Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Unstoppable Experience


Wow, what can I say about UnStoppable? Where are the words at? Well, when I was flying out I was so excited. I was actually going to meet with my friends of over a year, of whom have poured so much into me, yet never really knew it.
I was even more happy to be able to meet you and Tara face to face. Out of everyone from the pastoring partners website, you two had always stuck out the most. The very things that I desire to do, be, and learn and things that you have done, are doing and planning to do. It is refreshing to be in friendships with those who share the same heartbeat for ministry, life, and covenant, as you and Tara do.
After I got to the baggage claim area, I waited for over 45 minutes. The lady who was supposed to pick me up was not there...but then I remembered that Tara was in a totally different area to pick up her bags. So when she landed, I met her at her baggage claim. It took me forever to figure out what elevator went to what level, and what color corresponded to the airline carriers. LOL....flying alone is always an adventure! I finally made it over to the "red zone" and waited for Tara to arrive. About ten minutes later, I had to pee, oh my goodness, and with half my closet in my luggage, getting there was going to be interesting. I finally managed to figure out how to balance my jacket, bag, carry on, and rolling bag into on hand while holding my cell phone in the other. I had to be ready in case Tara or my ride was there waiting for me. Lucky for me, the people who created the bathrooms in Tampa, International were women! They were extra big, with a place to hang your purse, bags, and a shelf to lean things on..heck yeah!
So after that, I was back waiting again. Tara finally came down the escalator, but when I saw her I was not sure it was her, because...she was shorter than I thought she would be. Okay, a LOT shorter. But I got over than and hugged the life out of her. Meeting her was awesome. Like coming home to pie and ice-cream after a long day at work. We went outside where our ride was waiting for us. I forgot her name, but she was SOOOO sweet. She gave us roses and welcomed us to Tampa. I love her accent, I do believe she told us she was from Cuba? We got to the airport, and I walked in stoked to be there. Wow! I was welcomed with hugs, encouragement, and a bag full of goodies. I felt like a celebrity! hehe
I saw you and I felt like I was meeting a celebrity..not because of your leadership or position, but because I admire you so much (in a good way!). Just to let you know too, you give the best hugs ever! Not the, "oh not another person to hug hug" or the "my goodness I have to hug her because she is here", but the "i am happy you are here, welcome, you are family hug" Not everyone hugs like that, but you do! The only other people I know who hug like that is my husband, Tara, Bishop Miller and Pastor Purifoy (my pastor).
I checked in and got upstairs and opened the door to the most amazing room! All to myself too, to be honest, I think that was the 2nd time in my entire life that I have ever had a hotel room to myself! The bed was super soft, the view was breath taking, and I was able to rest, alone, and with God's presence. After a brief nap, I got ready and headed down stairs. I sat at a table with some other women who have now become even better friends to me. Carrie, Melissa, Jessica L. and others. Truly a God thing in the biggest of ways. Dinner was fantastic and chatting with everyone was even better! Service that night was exactly what I needed to hear. It is refreshing to know that I am not the only one waling through something that makes you want to give up. You as you stated, your enemy is what promotes you! Amen!
Afterward I was pretty tired and headed back to the room after chatting a few more minutes. Saturday morning I woke up revived, and ready to roll. I went to the Dr.'s session on depression, it was amazing the things I learned, it is going to be able to help me when my husband has his moments of pain. Tara's session was wonderful as well. How not to lose my mind... I am glad that someone had enough guts to be honest and share. The hardest thing for me with my Master's Paper was to get women to answer a simple question! I also went to another lady's session about something...it was great too.
Afterward, I went to go eat lunch at Ruby Tuesdays with Carrie, Jessica Lewis and another lady she is from the other side of FL. Anyway, we ate lunch together and took a ton of pictures! We then went to Ross and bought a towel, drove over to Target and got chocolate and baby wipes. We were all cracking up the whole time trying to figure our way to Clearwater beach. It was sooo funny! We made it there, parked and soaked out feet in the water for around 20 minutes. Then as the tide came splashing in, these clear jelly like looking things were banging against our feet. We thought they were either Double D breast implants, or jelly fish. We were wrong on both accounts. Either way, I was out of the water in no time flat. I do not like things that I do not know about to be touching my feet, even more so if it might sting! I really had no desire for anyone to have to urinate on my feet!
We got back in the car, wiped our feet off and got stuck in traffic. After two u-turns, we were finally on the correct way back to the hotel. I really do not remember the hotel being in Toronto!
