I went to a conference this weekend in North Carolina. I didn't know anyone when I arrived, which I was fine with.
Until I got there.
Have you ever felt like you've walked into a sorority (or, I guess, fraternity...) function where you're the only one who hasn't pledged? And all the other girls are wearing chic cocktail dresses and engraved necklaces, and you're wearing your undies? And not even cute ones, but plain cotton granny panties (or, I guess, granny tighty whities...)?
Well, that was me on Friday afternoon, cowering in my rented baby blue Hyundai-turned-roasting-oven. I called my Pops and left a message asking for urgent prayers that I'd find a modicum of courage, and a friend. Pops called back and told me he was praying, so I pried my sweaty bum from the seat, hit the manual lock on the door, and trudged inside.
And who should I run into right away, but Lisa Wingate? Not only is she one of my top-shelf authors, but she also was a friendly face. Two years ago I met Lisa at a conference in an elevator and we were both on our way to a dinner where we didn't know anyone. So we sat together! She's sweet as pie and then some. And last year at a conference she sat at my table the first night. So, it just felt like a total God-gift, saying, "I got your back, kiddo. Here's a cool friend."
Plus, another girl at our table was just precious and she and I just connected.
And from there, the weekend wasn't just uphill, it was up-mountain! It turns out it wasn't a sorority function at all, it was more like the first day of college, when everyone wants to make new buddies and include you. I met dear hearts I will stay close to, learned some key skills, and laughed like a schizo who ran out of meds.
I knew it would be a "good" weekend, but I didn't expect to be knocked on my bum by the experience.
Jesus, you are so dear to me. Thank you for reaching into me this weekend. Thank you for Lisa, with her mad skills and her sweet smile. And thank you for all the other friends of my heart you blessed me with, for the chance to bask in your presence with six hundred-fifty of your daughters. You are so generous, so good, and I'm madly in love with you. All my love.