Monday, September 24, 2012

Women of Faith

This weekend I did something I have never done before, I went away without a husband or child in tow.  Yep, sadly I have never been away from my family in the last nine years of marriage or six of mommyhood.  I was way overdue for sure.  The wonderful lady who runs my small group from church decided to be brave and lead a group of ladies to Women of Faith in Atlanta, Georgia, and after hearing her talk about it a few times, I brought it up to Daniel.  I figured it was a no go due to money issues and the stress it would be on him to have me gone almost three full days.  However, I was really surprised when he said go!  After a few days of saying are you sure, I paid the down payment and said yep I will go. 

I was so excited and scared to go.  I went back in forth many times in the weeks before the trip, I would go from excited to scared to death.  I have never left my babies!  I got really excited when, besides my awesome women friends from my church, three wonderful friends from outside my church decided to join me.  I was thrilled, I love these three ladies and we never get enough time to hang out. 

Thursday night came and I started packing, but had a minor panic attack and could not pack a single thing.  I was texting one friend and Facebooking another friend on my desktop.  I could not breath, I could not imagine leaving my one year old and my sweet special needs child.  My poor husband ran to the store to buy a few items I needed and came back and in the hour he was gone I had done nothing.  But finally my friends talked me down off the "ledge" and I bravely packed and caught a few hours of sleep.

Friday I was shaking but I bravely, dressed myself and my kiddos and we loaded up to drop me off up the street to the friend driving and then Daddy took Emma to school.  I did not cry till they pulled away and I could see the sweet sad face of Emma, she was not happy mommy would not be there to put her to bed for two nights.  I thought briefly of running down the street to catch them but I held strong.  But soon, my three friends joined me in the driveway and we loaded up and headed out.

After the almost five hour drive and nonstop talking!  Yep it was awesome!  We arrived at our hotel, checked in and got ready to head to dinner then the amazing conference.  It was a great night full of laughter, praising God, and making new memories with friends new and old.  I could slowly feel the stress of six years of raising a child with medical needs releasing.  I felt lighter and lighter as the weekend went on. 

Saturday was full of amazing women sharing stories full of God's proof that even though we walk in the valley's sometimes, we are not alone.  He has a plan and He can make Beautiful things come out of the dark.  Wow!  Words I so needed to hear and hear again and again.  I could just feel God's arms around me "Saying rest my daughter, I am here to hold you and give you rest from the storms".  Rest I did, I spent the two days of the conference taking in all the sights, the sounds, the praise and the word of God and letting it heal the exhaustion and anxiety that had been in me for so long.  I told my husband in a text that night, "I found Rachel again"  "I forgot who that was", as much as I love my role as mother and wife it was nice to find me again.  For three days that was who I was.  Do not get me wrong I missed my children and husband more then words could express, but time away to recharge is okay and much needed.  IT helped that my awesome Hubby had it all together her at home and the kiddos had a great time being with daddy.  Props goes to my husband who bravely took on ballet class, church, my hometown homecoming parade and two nights of bedtime alone!  You Rock!!

I could write forever about how wonderful these last three days have been, but I will not.  I will just say I am thankful for Claudia who lead the 22 women from this area down to Atlanta to experience the joy of Women of Faith!  It was life changing and healing to this heart.  God Is Good!  Celebrate what matters most! 

 The food and fellowship was so great that first night!

 This sweet friend and I have been through the valley's together and have been on the mountain top together too.  I love her!
 The first thing we saw, yep made me miss my sweet little ballerina who was at home.
 The speakers at Women of Faith!
 Ice Cream snack on break with some of the sweetest ladies I know and love!
 The Jesus Painter!  One word Amazing!!
 Tears flowed while he painted this amazing piece of art!
 These ladies where amazing part of the worship at WOF, I loved everytime the joined the singers on stage.
 Friends from two different parts of my life, but the cool thing is now they are also friends and they both came with me.  Love it!
 Some of the twenty-two ladies!  Love them all!
 Alicia Z and me had a great chance to get to know each other better and I learned to love her sweet heart even more. 
 Each lady has such a different story to share, but one thing was the same God is Good!
 Just me laying in the floor when we found out we were locked out of our room, was a little tired by this point.  Little sleep and a lot of fun!
 The awesome swag bags are leader Claudia had for us at the afterparty PJ party in her hotel room!
 Claudia in the hello kitty and Rosanne!  Sweet loving ladies!
One shot of the after party, yep I might be dancing and we will leave it at that!

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