Life happens, ya’ll.
Some days it is mundane. Actually, most days its just a mundane mash-up of stuff. Sometimes I go to bed wondering if I actually made any sort of difference in the world. Of course, I kept Tera alive! But sometimes its hard to see the significance of that in the midst of the messes and the diapers and the tantrums.
But knowing God’s truth makes all the difference. Knowing that changing diapers and correcting tantrums brings God glory makes all the difference in the world. Hence, the name of this blog, The Glorious Mundane.
When I started blogging, I also started looking for other blogs to follow. I wanted to gain inspiration, but also to make friends who have similar passions as me. Somewhere along the line, I stumbled upon The Influence Network. The Influence Network is a network of women who love the Lord and desire to have influence for the Lord– wherever they are at. A lot of the women involved in the Network are bloggers or small business owners who desire to have influence for Christ in that realm. However, many of the women involved are not “creatives” and simply desire to have influence for Christ right where they are at- with their husbands, their kids, or their coworkers.
For the past four years, the founders of The Influence Network (Jess Connally and Hayley Morgan) have hosted a conference called The Influence Conference. I’ll do my best to put into words what I experienced at this conference. It was a powerful weekend of worshiping, making new friends, being deeply challenged and refreshed by the Word, and becoming Wild and Free women (I’ll explain more on that in a little bit!).
To be honest, Theo had to push me out the door to go to this conference. My goal was to leave at 2 pm on Thursday, but at 2 pm on Thursday, I was in the NICU holding sweet Little Miss. I got home around 3 and still hadn’t had lunch or finished packing for the conference. I was under the impression that Little Miss would be coming home that weekend, and that would leave Theo solo with two kids, one a newborn with an intense need to be held CONSTANTLY. All that combined with the fact that I knew I wouldn’t be missed, as I knew in the flesh only two people going to the conference, and both of these women were only more than acquaintances. Then, when our car broke down I as starting to think that either God was saying “no”, or Satan was saying, “I don’t want you to go!”. I’m pretty sure it was the latter and I’m glad that I eventually got myself into the truck and started the 2 hour drive. After all, I was only 2 hours away, so I could easily come home if Theo needed me.
On the drive to Indy, I had the windows down and the worship music cranked. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. To be selected as Little Miss’ foster parents? To have a husband willing to stay home and take care of the kiddos? To be able to afford this conference? To have a working vehicle? That was all incredible. It was a beautiful day, and I was eager to get there.
Upon arriving, I met my roomies, who I had never met in my life, and we headed up to our room to drop our stuff off, and then hit the town for some dinner. Since the conference was a the high end of our budget, I knew I was going to have to get smart for eating out. And you know what? I stepped out and picked an appetizer from the menu, hoping that it would be enough to fill me. And it was! For half the price of the entrees, I was able to have enough food to fill me. That’s another God thing right there!!
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for the first session of the night. I felt like I was in the Christian blogger equivalent of Hollywood. Everywhere I looked, I would see someone that follow online and feel like I knew them, but then realized that it would be so strange if I walked up to them and said hi, since it was highly unlikely that they knew me! Haha!
The first session started out with Jess Connally and the other leaders lighting candles, then passing their candles on to light our candles. Pretty soon, every woman in the room had a glowing candle. Jess then proclaimed from the stage.
You are the light of the world. You have influence right where you are.
After a brief introduction, we were introduced to Shama woman, a non-profit in South Eastern Asia that trains women in basic skills like sewing and cosmetology, in order that they can help provide for their families and escape the abuse that is often inflicted on them. The message was the same for these woman as it is for us: You have influence right where you are. The similarities to Shama Woman and The Girls at Risk School in Niger were incredible!
After this brief talk, we were free to mingle and meet! It was a little strange at first, but I finally managed to introduce myself to people at my table and some of the people that I knew online. And then night one was in the books!
Saturday morning dawned bright and early, and I was struggling with lack of sleep and anxiety about leaving Tera and Theo at home (Little Miss was still in the NICU). Breakfast started and was over, and then we dove into the day! I won’t try to recap each session because it was literally like trying to take a sip out of a firehose. Those thoughts will probably be a post for a different time. For now, I’ll just record the actual events of the conference. And I honestly did a horrible job at taking pictures!
One thing I will say is this: those women each spoke LIFE. They had obviously spent a lot of time and prayer in preparing their messages, and the Holy Spirit truly worked in those rooms. After two morning sessions, we were served a lunch while listening to a panel of real women answer real-life questions. This was so refreshing to me. Sometimes it really seems like I’m a nobody. Like I mentioned above…sure I’m a Mom. Some days I’m a good Mom, and some days not so much. But it seems like so many other Moms are so much more than just a Mom. And sometimes I struggle with being just a Mom! Honestly, I do. But over and over again at the conference it was spoken into me that it’s more than just being a Mom. And it’s ok. Because I have influence right where I am at. I loved hearing from women just like me, who don’t necessarily have a hugely successful following, blog or book.
After lunch we again went to another session and then had revival groups. To be honest, I’m not sure why they were called revival groups, but whatevs- there is no point in making a big deal over that. Basically, there were several different ‘sessions’, and each session was a on a different topic. The groups were able to talk, pray, advise, and connect women who were interested in similar topics.
I chose to go the revival session on marriage. To be honest, ever since Tera came along, marriage has been a lot more work. I was seeking encouragement, advise and solidarity. It ended up being a rather discouraging session to me, but I won’t get into details on that.
After the revival sessions, we had a free few hours. These hours were wonderful because it was perfect for unwinding after the sessions, meting up with friends and finding some good food in Indy! I am so thankful for my friend Jenn, so allowed me to join her group for the weekend! It was so wonderful making some new friends and having a whole weekend of girl time!
The ladies I ate dinner with (and spent most of the conference with).
After dinner was one more evening session, and then time to socialize and meet up with other women at the conference. I was so excited to run into some of my favorite Instagram ladies, Melody and Meg! Their feeds are so beautiful, inspirational and real! I loved getting t snap a picture with each of them!
Saturday was the last day of the conference, and the sessions were the same as the day before, only it seemed to me like each session got better and better!
One of my favorite sessions was the one with Lisa-Jo Baker. What an encouraging, gifted woman!
Saturday was my favorite day of the whole conference, and it ended in this amazing dinner out. It was funny that we started as a group of 5 or 6 people, and more ladies from the conference started showing up at the restaurant. Someone would know someone, and their group would join us, making it a huge group!
This was the first time that I had been away from Tera overnight, and with all the stress of getting Little Miss through foster care, I was feeling all the feels on top of all that had happened a the conference. On Saturday night I was planning on driving back after the last session, but as soon as I sat down in the session I realized that there was only one place I wanted to be at that moment, and I hit the road to head home. I honestly don’t regret it. The conference was amazing, but home is where I belong.
Alrighty…so that is the basic recap of the conference. I know, I didn’t go into much detail about what the sessions were about. More on that later (if I can find the time!). I originally thought this was a blogging conference, but instead it was much, much more than that. I left having gained so much knowledge and encouragement!
Stay tuned for a Part II!