Reflections on MomCon 2013 – Part 2 (Washed in a firehose of Spirit-led teaching)

For part 1 click here
On the morning of MomCon day 2 I woke up groggy and in pain. A dreaded sinus headache had descended during the night, and unfortunately I had forgotten to bring along my sinus rinse. I dragged myself into the shower and my husband persuaded my to go down and eat some breakfast. Coffee and French toast revived me enough that I decided I’d live, and we drove off to the Convention Center. I’d made our hotel reservation too late to get a room at one of the hotels within walking distance, so my dear hubby had to navigate the one-way streets and city traffic to drop me off and pick me up each day.
I made it just before the main session began, and I’m so thankful that I didn’t let the attack of a sinus headache keep me away. After a soul-soothing time of worship, Alexandra Kuykendall, author of The Artist’s Daughter and daughter-in-law to Carol whom I’d heard the first day got up to speak. Her words continued the theme of vulnerability and transparency as she encouraged us to acknowledge the mess, embrace the mess, and thus give others the freedom to say “me too.” She said that she had gone first by writing her memoir, telling her messy story, and now it was our turn. I took a deep breath and made a silent promise to find ways to be more real with people, whether it be back home at MOPS, play group, or even with someone sitting here at the conference with me.
Next Beth Moore took the stage. I’d watched videos of Beth while doing her study, but hearing her in person was a whole new level of encouragement and empowerment. I’ve never heard a woman speak so passionately and yet so humbly, acknowledging again and again that she is broken but that God has taken her brokenness and redeemed it for His glory. She reminded us that Jesus Christ is our anchor (Hebrews 16:19). If we have a saving faith in Him we are tied to the anchor, but true peace and joy can only come when we grab hold of the rope ourselves by saying “My God, I trust in you alone.” How comforting, yet convicting her words were! Too often I act like a “Christian atheist,” acknowledging Christ with my words while trying to take care of everything myself, totally disconnected from the Holy Spirit. Yet I know that if I can just relax into the Father’s arms He will give me His peace which flows regardless of my circumstances. How I long for this!

Beth ended her time on stage on her knees, praying a blessing over us. It was powerful. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place as we headed off for our lunch break.
After I wandered through the Marketplace (and spent too much money at the Thirty-One booth) I bought a couple of over-priced sandwiches and Chris met me by the entrance to share lunch. By now I was starting to feel a little more confident finding my way on my own, but I was grateful I didn’t have to eat by myself. That would have been a little too pathetic.
The afternoon workshops filled up quickly, but I was able to find a seat next to a friendly lady from Nebraska. The workshop was about being intentional in how you raise your family. It was advice I’d heard before, but could always benefit from a reminder. Things like studying the Bible as a family, deciding on the values and priorities you want to set ahead of time, and how we as parents are the gatekeepers for what we allow into our children’s lives. The speaker, Tricia Goyer, ended by reminding us that our ultimate goal should be modeling obedience to God through our lives to our children. So hard in our selfish, materialistic culture, but absolutely vital if we want to truly follow the heart of God.
The lady I’d sat next to in the workshop invited me to sit with her and her team for the next part too. It was nice to have someone to chat with while we waited for the session to start. The last session that day was headlined by Lysa Terkerst, speaker and author of best sellers like What Happens When Women say Yes to God, and Unglued.

Lysa shared with us healthy was to handle emotions during conflict. She called fights and arguments “growth opportunities” and gave some funny examples of times when she had responded in the wrong way, like when she gave her teenage daughter a long, blistering lecture and then discovered she had unknowingly been on the phone the whole time. With her pastor. She used the wisdom of Proverbs to remind us how powerful our words are for good or evil, and encouraged us not to let our feelings govern our reactions. Again I was humbled, knowing that my tongue can often be sharp, especially when I’m tired and impatient (and what mother isn’t?). I know I can’t control what comes out of my mouth (James 3 is a great reminder) unless I turn to the power of the Holy Spirit. If only that were easier…I guess I would get better at it with more practice. 🙂
After the evening session was over I bid my new friend goodbye and went off to meet my hubby for dinner. After a ridiculously difficult time finding our way to The Cheesecake Factory (we parked in a parking structure and then proceeded to walk in every direction but the right one to get to the restaurant…talk about a “growth opportunity” for our marriage!) we fully appreciated the delicious food and of course dessert (we split our favorite, chocolate tuxedo cheesecake. Yum!) 🙂

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