It's been almost two weeks since I boarded a plane by myself to spend the weekend in Orlando listening to the Bible taught by godly men and women. In a lot of ways the daily realities of my life now make the time spent there seem like a distant memory. But the impact of the weekend has not left me, and I pray it doesn't for a long time.
This was the first TGC women's conference that I have ever been able to attend. Since it's only the second conference, I'm glad I'm not too far behind on the curve! But I did listen to all of the previous conference's plenary sessions, so going in to this conference I was eager to listen to some teachers I have never had the privilege of hearing much from before. Paige Benton Brown was one of them. I had a hard time making it to things on time while at the conference (maybe it's because I was childless for the weekend or maybe it's because I loved talking to people, or both), but I made sure to get a seat on time for her. Not only does listening to her speak make me passionate to know the Bible like she does, but she also opens up the scriptures for me in ways I never would have seen otherwise. She makes the Bible come alive and she makes her audience want to drink deeply from the fountain of God's word with her. I also went to her breakout session with my sister-in-law and we both left the session wanting to go spend some serious quality time examining the Bible for ourselves. She has a gift of making God's word appear as the treasure we often forget it is. I needed that desperately.
It's hard to capture the value of a weekend filled with teaching and fellowship with other likeminded women. Whether you spend your days with toddlers (like me) or spend your days staring at computer screen or some other daily grind, we all need rest and retreat. While there wasn't much sleeping (at least on my end), the fuel tank of my soul was filled to the brim. My husband says that everyone needs something like this every once in a while, especially if you struggle with discouragement or losing your joy in the midst of the mundane. And I was right there going into this conference. I didn't even know how much I needed the break and refreshment until I was there drinking it deeply.
More than anything I walked away from the conference with a renewed passion for God's word. Ever since the twins have been born, like many moms, I have struggled with finding joy in reading the Bible. My mind races about all that needs to get done instead of focusing on the words in front of me, or the moment I sit down to read I hear a baby cry. When I am in the midst of calm or silence, I find myself wanting to do other things (like watch TV or even read a book) rather than read God's word. Over the last 17 months I have wondered if I would ever delight in God's word again. I have had pockets of joy interspersed among the mainly dry valley of caring for twin boys.
But God met me in Orlando.
It wasn't with much fanfare or even in a burst of wisdom from the pages of scripture. I simply left with an excitement to read and study God's word. I left with a greater passion to write within the season God has given me and for his glory, not my own. I left with a love for God's people and a desire to see them love his word with all of their heart and mind.
It was good to be at TGCW14. It was good to see old friends and make new ones. It was good to see family. It was good to hear from God's word and see how God is moving in the lives of others. But more than anything, it was good to taste again the sweetness of God's word.