I was telling (okay, writing
) a friend yesterday about our recent visit to The Grace Agenda conference
, and what a blessing it was to go, get away, recharge. So I realized I ought to share my thoughts here as well.
, and the days spent traveling & away in general, were such a blessing. We went down on Thursday just so we could swim at the hotel, eat out, and watch cartoons with the kids on “a real tv”! The kids still aren’t quite sure what commercials are, and get excessively frustrated about them. Cracks us up. After the two little kids were asleep on Thursday night, my dad took Gabriel swimming again and my mom offered to listen for the toddlers (we had connecting hotel rooms, so we left the doors open between them, and she stayed in her room), so Steven and I went out for a little date to our favorite coffee house pub called Bucer’s
, where there was live jazz and lots of hustle-bustle. We were only out for about forty minutes, and it was a refreshingly fun time. Friday and Saturday were very busy days of conference sessions, coffee breaks, lunch with friends, a dinner double date
with excellent friends on Friday (my parents watched our kids and took them swimming for us during that time), playtime with our children, a fantastic choir concert on Saturday night.
The conference sessions didn’t hold much “new” to us in all honesty, partly because the teachers were people we have known for twenty years & also just partly because Steven and I have both been raised in the Church and have continued in the Church. But it is always good to go hear things we already know, to preach old truths to ourselves in new ways, to sit alongside friends for mutual encouragement and exhortation. It made us very thankful. Rachel Jankovic and Nate Wilson were (as usual) my favorite speakers, just because they are so engaging and witty, weaving incredibly solid truths into their speaking without leaving it dry like crackers. (And it’s just funny, too, because my brother and I were friends with them when we were in our teens; I remember one time specifically on a Sunday afternoon, playing disc golf with them and some other young folks at the University of Idaho, and there was plenty of good laughter.) But so much has happened and changed in the intervening 15 or so years.
On Palm Sunday we were overwhelmingly blessed to be at Trinity Reformed Church, to hear Toby preach, to see so many friends we hadn’t seen since last summer, to cry with another friend who just buried another son (a 16 week boy, they named Gilead), to have some friends want to talk and subsequently wanted to pray with me right then and there for joy and hope. So beautiful and humbling. We then went out for lunch with another young family (I’ve been friends with the wife for years, but our husbands had never actually talked, just briefly met occasionally and shaken hands, etc) before driving home on the Sunday afternoon in sunshine and rest and hope and joy.
So yes. A good weekend. In so many ways. And here are a couple random pictures from a Saturday evening session (you can tell the kids had gotten tired by now!), and some quotes I managed to scribble down from a few of the talks.
The rocky soil produces the sweetest fruit.
Weaker doesn’t mean inferior. Compare a crystal goblet with a 2×4!
Love God, love your neighbor, love your enemies—that covers it.
If women are not allowed to be a female glory, they will become a feminine shame.
Exile is a universal human condition.
Wisdom is a tame word, but it’s not a very tame thing.
Tell stories and live stories. Use the stories around you to inform your character and shape your narrative.
Courage literally means of the heart. Courage does not mean bold, brash, outspoken, adventurous. We need courage in areas where we are tested. Any strength that requires resistance requires courage. Courage is the form of every virtue once tested. It takes courage to ask God, and for contentment as you wait. Pottery can not do anything until it has gone through the trial of fire. After we are tested we too become capable vessels that can hold water. Patience without courage is untested and weak. Peace combined with courage is fierce—it’s like a guard dog. It’s a peace that fights things off. You can only have one master, when you have Christ as your Master, you will have courage over fear. John 14:7, Deut 31:6, Josh 1:9, Heb 13:6, Ps 23:4, Eph 6:10, Ps 118:6, Ps 27:14
Contented means a deep satisfaction with the will of God. He has made us, called us, and even created the good works for us. Be satisfied to be created second. Be satisfied to be created female. Be glad for the calling of men. Be overjoyed in who your husband and sons are called to be. Be satisfied that God called your husband to be your head. Be deeply satisfied to be your husband’s glory, crown, helpmeet. Be satisfied with being domestic and fruitful.