weddings, conferences, and taking it all in.



Tomorrow almost 300 people will gather for the second annual Influence Conference in downtown Indianapolis and our influence leadership team will prepare to host our second conference. There are so many beautiful parts about hosting the conference the second time around, so many pieces of wisdom we just didn’t have that first year.

To be totally honest and transparent, if you were looking for me three hours before check-in began last year, you would’ve found me crying on the floor of the green room. I was excited and thrilled, but also incredibly overwhelmed. Some women walk into a big event or gathering and feel totally at peace and at one with the atmosphere, but if you’re not one of those gals – here are the bits of wisdom I gleaned from my floor crying session last year.

This post is for you Influence attendees and any women with any event coming up that you want to be engaged in, without being overwhelmed by.

Stay at 30,000 feet. This was Hayley’s motto to me last year and I’ve been pumping it into myself and our team for the last 12 months. The drama? The stress? The details that don’t turn out just so? Rise on up above those. Women are emotional beings and I’m all for celebrating that. But sometimes we get straight up bogged down in the emotions and we just need to take a step back, look at the big picture, ask the Lord to help us see things the way He does, and move forward at 30,000 feet. Some tips for doing this: pray big picture prayers, pray for the community at large.  If you witness conversations that are less than life giving to you, just abstain from them and walk away. Take your thoughts captive when it comes to comparison and anything that isn’t life giving.

Be present in the moment. It’s a tricky balance to keep the big picture in mind AND stay in the moment, but it’s really important. Ask the Holy Spirit to make your eyes and ears tuned to what you need to hear, say, do, and go. The weekend will be over in a BLINK and you don’t want to go home wishing you’d been more engaged in a conversation or gone over to meet that one gal. Some tips for doing this: As much as you can, be AT the conference – check in with home when needed, but try to limit major outside conversations, even if it’s just to process what is happening.  Take notice and process with your people when you’re home. Try to go to all the events and sessions. You might need a break once or twice during the weekend, but remember that conference planners have tried to build in margin where needed.

Keep your eyes (and heart) off yourself.  We get it. I get it. You want to look nice and you want to be perceived well and you want to make a good impression. No one is calling you a sellout because you want to look cute. But if you find yourself almost heartsick over how you’re being perceived, put your eyes and hands and heart somewhere else. Serving others (in any capacity) is an awesome quick fix to selfish thinking. Some tips for doing this: Ask the community leaders if they know of anyone who needs some company or prayer, volunteer to serve, or just ask the Lord where He might want you.

I got married over eight years ago, when I was practically just a child-bride, and I have one major regret from my wedding. It isn’t my wedding colors or my vows or anything like that, but the state my heart was in while I was actually walking down the aisle. You know what I was thinking about? Not my handsome groom who was staring at me, not the love and support of my friends and family, but I was genuinely thinking about whether or not I had backfat. Was my back fat showing. Sad, but true.  Also - 20 year old childbride Jessi would faint at the backfat on 29 year old mom of four Jessi .

This event, whether it is Influence or something else altogether, the Lord has orchestrated for your GOOD. He has gone before you and He’ll go behind you. Your job is just to walk forward, in His presence, and soak it all up. Lock your eyes on His and go. It’s gonna be great.