On this amazing Fall morning, I am sitting at my favorite local coffee shop (shout out to The Muse), introducing myself to fellow Allume bloggers from around the country, all the while sipping on a honey latte. Haven't had one? You are missing out on a slice of life. You're probably wondering what in the world is Allume (or maybe not). And I wish I could give you a good answer. Basically it's a "small" (if you call 400 small) conference for Christian women bloggers. A number of months ago, I discovered that my very first blog love (Big Mama) was speaking at this conference, so I clicked over to the Allume main page to just see what it was about. Because there was no way I was taking part. I didn't know another blogger. I don't do things by myself. Especially not meeting new people or being part of a big group. So I oogled over how much I'd love to hear from so many of the speakers there. But then I moved on.
Not two weeks later, a friend who came to a Bible Study at my house this past summer saw 'Sparkly Green Earrings' on my counter and asked if I had ever heard of Allume. If you don't think God plans every detail, let this be a lesson that he cares about even what you leave piled on your kitchen counters. Because he uses even that. After all our other friends got over me shrieking and jumping up and down (while making latte's - it was a sight ... trust me), it settled on me that this was just the push I needed to step out of my comfort zone & that God would hold me hand through the fears that would still remain. So that next day, barely after my vacation request was approved, I bought my ticket. And that was that.
Until God moved again. My awesome friend and her husband felt called to a missions opportunity that would keep her from attending Allume with me. And to be honest I am beyond excited for them, and for her faith to follow His calling for them, over and above her "wants". Because I struggle with that. More often than I'd like to admit. But then fear took hold. Remember when I said I wasn't going to go before I had a partner in crime? Well, here I was. Becoming emotionally invested in what I would learn and who I might meet. Friendships I might make. But I desperately wanted to back out. I can clearly remember so many times and days in my life when I felt left out. Alone. Smiling and pretending that all was ok. That I belonged, knowing full well I was an outsider. Those thoughts poured over my mind.....and still do. But I'm prayerfully squashing them a little bit day by day.
Andy's support has encouraged me that no matter how new I am to blogging, that there is a purpose behind the events that have led me to this adventure. And I am so thankful for him walking behind me in this. But, more importantly, then I think about who is walking in front of me.
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
Want to know the funny thing? And I'm sad to say, I just realized it despite dwelling on this verse so much recently. We were studying none other than Deuteronomy in that Bible study. When I read about Allume. When my conference partner was made. When my conference partner was lost. When I thought about backing out. When I committed to staying with it.
And now it's just over five weeks away. And I'll continue to dwell on His goodness. His faithfulness. I wish I could say I won't have moments of fear between now and then. But I'm committing to draw from this verse. And think about what good has already come and the awesome things are yet to come that weekend.
So though I may go alone - I'm not alone.