Tuesday, October 01, 2013

{still processing...or #InfluenceConf recap #1}

I'm struggling a bit with putting into words my experience at The Influence Conference.

If I can be totally honest...conflicted is the best word I can come up with since coming home on Saturday. I don't want you all to think I had a negative experience, because it was far from that. The women were...amazing. Not one time did I encounter someone with less than a welcoming smile on her face.

The workshops were inspiring. My roommates were total sweethearts {and put up with the fact that I had a horrible cold the entire weekend with so much graciousness.}

But my head and heart...now they are a different story.

I'm going to be super honest with you all right now and say that I would bet money on the fact that I might have been the only girl at the conference that doesn't attend church. And not because I haven't found the RIGHT church. I don't WANT to. So you can see why I felt just a tad bit conflicted being at a Christian bloggers conference. I know...it makes me giggle a bit as well.

As a super quick backstory for those who don't know me personally, I grew up a minister's child in a Disciples of Christ church. When I was 21, my dad was fired from his position. He had been at that church for 22 years.

It was our home. It was our family. It was our entire life. And just like that...in a matter of a few months, it was gone.

The experience left me cynical. It stripped away the trust I had for others. It left me looking at everyone around me, including my friends, with a highly critical eye. My heart was broken.

But I will tell you what wasn't broken.

My faith.

Over the past 14 years it has grown stronger. And deeper. I've become a mother and gone through family trauma...clinging onto God and his grace and mercy to carry me through.

Working at a seminary for the past 6 years I've been surrounded by people that show me such a true love for God, which has really helped to heal many of my wounds. I get my church at work...most people can't say that.

But still...being around so many women who lead a different spiritual life than I do really threw me into a place of discomfort and questioning. I found myself on so many occasions asking why I was there. And then someone like Lara Casey or Jeff Goins or Shauna Niequist would say something SO darn brilliant and remind me that I was in the exact place I was supposed to be. Whether or not I share the same spiritual path as everyone else.

I'm on God's path. Or at least I'm working every day to stay on it.

I still feel conflicted, but I'm so glad I went.

And here are just a few reasons why...

I hope to share more about my experience at the conference, digging deep into the truths I heard and the lessons I'll carry with me. More to come!

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Mandie Segura said...

Girl, you are not alone!! FOr the last 3 years, my husband and I have hardly gone to church. FIrst, we were healing from a really hard experience, and then things just got so busy with him in school full time. We've just started going back in the last month, and it's been a good experience, but I so understand the hurt and frustration that can come along with attendance.

kk @ the mom diggity said...

I think this is where our culture gets it all wrong. Church isn't a building. Church is who we are and doing life together. It's this modern day version of church that leaves us hurt and dissatisfied. God will NEVER leave you that way!!! SO glad you came and that you were encouraged and challenged! Can't wait to hear more about what's going on in your precious heart!

courtney {splendid actually} said...

My dear friend, I love your honesty. And Kara is right! Church is a community of people doing life together and serving our amazing Savior together. I only went to church occasionally while growing up. It wasn't until 8 years ago I found a church (building) I was comfortable in and wanted to be a part of.
Your may feel your story is different, but there's nothing wrong with that. Because you know the Lord, you're teaching the boys about Him, and you're letting Him direct your path. Sounds like a pretty great story to me.

tmack said...

I'm so glad that I got to meet you. I echo KK .. church is a building.
I'm so glad that you came to influence and that you were surrounded by the body of Christ, and that you also get support at work!
I pray that the Lord reveals more and more opportunities for you to experience him.

Rachel said...

You do come from a slightly different background of experience than many do there--but I have my own bad experiences with churches (individual buildings, congregations) behind me. Of course, I've also had really awesome, life changing experiences too, so I'm not cynical about the community and blessing and opportunities for ministry that a church can provide (but yet doesn't always do so). And I do imagine that working at a seminary is about as close to living in a church as you can get... :)

Annie said...

KK is so right! Don't let your cultural expectations of what a church is stand in the way of you pursuing intentional Christian community. Church as a building is so rarely the community Christ spurs us on to be a part of.

Last year I went to Influence and didn't step foot in a church for seven months after that, so I'm with you. It's strange to be there with a lot of women who have a thriving relationship with their established local church communities. But please, I beg you, because I did this, and I'm still recovering from it, don't let that feel like you are any less valued, any less loved, any less a vibrant, influential woman of Jesus.

Kerrie Williams said...

yes! What KK said! I love that you came anyways and that I got to meet you, even if it was briefly!

Ashley @ Always Ashley said...

This is something I struggled with for quite some time. I was very involved in a body of believers for my first few years of committing myself to Christ (which was only about four years ago), and then when I got married it all went away. My husband is the campus minister at another church and we have spent most of our marriage trying to find a place that fits both of us. Well, let me be honest, we were searching and now it feels more like we're just waiting for one to fall out of the sky. I really miss being with a constant group in a "church" setting, but at the same time I feel like I still get the "we are the church" love from my community of people I'm surrounded with. I have a very strong network of women in my life who pour into me on the regular and really show me what The Church is supposed to look like and I am so blessed to have them. I'm sure God has you where He wants you to be. Just always be listening and open in case He does lead you to a church home. Don't allow the past to stop you if He says "Go!". Hugs and love!



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