Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A lame attempt at putting into words the impossible...

I assure you that no matter how I try the details of my weekend in Atlanta cannot be accurately put into words. This is my attempt...

Ok so here is the lowdown of my Atlanta weekend....

Thursday morning (a week ago) we headed out to the Pittsburgh Airport where I met Chrissy. Our flight left Pittsburgh around 1:30 and we arrived in Atlanta just a few minutes late due to a little "weather". At the airport we were greeted with open arms by Yvette and Kenzie. We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and returned to the airport to wait for Angie and Kim. We headed out to eat at a local Ruby Tuesday's and it was like a gathering of old friends. I am not a person who immediately feels at ease with strangers, and yet this was nothing like that. These women were certainly not strangers. I had shared in their lives and they had shared in mine for months, during some of the lowest valleys life has to offer. It was indescribable. Even as I type I am at a loss because words simply do not do justice to what this was like for me. I invite you to visit their blogs also because they have done a great job of relaying the details.

I also must add that after I was invited I was skeptical. I had decided I would pray on it. I gave a date by which I would make a decision and all signs were pointing at NO. We were going on vacation, Ben had surgery and when I checked for a ticket they were sold out! That was when I got a little nudge, then sweet Kim provided a ticket and a sweet blog reader provided a plane ticket. Then an anonymous person sent the money for the hotel room. I kind of felt like I was being shoved forcefully:-). I was nervous wreck. I felt God was calling me to go, but I was dragging my feet like a two year old at the county fair! Then all of my reasons not to go were eliminated and every detail was taken care of. So off I flew on my FIRST flight to meet a bunch of my closest friends I met on the Internet. (I still feel crazy as I type those words just as I did each time I tried to explain the trip to people!)

Anyhow, back to the story...(this post is likely to show the ADD side of me). After dinner we went back to the hotel rooms for a little more bonding and girl talk. It was great. All women from different parts of the country, different personalities, and different backgrounds hanging out like sisters on two beds in a little hotel room. That was when Emily showed up. About 2 in the morning, true Emily style! Needless to say we got little sleep that night, or any other now that I think about it...

The next morning we put on our matching t-shirts, created by Emily with each of our babies names on them. Until this point I had not gotten overly emotional, but to walk behind some of my friends seeing all of our sweet babies' names in print, it hit me. I could not hold back the tears. When we got to the lobby of the hotel we got to meet another blogger mom Kirsten and then it was off to the airport again to pick up Karen! We greeted her as we ate lunch at the airport and then we were off to the conference...ready to go Deeper Still! Friday night we were honored to listen as Pricilla Shirer taught. She spoke to the wilderness season of life we are all finding ourselves in using the book of Exodus as reference to God's goodness in these times. Her teaching truly touched me. It was one of those moments where you look around the room because you know there are thousands of others sitting around you and yet you feel that the teacher is speaking directly to YOUR heart.

Then we went back to the Hotel and ordered some PIZZA and had some more time to talk and share with each other. I can honestly say each of the women in that room taught me something about what it is like to live each day knowing that God will give the grace needed for whatever circumstance arises. I sat there stunned sometimes...stunned that I was in a room surrounded by such amazing women, I needed this. My heart needed this.

After an obscenely minute amount of sleep we got up the next morning to continue our journey going "Deeper Still" (corny I know, that is me). We worshipped and sang our hearts out. Then again it is tough not to get personal with God when MANDISA is leading worship! (I happen to LOVE Mandisa if you could not tell) I cannot even begin to describe what it felt like to stand amidst seven other women who had recently been through such heartache (and probably thousands of other women who have endured unbearable pain) and see each of them with outstretched arms, praising our God even in this. I think these "even in this" moments are such defining moments. It is easy to praise God when life is good and everything is going well, but when at the pit of our being, you are forced to question everything you know to be true and you realize that there is only one truth and that God is holding you even in this moment where you feel the air has been sucked from your lungs and you open your mouth and are able to make a joyful noise and praise Him for who he is, those moments praising through tears, hurt and anger are when you feel like collapsing to the floor in a puddle of tears, but you are able to stand tall, lift your hands and praise the one who blesses each of us daily, to me, those moments prove without a doubt that there IS a God and he is a God of love and compassion.
June 28 marked exactly one year since Emily's sweet Miller Grace had entered Heaven and I cannot tell you the honor it was to be with her on that day. It also marked one month since Karen's amazing Jacob greeted all of our babies in Heaven. Those two women handled that tough day with such grace. It was a privilege to stand next to them as they worshipped the God who blessed their lives with these sweet gifts.

We then listened to Kay Arthur speak, well pretty much about the whole Bible! That woman has such a passion for God's word that I think she has every word in the Bible memorized! She has a passion that is contagious and so very evident. Then we got to learn more as Beth Moore taught us some equally powerful things from the Bible. We then got to go back stage and we were led into an empty room where Ms. Beth Moore followed us to. As she entered she hugged each of us and spoke some of the most loving and authentic words I had heard. She looked each of us in the eyes and asked how she could specifically pray for each of us. She then asked us all to kneel on the floor in a circle, knees touching, and she prayed over each of us while laying her hands on us. She prayed the most powerful and bold prayers and I only wish I could remember each word. She had her picture taken with us and then said she would love to meet us again in the future to see where God takes us as she was sure great things were in store. It was unbelievable. We all sobbed and were so encouraged by her and her authenticity.

