Sunday, April 26, 2009
On Friday, Abbers turned 17. 17 years ago, she kept me in 17 hours of labor. I'm pretty sure I'll never forget that number. It was the longest labor ever. And it was the craziest birth story ever. I'll have to tell it to you someday.
But, the past 17 years have been a huge blessing to our family. This sweet, kind, considerate, compassionate loving girl has been a blessing to raise and have as a part of our family. She has a tender heart and truly loves with all that is in her.
When my girls turn 17, we celebrate by going to a hotel - just me and her - and spending a night together as we talk about life... marriage, families, friendships, God, work, and ministry. And we talk about people that have invested into her life. Women who have shared life with us and been an example in each of these areas. And then, we begin a 6 month time of mentoring with 6 women she chooses in each of these areas. This has been a time of true depth and friendships... a time of soul searching and finding God... and a time of deepening their commitment to a life of realizing that it takes true friendships and caring mentors to get through the tough things we call life.
Abbie has chosen the six. And I couldn't have chosen better women for her. She is excited to learn and spend time and grow and she eagerly anticipates what God is doing in her life.
Abbie, you are a beautiful young woman. I wouldn't change a thing about you. I love you.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
This past weekend, I went with a group of friends and family to the Original Women's Conference . This year's theme was "It's a Love Thing". This conference was created three years ago by the Rockford Master's Commission, a group of amazing students that my daughter is blessed beyond belief to be a part of.
Last year, I attended with two friends and our kids - a total of 6 of us after we met one friend there. This year, we took two cars with 8 of us, and met 4 more there. Last year, the attendance of the conference, it's second year, was around 200. This year, the third annual conference, sported over 500 women of all ages from all over the country (I heard someone say they were from New York) flocking to hear all about God's amazing love for us.
Worship provided by Kari Jobe was awesome to say the least. Although she is an artist I had never heard of before, she delivered some great worship leadership. I have been humming some of the songs every day since we returned.
Original does a - hm... well... an original job at delivering the woman conference experience. Not just the best women conference I've ever attended... close to being the best conference I've ever attended. They fully understand the challenges and joys of being a woman... the things we like (plenty of free stuff and giveaways) the things we have passion about (globally as well as locally) and the hard stuff of life overall.
This year, I was extraordinarily touched by the global outreach to Pearl Alliance. This organization, begun by Lisa Bevere has begun a worldwide effort to help the women and children who are exploited and already enslaved with the progression of human trafficking. Please take a minute to view the video on the Pearl Alliance website linked above.
I am still chewing on many of the speakers and workshop presenters. God knew what was going on in my life in such a personal way that He used these women to speak to me in ways that are far too personal to share here. (yes, there are some things in life too personal for even a blog that nobody reads).
Next year, the conference is again in April - I encourage you to mark your calendar if you can. Fly, drive, walk there if you have to. Do not miss it. I'll be there - and we can hit Starbucks together.