The car came to a stop and I took a deep breath. My feet hit the Texas soil and a warm breeze blew my freshly fallen blonde curl across my face. I wondered why I wore my hair down in the first place as the humidity took down each curl by the second. As my brand new cowboy boots hit the Texas soil ever so cautiously and thankfully I took in the smell of new leather. The scent will forever remind me of this time. Sweat dripped from my back and palms, it poured out of my back due to the heat but my palms were the result of my nerves. I was about to meet 200 or so women, in person, that I met online 6 months back. One of these women has inspired me, challenged me and loved on me more than she could imagine. As I began looking around the yard it was full of hanging lanterns and Christmas lights wrapping the trees. Tables were set with beautiful white linens and simple yet eloquent decorations. My new friends piled into this very same yard as laughter billowed from their mouths. Women were hugging as if they knew each other for years. I took a deep breath and stepped through the gate.
A line formed immediately to meet this amazing woman who has touched so many. I walked right past the line and directly to the table where the wine was being served. Meeting new people is scary, expectations are scary, wine is not scary. Familiar faces began to make way through the crowd and the conversations formed even deeper friendships. The line was still there. It was still long and still intimidating. The announcement for food was made and my new friends and I headed straight toward the table filled with the most delicious tacos I have ever had. I sat quietly at the table looking around as I took in the flavor of each bite, each laughter that came from the table and each hug that was exchanged by the many new friends around me.
After dinner I made my way across the yard, pass the line and straight for the famous margarita table. I was stopped in my tracks by an older man who was staring at this amazing women who has inspired me so much. He stood there smiling at her and I couldn’t help but stop and smile with him. “I bet you are so proud.” I said as this woman hugged and talked to everyone in line. Each person approached her with a story, a thank you or a prayer. His southern accent answered, “Oh….why yes I am.” He went on to tell me stories of his little girl playing softball and how him and his wife prayed for her over the years. How they prayed God would use her for His glory, but he never imagined it to be at this level. He never imagine the places God would take his girl, the people she would meet and the women she would touch. We stood there together watching her and I could sense so much love & joy in his daughter. Not for what she has done but for what she has allowed God to do through her. I talked with him for awhile before finishing my route to the margarita table. I left with a knowing of how much our father in Heaven must love us and how proud He is that we are willing to be used for His glory.
It was a little while later when I made my way through this line to meet this woman. The butterflies jumped around inside my stomach with each step closer to the front of the line. I wrestled with what I would say to her in my head. Should I tell her how I first met her while watching the IF conference 2 1/2 years back? How I fell in love with her boldness and truth, yet kept me rolling on the floor laughing. Should I tell her how I connected with her on a deeper level while hearing about her adoption story and how I can relate through our families own story of adoption? Should I tell her how her book 7 inspired me to take a deeper look into the Heavenly desires of this world and get rid of all earthly desires? Or that I think she is beautiful inside and out?
It was my turned and I grabbed her hand and she grabbed mine back with a squeeze. I blurted out something crazy and not anywhere close to what I wanted to say to her. She sweetly told me she felt the same way and complimented my outfit and I was once again speechless by her humbleness and authenticity. We hugged and smiled for a picture and I left feeling so loved and grateful for this experience she gave me with all these women. I have meet new friends, new family that will forever be in my heart and by my side.
I spent the remaining time I had at this party taking in everything this woman has allowed God to create in her. I loved watching the interactions between new friends, women reaching out to other women they didn’t know or women telling other women how they had inspired them over the last 6 months. I loved seeing the woman I have prayed for walk across this lawn smiling and so filled with joy. Grace was poured out among these women, love was given always, and joy was shown on that very lawn that night.
I only left with one regret. I forgot to write this amazing woman a letter. A letter to tell her thank you and that I will always remember this night. A letter that told her that God is up in heaven smiling down on all of us. And that He is so very proud of her. He is standing up there in Heaven with this hands crossed across his chest, looking down upon this night, smiling and unable to look away.
You have gifted me new friendships and a deeper love for the people in my life and people I haven’t met yet. I have a better understanding of community and a greater desire to create it wherever I am. You are a treasure here on earth and in Heaven. If you ever forget how loved you are, your tribe is here to remind you of that always. Your Heavenly and earthly Father’s are proud, your family & friends are proud, and I am proud to be a part of something that was touched my the hand of God. Thank you.
ps. if you ever want to learn the “whip it nae nae” dance, call me. ha!
This is Jen’s “oh bless her” face! haha