We then ate dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and headed to Target to buy stuff to SMASH. Apparently it is supposed to be therapeutic, but I am not so sure it serves it's purpose as you are laughing hysterically, terrified of getting "in trouble" since it was LATE and at a hotel on the balcony. We shared our broken pieces with each other, each having her own plans for the pieces. Then, Yvette led us in another activity, symbolic of a post I did a while back titled "Encouragement". It has been such an honor to help carry these precious girls to Jesus in prayer as they have also done much for me.

We stayed up late yet again chatting through laughter and tears. The morning came way to quickly and good byes began early. Angie was the first to leave, then Kim, then Yvette and then Kenzie. Emily drove the rest of us to the airport and in true Kristy fashion Chrissy and I missed our flight. After crying to the woman at the desk she squeezed us onto the next flight and handed me a coupon for a free "drink" on the plane. She knew I needed to chill out! What a sweet woman! Then that flight was delayed about an hour and a half. So Chrissy and I sat with Kenzie at her gate for a while as her flight had been delayed also, then we went to our gate and waited.

I arrived home at about 9:30! Then Ben's surgery was in the I am STILL running on fumes!

It was so tough saying goodbye to all of these women as they are women I would love to call when I am having a bad day and say, let's go do something fun or "break stuff", and they would "get it". Above all though I am so thankful I have been given this opportunity. It is funny to me that a little blog I started months ago mainly for myself has blossomed into such a healing tool, but I am learning that anything God does is amazing. I cannot imagine walking this journey without these seven women who have embraced me fully in my brokenness. I also cannot imagine walking this journey without the support of all of the Internet friends I have made along the way. Thank you ALL for being a part of our story! Every comment means so much! I am able to see God's people doing his work each and every day! Thank you God! You truly know exactly what I need and you NEVER fail me! Though my heart is still aching I can honestly say I have SEEN God. I have seen Him in each of these precious women this weekend. I continue to see him in so many of you who shine his light so beautifully. Let your light SHINE!
I know that there are many of you out there who are going through the wilderness and I encourage you to reach out to someone else, God never intended for us to walk through life alone. Together we can encourage each other. We are called to carry the mat for someone else when they are to weary to get there on their own. Thank you all for carrying my mat!


So Blessed said...

Thanks for this heart-touching description of a wonderful, blessed weekend shared with the other mommies who share your grief journey. Amazing, isn't it, how our God brings the right people into our lives at just the right time? He is so good. I continue to pray for you and your family.

sumi said...

Kristy, I just love your heart!

Thank you for sharing.

Laurie in Ca. said...

Beautiful and heart touching post of your weekend. It WAS meant for you to go and be blessed. I just love how God works!! I am just so happy to know that each of you left this past weekend with new hope and joy, having met the Lord so deeply. Your heart is so sweet and I have been so blessed in following Happy's story and walking this journey with you. I know He has great things in store for you Kristy, and I am excited to pray for it to unfold for you. I love you.

Laurie in Ca.

The Pittsburgh Hites said...

There are tears in my eyes as I type this. I am so happy that you went on this trip, i can feel just from the words of your post how it affected you.
I'm thanking God that you had this experience, and am hoping that it helped soothe your soul.
I need to get some sleep, we're headed home early in the morning. I promised Maggie we'd be there for church!

Anonymous said...

Dear Kristy,
I am in tears reading this beacuse I can see how important it was for you to physically touch these women who know you more than anyone else and share your sorrow as no one else can. I AM SO GLAD YOU WENT! Love, MELANIE

Anonymous said...

Your last paragraph just totally choked me up. How I wish I had several someones I felt comfortable with to ask to help with carrying my mat. I'm living in a totally new place, very far from family and familiar friends, and it is a place where friendships take eons to build. God has given me a season of life where He is asking me to trust without any sight into what is ahead. So often I wish there were someone here in my town who could know how hard it is for me to learn to trust, especially when all my typical "leaning posts" are too far away to help. I'm going to pray that God does send someone who "gets it" and understands where I'm at today. You are right....we weren't meant to do this life alone.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful description of what had to be an AWESOME experience! Not only to connect with others who are going through the same pain, but to be able to share each other's load! What a wonderful gift from God!! I'M SO GLAD THAT HE WORKED THINGS OUT SO THAT YOU COULD GO! And to meet and pray with Beth Moore......such a God-filled weekend! (I would have loved to hear Mandisa too!)

We continue to lift you up in prayer!

Anonymous said...

Kristy, you have the most wonderful inspiration and Love for God. You are so fortunate to have connected with such loving friends with whom you can share your wounded heart. I am in the wilderness right now in my life having lost twins 5 months ago yesterday. It was a very difficult day to handle, being around people who just don't understand how that loss feels and not having a friend just to say a prayer with you and let you cry on their shoulder.