Saturday, October 17, 2009

Before I tumble into bed....

I had an absolutely indescribable day. Loved every minute of it! From 8:30am to 5:30pm I was at the Celebrate the Glory conference. I spoke of this conference before here at The Fruit of Her Hands. It is designed to encourage families to study God's Word together every day, and is held in a beautiful outdoor community center. This was the third year for the annual conference.

Wonderful speakers and music! Very encouraging. Dad and I even had the pleasure and honor of speaking at a session, as I mentioned we would on this blog several days ago. Between sessions I sold books and CDs at our family's table, and got to talk with folks. I saw so many friends and met so many wonderful new people!

Some dear friends of ours, whom we've not seen in over a year, came to the conference and then came home with us for supper afterward. Their family is very musical, and we not only had splendid fellowship in talking and laughing and praying and singing together, but got to have a "jam session" too, with two guitars, a banjo, a dobro, a mandolin, and five fiddles/violins!!!!

I have been running on adrenalin for just about the last 48 hours... I have tasted only one of my meals today, and can remember only about 1/3 of what I heard and said this morning. My toes are still warming up from the freezing weather during the outdoor conference, while my cheeks and ears are still hot and bright red from excitement and laughter. I slept very little last night, and know intellectually that I'm tired, but I have no consciousnesses of fatigue....only a faint fuzzy feeling in my brain that is steadily growing. My heart is still racing and my mind is still spinning.

What makes it strange is I don't know what emotion I am feeling. Am I feeling the remains of frayed nerves? Was I nervous about speaking at the conference? (Was I? I still don't know.) Am I shaking because I haven't warmed up yet? Then why am I so hot, and my palms a little sweaty? Am I just feeling excitement that hasn't worn off yet? Why can I feel my brain spinning when I don't even know what I'm thinking....or if I'm thinking?

Did I enjoy today? Totally. What did I like best? I really don't know. It was a beautiful, splendid, exhilarating blur. I would gladly repeat it. I already miss our dear friends who have left us after only a short visit. I ache to see them more often, and it was only maturity and the dignity of almost-adulthood that kept me from chasing after their van as they left, yelling, "Come back! Don't go! Staaaaay!"

I also loved speaking at the conference. I know I am a rarity - enjoying public speaking - but I enjoy it for a different reason than others might think. I enjoy it because it is a strange time of uncommon closeness with my Heavenly Father. How can I explain this...? I don't know how to describe what it's like.

When I know I am going to speak somewhere, I spend time praying and wrestling with ideas, begging God to give me something worth saying - something that is honoring to Him. Then I write down what comes to my mind - every word and phrase. Then I run those words over in my mind many times, for several days. Usually God brings someone into my life who says something to me that makes me start thinking differently all over again....and I re-write what I had written down. That may happen several times.

I write in a different way when I'm preparing something to say rather than something to be read. I take note of how I feel when I'm saying the words in my mind, and write that into it.

When I feel at peace what I have written, I memorize it - every emotion, every pathos of voice, everything God has laid on my heart. I know that if I don't internalize it during this preparation time, I will never get a blessing out of it myself. ...Because I never hear myself on the actual day I speak.

No, on the day I speak, when I get up there, after time spent alone in prayer, I - though this sounds funny - just let my mouth run. I know my tongue knows what I believe God wants me to say, so I let it work itself. My mind is usually not involved. Instead, my mind is earnestly asking God to work. And my eyes are looking at the faces I see before me. And I begin to see God answering my prayers.

It is this time of communication with God that so draws me to speaking. It is the strangest feeling, to know that my body and voice are in front of many people, but at the same time my soul and heart are far away, before ONE. I love the closeness I feel to Him, and the sense of urgency that is always in my prayers at a time like that.

What did Dad and I talk about today? Family Devotions. Dad shared about what first convicted him to study God's Word together in our family, and I talked about what it's like to receive the blessing that God pours on the children of those who follow Him. Though there were many other young people there who also know what it's like to be blessed that way, all the other speakers were fathers who were looking at things from the other side of the coin; they were encouraging parents to teach their children the Word because they will be blessed.

I had the immense privilege of describing that blessing that has already fallen on me.

It was a wonderful honor. I got to look those parents in the face and tell them "It's not in vain! Be encouraged! God really does fulfill His promise to bless the children who are taught His Word." Of course I explained that it's also a personal thing - I talked about how I myself fell in love with God - but I couldn't help loving to be able to stand up there as an older child and say how thankful I am for how my parents obeyed God's instructions to teach their children the Word.

Whew - now I'm excited all over again! It's 12:24 in the morning, and I know I'll be tired tomorrow, but I couldn't go to sleep without getting some of this out of my system. I had such a wonderful day. Talking with people after the conference sessions finished was wonderful, too. Encouraging younger families - and being blessed myself by talking to older families - is something I could easily do all day long and not tire of it. I was blessed SO much today in different conversations I had with folks. It's refreshing to be with folks who earnestly care about making Christ the center of their home, and who want to talk about that subject!

Well, I'm afraid I've been much too long-winded. I shall make an effort to get some sleep. If this post has been rather tumble-style and rambling, or too full of "me" and "I," just ignore it and know that I at least was able to tumble out the story of my day so my mind could relax a little. Thanks for listening. :) :) :)

P.S. Neely Family; I MISS YOU!!


Leah said...

It sounds like a lovely day! Closeness with our Heavenly Father is such a treasure, how wonderful to take every opportunity to get closer. I love what you said about speaking! Thank you for sharing Amber.

Amanda said...

Somehow I never saw this post - it's so sweet!! We SO enjoyed our time with you all that evening - I can't wait to do it again sometime!!