. Little did I know that this trip would change my life.
Change is a powerful word. It is defined in many forms and can be interpreted to each person a different way. But in this case, when I say change, I use it in this form:
Change: (verb) to cause a transformation; to become different in some particular way, without permanently losing one’s former characteristics or essence.
About a year ago, I became a member of Pursuit31. This is a community of women in pursuit of walking in greatness through our businesses and our homes for the glory of God. We can interact online and ask questions about any part of our businesses, tips, tricks, families, and where we encourage and pray for one another. Around that same time of joining P31, I had stumbled across this conference website. When I read into it and watched the video, I felt a strong tug on my heart. One like I had never felt before. A meek but persistent voice inside of me said,
Ummmmm, do you see what it would take to get me there?? A LOT. A lot that I don’t have. I mean, I have a hard time telling people that I’m a photographer. How in the world can I be there? At that conference. With PROFESSIONALS. And how is that going to work????
No matter what excuse I came up with, that voice always wiggled its way through.
A couple months pass by and I’m reading a blog post by Katelyn James (Katelyn James Photography) and it’s about Pursuit31 and the upcoming conference. She explained how she was asked to speak at it and how excited she was for that next October. That meek voice started speaking again. This time it was stronger and louder. I left a comment on Katelyn’s post about how I would love to attend something so great. And I prayed. I prayed so hard. I prayed that I would be able to come to that conference in October.
Later that week I received an email on Facebook from Alicia Candelora (No Eye Has Seen Photography) explaining that she saw my comment on Katelyn’s blog and that she would love to see me there. Me. A small town girl from California (which i know sounds like an oxymoron lol).
Her words made me cry. Cry tears of excitement. Of joy. Of a little fear. In that moment the meek voice turned into a thundering voice. I knew that this is where I would be heading. I remember sitting there at my desk praying and thanking God for this assurance. I didn’t know how I was going to get there, but I was going to Georgia in October.
At times I worried that I wouldn’t be able to make my plans a reality. But there was always something there to comfort me and tell me not to worry. Things began to happen. I booked sessions, started working more hours, and stashing “extra” money away in places that I wouldn’t remember. I paid my deposit. It was official. Things kept on and I received an anonymous check in the mail made out to me (THANK YOU so very much if you are reading this!!) and was able to pay the rest of the balance. My parents gifted me plane tickets for my birthday in August, and I started packing!!!!!!
I arrived in Atlanta on Monday October 1st, around 7:45am. Met up with a few of my P31 sisters and waited until the limo arrived to take us to Rome!!!! When we arrived to the WinShape Retreat, we were met by all of the speakers with the best hugs!! I walked up to the registration table and received the key to my room for the week. As I found my way to the room, walked in, I took a deep breath. It was so surreal being there. It was crazy to think that just a few short months ago, I thought that I would never be able to attend this conference; and here I was, standing in the very room that God knew I would be.
After we all got freshened up, we met in the Grand Chalet and walked over to the dining hall where little did I know, I would be sitting next to these amazingly fabulous gals at dinner. We then went into worship together.
That was one of my favorite parts. Worship. Being able to stand there, arms raised, voices loud, and giving it all to Christ. And giving it all with everyone else. We were all brought there for different reasons. All there in different stages in our lives. All there to learn. To grow. To pray. To be reminded why we are here in the first place.
Although I am not going to go into detail about how exactly this whole experience has changed my life, I am going to tell you that it is for the better. For my walk with Christ, for my friendships, for my family, and for my business. I am absolutely ecstatic to apply all that I have learned to each part of my life knowing that it is all centered around Christ; which is exactly where I know I need to be.
I want to take this time to give a GINORMOUS thanks to Karen Stott. This could not have happened without the heart that this woman has. Karen is the founder of Pursuit31. She had a vision for these women who longed for the Lord. What she has created is one of the most amazing organizations that I have ever heard of and one that I am proud to be apart of.
I would also like to give a huge thanks to all of the speakers. Karen Stott, Jane Johnson, Mary Marantz, Katelyn James, Jody Gray, Dawn Davis, Desirae Stott Rodgers, and Gabrielle Von Heyking (and hubby Stephen for the AWESOME worship!!).
I also want to give a shout out to all of our AMAZING sponsors!!!
Black River Imaging
Heartworks by Lori
Blessed Mama Designs
Knits and Knots
2 Dancing Danes
Tello and Rose
Enjoy some special moments from my point of view of the conference!! (Most of them are from my iPhone :/ ) I cannot wait for next year! It can’t get here fast enough!!!!
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