Arriving back at the hotel, we all had bonded...we were at the same table and worship was terrific. The presence of God was all over the place, and I could really see the anointing on you and Tara. God kept sharing with me about one of the worship girls Melinda, but that is a whole different story.
Service was great and I agree, Tara broke it down....
After service was one of the most special times for me. This may sound silly, but I had really needed a meal like my whole life! Jesus always was eating with the people that He ministered to. I was refreshed, at ease, ministered to, and had my heart opened those three hours! I had always desired something like that moment, and the Lord really answered some prayers during that time. By the time we finished eating and talking, Carrie, Meilissa and I did not want to stop. So we went to my room and chatted for an hour or so, sharing more stories. We were laughing SOO hard...and we got a phone call from "the front desk". "I am sorry, but we got a complaint that you are being too loud. Can you please turn it down a notch?"
Okay..weird. Then about 5 minutes later..knock, knock...."This is the clerk from the front desk" Uh huh. I look out the peep hole and see it is being blocked. I was about to either be murdered, ambushed, or made fun of..
I opened the door and it was Jessica Lewis and Sheryl laughing their heads off at us...they joined us for another hour or so.
We bonded some more.It was late, we were about to fall off the bed in tears and tiredness, but we each went to bed around 2:30 3ish.
That morning was bittersweet for me and went way too quickly.
I ate breakfast with my new buddies, headed into the service, and felt God hit me like a ton of bricks.
This was His heart for every woman! This network, this ministry, covenant relationships!
The two of you sharing your story, faith, and womanly perspective on covenant was mind blowing. My freshman year of college God revealed to me the concept of covenant relationships, and with a full heart and not much wisdom I went around recruiting people to become a covenant friend with me. One girl was my roommate, and that is how I got burned ..she used me for several years, and after I was married, spread rumors around about me in e-mails to other friends. I finally broke off the friendship with her. I had not heard from her again until after the service was over and I had gone home with Sue Flint. I was setting up a facebook account for Sue and this friend request popped up from my old roommate. I hit the "ignore" button.
The summer after my Senior Year, I was a youth pastor in North Carolina for a PH pastor who taught me about true covenant relationships..we are in covenant relationship with him and his wife. Later on bishop miller and kathy share the same heart for covenant too. Yet those people have always been the men who reached out to my husband and I, not the women. Greg had several men in his life to share his steps with, but I did not. I started praying for covenant relationships with women in ministry last year before I even came upon your website. Flash back to my experience...
Now there is a living example of two women in covenant relationship....
1. It is possible
2. There is an example.
3. Look for God's connections and not make it happen on your own..
Thank you for being that living, possible example!!
Ending in prayer, I could not stop crying. The whole thing had opened up my heart to be honest, open, and willing to trust again.
I quickly said goodbye to everyone, to you and Tara, because Sue had to pick up her boys for music lessons.
Sue and I became quick friends. We ate at Sonic, talked for few hours, then she took me to this AMAZING Japanese steak house to eat...yummmm.
We stayed up late laughing our heads off at You Tube videos and funny stories. You should ask her how her son was able to get the hamster out of the truck! LOL
As I got up at 3:30am to get ready to go, my heart broke...I did not want to leave..not yet. But I had to.
I was dropped off after several laughs and hugs.
On the plane to Atlanta all I could do was try not to cry. I was leaving my new family!
Switching planes in Atlanta, I had the most amazing God connection!! That is another long e-mail.
Let me tell you several things:
1. Thank you for your effort, time, heart, tears, and energy that you put into this conference.
2. Thank you for following through with the conference despite how your world is crashing around you.
3. Thank you for being a godly example of covenant relationship.
4. Thank you for pouring yourself into me and other women across this country.
5. Your impact goes further than you know.
6. This is just the early years for this baby...it is going to grow into something bigger than you, your church, your denomination, your vision, and region.
7. The bigger the heart, the bigger the vision, the bigger the vision, the bigger the impact, the bigger the impact, the bigger of growth and harvest.
I love you and thank you for all you have done and continue to do!
I now have a new word for you..." A God connection" is now Godnecction!
In His Love,
~Jessica Smith


Jessica Smith said...

Testing to see if this works..hehe

Melissa said...

it works! Girlie I just love you! I am so happy that you got to go too! I am adding you to my line up of favorite blogs! Your letter to Deanna made me cry again...ok I have been crying all day! Boy am I missing everyone! I love my hubby and my kids but I miss my new/old friends!