I don't think I can sum it up in this post so expect a few coming!
What I'll talk about now is how healing it was for me. It's no secret that I had a really rough summer. I felt betrayed, hurt, disappointed and really angry. I didn't want to trust a soul again. I didn't want to open up my heart and my life to another woman for fear of it being trampled again and tossed around like garbage. I couldn't handle it happening again. I'm well aware how awful of a place this is but it was my reality. And I'm so thankful to be out of it.
This weekend, filled with 200 strangers - helped heal that hurt. It reminded me why I get up and press on. I met some incredible women and my heart felt better and better with each kind word spoken into this mess of a heart.
Like when Emily told me she knew who I was. #shocked - I nearly cried. I think she is just amazing and the fact that she knew me and my blog just made my heart so happy! And we talked about adoption and her story. I love her honesty. Life is messy and I'm grateful to anyone who admits it, learns from it and shares it. This was probably the best part of my whole weekend.
Or when Brittany and I had so many conversations in our room and throughout the whole weekend. Sharing our stories, where we came from and where we are going. This girl gets me. And she loved me despite all my imperfections. I cherish the relationship we grew this weekend.
Or Mackenzie, Megan and I had dinner with some other lovely ladies but spent the whole time talking our life and the joys that are coming! And the many conversations just hanging out in our room. These two are precious and I was so, so, so thankful to room with them and get to know them for real!
Or when Casey comforted me when I told her how I had spent most of the time working up the courage to talk to her - how sweet and genuine she was in listening to my heart and the fear I have about my life going forward - but how to not live in that fear but let it go.
Or when I got to meet Arielle and was just elated she was there. I thought she looked familiar and she responded to my tweet letting me know she was there. She is so kind - as sweet as she is on her blog!
Or when I had my meals with a table of strangers only to feel welcomed and included.
Or when I got to meet and chat with Emily Freeman - she's the real deal and I felt like she was speaking right to me through her whole session.
Or when Julie asked me about some personal things that I shared with her and Casey - and just talked with me.
Or when you hear 200+ women singing there hearts out (in harmony too! #love), it hits a soft spot in your heart.
...see what I mean. This weekend was so good for so many reasons. I have so much more to write about the inspiration I received in my blogging endeavors and the joy of making new friends. But this was what I needed most. Healing. Freedom. Letting go of the past and moving into the present.
There were so many more of these moments but those were my highlights. They helped in more ways than I can comprehend of put into words. This broken girl NEEDED these moments. I am coming away refreshed and renewed to invest my heart again and reminded - it's worth it. No one can take my influence away. I have a story. I have a mess and Yeshua, my King of kings, can use it for GOOD.
I consider myself so fortunate to now know these women IN.REAL.LIFE.
More to come for sure as I process all this good stuff and move forward.
Note: All photos are mine and sorry for not editing them!