Today our annual Influence Network Magazine, conference edition comes out. It is beautiful and lovely and a sweet read for those women attending and those watching from home.
On Tuesday I'm going to pack up my car, drop off my kids, and head to Indianapolis for our third annual Influence Conference. So, so, so much has changed in the last three years. I barely feel like I'm the same girl that naively agreed "Yes! Let's have a conference!" and in general, I just feel like we're an entirely different community. When I think back on that first year, I kind of wonder how we made it. God's grace? Definitely God's grace. And also women's desire. Not the desire of Hayley and I or even our amazing team - but that deep seated desire in the women of this community to GATHER and GROW. That thing in all of you that says - I'm going to keep showing up, I'm going to keep coming back, I'm going to keep being present here because I believe the Lord has something for us. That's a huge part of why this conference and year-long network is a thing.
So here is the post I've wanted to write to you, you brave and beautiful women, for two years and I've never gotten around to it. Forgive me?
I hear you guys on instagram, on your blogs, and I see it in your faces. You feel insecure and you feel scared. You're pushing through, which is amazing! But it's in there. You worry that all of a sudden people are going to see behind the curtain and they'll be let down or disappointed in you. You worry that you won't measure up or you'll feel like too much or not enough. You make sure to tell us "I'm not REALLY a blogger" or "i just have a small etsy shop" or even "I want to be an author, but one day - a long time from now". Maybe you've been meticulously planning your outfits for months or maybe you just realized you have "nothing to wear". Maybe you've put a little too much hope in your super cute business cards that didn't come out right and your new dalmatian print shoes that are a size too big, but in the quiet moments you wonder - Do I have to go? I don't feel like enough. I'd rather not be seen and found unlovely.
I'm not going to preach to you or correct you, because that's my story right down to the dalmatian print shoes. As much as I try not to - I start thinking in February, By Influence I'll have my junk together! My arms will be toned and my hair will be funky and it will be AMAZING. But come September, I am still me. No matter how I've grown or how my hair looks, there is always the temptation to put my eyes on myself and feel like I come up so, so, so, so short. And the truth is - I do. I am just an awkward gal with a big booty, slightly crooked teeth, a propensity to overshare, and a world of local burdens attached to my heart.
But more than those things, I am these things.
I am daughter of God.
I am a seeker and sharer of the Gospel.
I LOVE women and I love seeing them worship Him in Spirit and Truth.
I believe in growing, which means I have to admit when I need growth.
I don't need to be found as cool, beautiful, wise, or special. I need to be found as chosen by God and redeemed by the blood of Christ and that's taken care of.
I'd rather people be more impressed by Him than they are by me.
I want to have the aroma of Christ.
I believe that the Holy Spirit wants to do work in each of us next week and THAT is what I am expectant for.
Over the next week - as we're packing, as we're getting dressed in our hotel rooms. When we stand in the lobby and look around a little aimlessly - let's remember THESE truths. Let's remember who God says we are and stop worrying about who we hope others see us as.
He has work for us to do, lady friends. He has growth waiting for us. He has passion and fun and relationships waiting for us. It's time to build. Let's do it.