I ran away with the entire LPL crew! It's true! It was amazing, really. There I was, walking out with my mom and sisters when I was whisked away by a man in a long trench coat who quietly said, "Come with me." I was creeped out at first, but my fears were quickly relieved when he ushered me into a bright room filled happy people and it smelled of lilacs and jasmine. That's when I spotted Beth! She rushed over to me and said, "Girlfriend, we're so glad you agreed to join us!" Agreed? I didn't realize I'd ever had a choice in the matter, but was glad that I was there.
We spent the next few days laughing and swapping stories. I drilled Beth about which hair products she uses to get such height, and when she pointed at my shoes and asked, "Where did you find such darling shoes?!" I simply said, "These old things? Oh, I got them at a bargain basement sale." And then I winked at her and we about fell over laughing. Once we were able to regain our composure, we talked at length about things of the Lord, sharing what wonderful things He's taught us in our time as His girls. It was sweet. And then in the highlight of my time taken as a LPL hostage, Beth let me thumb through her Bible. Haven't you wanted to do that? Each time I watch her teach, I see that worn Bible with its dog-eared pages and wonder what notes must be in the margins. I was thankful that she let me take a peek.
It wasn't long before they pleaded and pleaded with me to do a guest spot on the LPM blog, but I blushed and said no. I did give them a few pointers though, because they really are struggling with that blog, can't you tell? It's like no one even knows about it. I told them a few ways they can increase their readership and they were thankful for my bloggy wisdom.
Oh, and Travis! I was astounded when he came up to me and said, "Angie, I'm just having a problem with the chorus of this song. It's just not coming together for me." I took a minute to look it over, and hummed a few notes when he snapped his fingers and said, "That's IT!" I was glad to assist him with my musical skillz. Before he went on his merry way, I gave him a few pointers about how to really put some passion into his singing. I mean, he really needs some help there, don't you think?
It was a wonderful few days, and I was about to leave to get back to real life, but was chased down by Beth who just HAD to show me a few recent pictures of Jackson before I left. She's pretty fond of him, you know.
So THAT'S why I haven't been back to update you about last weekend at the Beth Moore conference! As you can see, I was a little busy.
Okay, not really.
But thanks for your fun comment on this post, Cheryl. I was lost in my own imagination for a good 15 minutes after reading it. What WOULD that be like?
So now for the real update. Hey, a girl can dream.
It was WONDERFUL! As soon as it was over I wished it could start all over again. Beth just has this passion for the Lord and hunger for the Word that is contagious, don't you think? A week later, I'm still reviewing my notes and rereading passages, trying to soak it all in. It was like information overload at times, but in a really, really good way.
But, here are a few highlights I pulled from the weekend.
The company... was perfect! Hanging out with my mom and sisters is always a treat. I was glad to be there with them for such a special weekend.
(Why didn't we get a picture of all four of us at once?!)
And of course, there was much laughter. Although I'm glad I brought extra undies just in case, they weren't needed after all. But it was close. Especially when we figured out that mom really could be her very own Saturday Night Live character. Saturday after things wrapped up, I was thrilled that my mom, Amy, Abby and I got to meet Meredith, Joanne, Holly, Kate and Joanne's friend Heidi for lunch. Sadly, Heidi is blogless. (Had to throw that out there, Heidi!) Such a fun time of fellowship!
The worship... was amazing.
Nothing like praising God to get you in the mood to really learn about Him and seek Him. Travis Cottrell is one seriously talented guy. (Okay, in case you missed it, I was 257% joking about him needing some passion! Hello!!!) He has a handful of songs that get me every time, and one of them is Annie's Song and another is In Christ Alone. Wow.
No, we weren't singing about eggs-sunny-side-up, but it looks like it, huh? What was that?
Beth... looked adorable, as always. I loved her yellow flowery jacket on Saturday. So springy and fun! And did you see those skinny legs? I knew we could be BFFs.
Last but not least... Beth's teaching... was AWESOME, which I figured it would be.
She spoke on Matthew 16:24-28:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."If you want some thorough - and I mean thorough - notes from the two days, please visit my friend Holly's blog. Way to go on your mad note taking, Holly! You caught so many things I missed! Start on this post and work your way forward.
Beth made so many excellent points that I could flesh out each one in its own blog post. (Well, Holly has done that!) I think I'll jot a list of thoughts that hit me and maybe come back to them in the future. They are all well-worth exploring.
First off, she had 7 basic principles regarding the passage above:
- Christ offers us a life we would trade the world to have.
- This life cannot be sought; it can only be found.
- This life's biggest stumbling block will be self-protection.
- The cost of missing this life is infinitely higher than the cost of living it.
- In this life, denying ourselves means denying self the right to rob us of God.
- This life involves giving ourselves up. Not giving up.
- Whatever we lose to find this life will be incomparably supplanted.
- You've got to lose your life to find it!
- When faced with struggles and stumbling blocks in this life, I need to pick up my cross and carry it... on the other side is LIFE!
- (Speaking about 2 Cor. 11:14) "Satan doesn't come to the party dressed in what we think he's gonna wear!" (Can't you just hear her saying that?!)
- Within the church, not every fall constitutes a fraud! (I think this hit close to home for me, being a pastor's wife)
- Jesus does not have us lead a life that goes in boring circles. So why do we insist on "falling?" For the adventure? Why? She told us a story about her grandson who has a train that goes round and round in a circle. As soon as he figured out this was "boring" he threw toys on the track to derail the train so he'd fall. Isn't this what we do in our own life? Except the track Jesus has us on is anything but boring. Why are we content with being distracted?
- Material things will not nourish our souls -- you cannot nurture the immaterial with material.
- Christianity does not cure us of our selfishness - only CHRIST himself can. (Great reminder!)
- We have to get over ourselves to find ourselves.
- We will never lose a fight because of Jesus that we won't end up winning.
- My calling will not be convenient for me! ADAPT! (Amen! In other words (my paraphrase) - quit feeling sorry for yourself and sacrifice and serve, already!)
I think if I had to sum it up in one sentence, I learned that I get in my own way of living the truly rich life Christ has for me. The frustrating thing is that I didn't learn it last weekend. I re-learned it, because I know it! That's why I'm so thankful for Beth's honest and frank teaching and how she allows the Lord to speak through her. I realized - again - how much of Jesus I miss because I let my own struggles, boredom, rights, selfishness, ego, addictions and conveniences get in the way. Why do I allow it when I know what He offers is so much better than what I can conjure up myself?
So now I'm praying what my next step is. It's easy to come away from these things on a mountain-top high and watch it all fade away within a week. So I'm trying to come up with a plan of action. Depending on what it is, I'll blog about it. Maybe it'll encourage someone else out there to truly pick up your cross and follow Him. Rumor has it it's WELL worth the effort.
** If any LPM people happen to stumble across this, rest assured that I'm not as crazy as this post implies. No restraining order necessary. Thank you. **