Sunday, May 1, 2011

Women of Faith - Getting There was Half the Battle

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(I'm about to be very transparent and honest here...just warning you...it took some guts to get some of this down on "paper")

Last year, Kelly had a giveaway for a ticket for Women of Faith in Columbus and although I didn't win, the winner found out she could not attend and Kelly asked me if I wanted to go.  I desperately wanted to go, but just could not make it with my work schedule and the 5 hour drive.  God had better plans.  So this year when Kelly had the giveaway again, I entered and prayed that if it was God's plan for me to go, I would win this giveaway.  And I remember thinking that if I won the giveaway, there was nothing keeping me from Columbus!  So when Kelly did the drawing and I won...I made plans right away to get to Columbus, to Women of Faith...and nothing was going to stop me.

Let me just tell you that saying that then was a lot easier then saying that the week of the event.  When we are about to be blessed, the devil tries every way that he can to take that blessing from us or make us doubt God's gifts.  The conversations we have with ourselves probably talk us out of so many blessings.  And they almost talked me out of mine.

Now, I should probably let you in on something I have been a little relunctant to share on this blog.  A few of you know, but I have really not wanted to share in fears of the reprocussions toward the adoption process at this moment. 

Last week I got a pink slip.  My grant is ending and the grant we were hoping would supplement is not being funded this year.  On Monday it was pretty much confirmed that my current position will no longer be funded after June. 

Just like that I was having to decide if I should make this trip or not.  Guilt began to invade my mind and thoughts like, "How could you spend that gas money when you know you aren't going to have a job soon?" and accusations like, "You are so selfish to be going out of town when so much has to be done for the adoption."

Then, lies from the enemy began to try and take over.  I always knew men struggled with their identity when they were laid off from a job or fired, but I never thought I would have those same thoughts.  Thoughts like, "They just don't like you" and "You're not good enough".  And of course all the "If only" thoughts.  "If only I hadn't been on leave for 6 weeks after both my losses, they would try to keep me on" and "If only I hadn't chosen to go to a shorter contract to try and get pregnant..."   

Please don't stop reading there...I have to explain that I know that all of these are untrue and that my work family are compassionate, caring people.  They have been so supportive after my losses and I know if it were in their power, things would be different.  And I also must say that I knew three years ago that this was a possibility.  I was hired through a three year federal grant with the hopes of finding alternate funding at the end of the cycle.  The reason this is so much harder right now is because of the adoption.  Worst case scenario, we could still be denied.  Best case scenario, we have to pay a fee and change our homestudy.  When I know where I will be going from here, we will know more, but I do ask for your prayers.

Anyway, Women of Faith...

I made up my mind that I was still going.  I was going to borrow my mom's car (it gets WAY better gas milage than our Jeep) to save on gas money and I was going to go.   I had a feeling God was going to bless me and I wasn't going to let a little thing like loosing my job stop me :)

Then more lies started to invade my thoughts.  "There is no way you are going to make it safely driving that far by yourself.  You will get lost, break down or worse."  And then I realized something.  This same realization struck me about a week before I moved into my first dorm room.  As exciting as that was and as Women of Faith was there was one part about it that  made me a little relunctant...all the women.

I know that may sound funny, but some of you know what I am talking about.  I grew up with two brothers.  I had a half sister, but she only lived with us for a short while.  Girls in school always perplexed me at the petty things that would ruin a friendship and how cruel they could be to each other.  I know now that when girls want to bully, it often isn't physical, it is through words and exclusion.  So the thought of being surrounded by that many women all weekend took me back to the feeling of thinking of living with a bunch of them in a college dorm. 

And again, lies started to come.  "They aren't going to like you"  "You are not as (fill in the blank...pretty, confident, spiritual, fun...) as all the other ladies"

These thoughts were the hardest to dismiss, especially with the recent set back in confidence from the pink slip (which, by the way, isn't pink at all).

You see, not only was I just attending a Women's Conference, I was attending it with some pretty awesome ladies.  The women of Sufficient Grace Ministries, including Kelly and Holly and I was also going to meet Erin.  On top of that we were going to try to meet Angie Smith!  Whew!  How could I compare to these ladies?  They are awesome, world changing women!  Kelly started Sufficient Grace, Holly is one of the most caring bloggers out there and has shared her story with so many (and she does SO good at remembering everyone's special dates!) and Erin is changing policy for the benefit of mother's who experince stillbirth.  Wow.  I am amazed at these women.  And I'm sure that most of you are familiar with Angie Smith.

But as excited as I was for the opportunity to hear and meet Angie, I was even more excited to meet these other three ladies.  They are such great role models and they are using their grief and experienced in such great ways and reacing out and inspiring. 

And I might have been a little nervous because they are the first people I was ever going to meet in real life that I met on the internet...again something I would have rolled my eyes at five years ago.

When the day came that I was going to leave, I was still wondering if it was too late to back out.  But I didn't.  I packed up and left on Thursday afternoon and drove the slightly over 5 hour trip North to Columbus, Ohio.

And boy am I glad I did!

(More on Women of Faith coming soon with lots of pictures!)

6 comments:

Caroline said...

I'm so glad you went sounds like a wonderful time. I read Kelly's blog too. I'm glad nothing stopped you. I'm from Ohio , I grew up there and I so wish i could have went.
Look forward to hearing more about it.

ccc said...

I have to admit everything you wrote sounds like me sometimes! I realized long ago that the father of lies will definitely try to keep us from good and he does it by making it look like we are trying to do the right thing!
I am so glad you went.

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Mattie,

I love you and I loved meeting you. So glad you were brave and made the trip. I wish we could have had more time to talk, but I really enjoyed the time I did spend with you! I wondered, too, during the week prior to our trip how all of the different women and various personalities would get along with one another. I even questioned if I should have kept the group smaller (before we went, of course...when I was doubting). But, I'm so glad that everyone came. It was exactly as it was supposed to be! And, next year, we would love to take a group again!

I can't wait to read more about your thoughts on the weekend. It was amazing.

Much love,
Kelly

Radiant Readhead said...

I was here, and you STILL have me on the edge of my seat!! lol. I had so much fun with you ladies! I could not have asked for a better group of women to hang out with. I am so glad you decided to ignore all the evil thoughts, and joined us. it will be one of my fondest weekends!

Melani said...

Good for you for recognizing Satan's wisperings, and not allowing him to win. That would be such an awesome event to attend. I can't wait to read about the rest. So sorry for your not so pink, pink slip. The Lord will provide a way for you, I know He will. Praying for you!

Holly said...

The devil does do that to us when he knows something great is gonna happen! I'm so glad that you dismissed his lies and came! :) I always get a little nervous meeting new people (even those I feel like I know well through blogs). You are so wonderful and I was so happy to finally meet you in person! And it wasn't awkward at all ;) it was so great!!!!!