Monday, October 25, 2010

Relevant.

This past weekend I attended my first ever blogging conference Relevant. I had no idea what to expect. I was traveling with a dear friend from my church. I did know I wanted to hear Ann Voskamp speak and hopefully meet her. That I wanted to see and meet Sally Clarkson. And along the way make some connections with some wonderful women. All of this was successful. What I didn't expect is that I would be changed in my heart. That my perspective would be opened up and challenged. That I would hunger for the Lord more.
I look forward to sharing some stories with you about the trip. I think the only way I can share this experience with you is through stories. Bear with me as I sort through my thoughts. It might take awhile. =) I'll share a little on the way.

I just want to say thank you to all of you who read. You keep me going. Knowing that you are there, that you are reading, that you care enough to come back and read my thoughts helps me get through my day sometimes. Having you read has given my thoughts a voice. For years and years I was the quiet and compliant one, keeping my thoughts to myself, not wanting to cause disagreements. But this little place has helped give me the boldness for Christ. To share my thoughts has made me feel more comfortable to share my thoughts in a public forum such as women's bible studies and in my circle of friends. I have so many of you to thank. Thank you for supporting and encouraging me in this simple place. Thank you for commenting on my thoughts. For letting me know I am not alone. For emailing me your struggles. For emailing me your encouragement. My favorite part of blogging has been the connections I've made. While it certainly doesn't substitute for real, face-to-face interaction (and that is always my choice), the soul connections I've made online have been incredible. The virtual world is crazy, messed-up, overwhelming, and scary. But it is also real. It is real women sharing their real hearts and getting beyond the chit-chat to what really matters.
Many of you are my friends in real life. I thank you for supporting me! I thank you for reading! It brings me great joy when you comment to me in person what I have written about. If you read, comment. Otherwise I feel like I'm throwing precious thoughts out there to nowhere land. =)
I have been blogging since 2006. In blog years, that is a long time. Longer than most. I started blogging when people had no idea what a blog was. It was just a way for my thoughts to get their voice. I am thankful for this place. And thankful for you. Thankful I can share my stories with you all, thankful we are all on this journey together. Thankful we can lift each other up with truth. I sincerely love each and every one of you and think you all are the most wonderful people God has created. Love your Lord, love your husband, love your children. And let's keep on, sisters!

"Because the voice of a fellow-traveller always stimulates his brother-pilgrim, what one finds and speaks of and rejoices over, sets the other upon determining to find too. God has been very good to you, as well as to me, but we ought to whisper to each other now and then, 'Go on, step faster, step surer, lay hold on the Rock of Ages with both hands.' You never need be afraid to speak such words to me. I want to be pushed on, and pulled on and coaxed on."
~Elizabeth Prentiss


Links:
Others share their Relevant stories
I missed it, but I'm still Relevant
Relevant '10

17 comments:

Kathi @ A Mother's Prayers said...

Every post I have read about Relevant is saying the exact same thing. It was amazing.

I know I'm a pretty new reader, but I wanted to say thank you for sharing. Knowing I'm 'not the only one' helps more than I ever realized it could. And we all need a voice. Even if it's a blog voice. I love the quote going around from Ann Voskamp, something like the writing helps the blogger...but it also blesses the reader, and both heal. (Of course, in much more beautiful, poetic prose)

I'm looking forward to your Relevant Stories. I can't wait (and I'll have some time these nights to read them...in bed...by 9PM:)

Have a great week Andrea!

~Kathi

Sandi said...

Looking forward to reading your thoughts and words.

Love the quote in at the end. :o)

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

We think you're pretty awsome too, Andrea.

Looking forward to more of what you learned at your conference.

Aimee said...

i am so glad that you have this quiet, thoughtful, authentic space...you know I would be devastated if you ever left :) I'll be calling you later!!

Stacy said...

It sounds wonderful. I am looking forward to the stories, whenever you have time to process them and write them out. :)

And thank you for sharing here.

Love to you and yours today!

Sheila @ Dodging Raindrops said...

Your blog is one of the first that I started reading and is still in my top 3. :)

I look forward to hearing about Relevant!

LeAnn said...

I look forward to your stories. You always touch my heart. Thank you!

laurel said...

I am so thankful that we went from blogging friends to real life friends. I love you and your blog. Can't wait to read more about what you learned.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to reading all about your weekend.
love,
dorothy

Elise @A Path Made Straight said...

Oh, I'm so thankful for the courage I hear in your *voice*! Not that you haven't long been brave, but there's a tenuous strength and joy in declaring thanks and encouragement to others... to me.

Keep pushing me, pulling me, coaxing with your beautiful spirit. Your existence adds to the beauty...

Thank you, kind friend. I was with you in spirit. :) xoxo

ROBBIN (with 2 b's) said...

Thank you for sharing, inspiring, challenging and encouraging me each time I stop by your lovely blog space. It is such a blessing to me!

firstpearl said...

Your blog is one I check everyday. I have even printed some out! Your thoughts are landing on open ears. Thank you for being willing to share--I often feel lifted up after reading.

Cheryl said...

I didn't realize you were going to be there, I was there too! It was incredible!

Teena said...

every single blog I read about Revelant is saying the same thing. I followed lots through twitter and I want to blog about it! Crazy I know.

I want people to comment.... I love blogging. I am so glad you were able to meet Ann! That is so cool.

We are a hs-ing family....

blessings $ Hugs
Teena

daniele @ domestic serenity said...

I'm up with the flu, can't sleep and checking out blogs from those met at Relevant. Nutty, right!? SO glad to have stopped by your space here in cyber world and even more excited to have met you in real life!

Write on, you have a gift of words. Write on...for His glory!

Natalie said...

I'm so glad that we got to experience and begin to process Relevant together! I've yet to write a full post about it- I need time to process and pray. You know I love your words online and IRL. Keep pressing on, sister!

Miriam said...

Continually blessed by your blogging, Andrea... all these years!