Hope Spoken : Looking Back

Hope Spoken is just a little over a week past, and I feel like I'm still totally in the "processing it all" phase.  Even now as I sit down to type, I'm not positive what I'll even say.  If it comes up in conversation, I still get teary.
Leading up to Hope Spoken, I was a mess.  Like, sick to my stomach for days, what am I doing kind of mess.  To fly across the country alone....to be picked up at the airport by a complete stranger...to head to a hotel full of 200+ women that I've never actually met (ok, not true, I actually knew one lady there)  It was nuts.  I'm a home-body at the core, and I'm pretty sure I'm becoming more and more of an introvert the older I get.  But I firmly believed that I won that last ticket for a reason, and Hope Spoken was where I was meant to be.
So I packed up and made my way to Dallas.
(enter a delayed flight...sprinting through O'Hare not to miss my next flight...only to sit down on the plane across from THREE ladies also heading to Hope Spoken, awesome!)
 After I arrived and as I got on the elevator heading up to my room, the first face I saw was the lovely Hannah.  I felt just a bit of relief seeing a "familiar" face and giving her a big hug.  And my next trip on the elevator (I promise I didn't just ride the elevator the entire time!) I found myself riding with the very sweet Ashley.  This is the part where rather than complimenting her on her amazing style or adorable kids, I'm pretty sure I said something about brushing my teeth.  Awesome.  Thankfully, I was much less awkward meeting my fantastic roommates, Rachel & Christie.  You ladies are the best!
The conference kicked off Friday night and it was apparent immediately that God was moving in that place.  So many women gathered...open hearts and ready to share their stories.  Over the course of the weekend, I sat completely locked onto the speakers...Shauna, Danielle, Leslie, Jami, Hannah and Lauren...watching as these ladies completely opened up with hearts and exposed so much to us, all with the hope that we could learn and grow from them.  I met a few of the other speakers including Jess & Shannon as well, and I sure do wish that I could have attended their breakout sessions too.
I have so many notes written down and so much crammed into my brain and heart,
but I'll try to share a few points that really stood out for me.

- From Sauna :

if you're tired of the hustle, try going back to the beginning.
at the beginning is LOVE.

saying "no" will allow me to say "yes" to the things that are truly important.
and always remember that "No" is a complete sentence.

- From Danielle :

- we don't have to spend our time waiting on the will of God if we are living IN his will.
Be living in TRUTH instead of waiting for it.

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

From Leslie : 

- everything broken has been replaced by a testimony.

- faith grows in pain, and pain always offers us a choice.

- God will often not tell you WHAT to do until He tells you WHO you are.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) Now faith is confidence in what we hope for
and assurance about what we do not see.

From Jami :

- God sees what WE love and chase, and He loves and chases US.

- always point yourself and others towards something greater than rules, laws and advice.

- Jesus is the ONLY hope & answer to any situation.

From Hannah :

- you can feel grief & joy at the same time.

- in all of our difficulties or circumstances, keep our gaze on Him.

- Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV) Call to me and I will answer you and tell you
great and unsearchable things you do not know.

From Lauren : 

- Psalm 107

- God pulled the Israelites into the desert.
When your soul is tired, it's a good place, and it is temporary.

- why would we ever believe that the cross didn't apply to us?

- our calling is and always will be to Jesus FIRST.

 - He will show us and help us use our gifts.
So there.  Bullet points just cannot do it justice,
but hopefully it gives you a taste of the amazing testimonies we heard.
What I felt the most throughout the weekend was just how much Jesus longs to be in a relationship with us.  A real-deal, all the time relationship.  Not just a quick morning devotions followed by prayers only in times of need kind of relationship.  A deeper, more trusting, more loving and honoring relationship.  God the Father sacrificed his son for us.  In times of trouble or hurt, we so often question God's love for us, but instead we need to remind ourselves of that incredible sacrifice...of how Jesus was sent to this earth to be OUR advocate.
  Our life, our everything we owe to HIM.

So the Hope Spoken 2015 lineup has been announced, and I will certainly be trying to snatch up one of those tickets!  More connections...more learning...less worrying about feeling so socially awkward...more picture taking - oh, I was so bad at that this time!...more stepping out of my comfort zone...more growth...more Jesus...more HOPE.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:14 (NIV)