Ok — you might want to grab a cup of coffee for this post…because it might be a little lengthy! But worth it!
This past weekend was a whirlwind of beauty, inspiration, mess, read-your-mail, dig deeper, get weirder, pursue harder, meet new friends, spur each other on, authenticity, Kingdom-come, love-Jesus-more type stuff. (That sentence is so far from grammatically correct, we already know. But that’s what the weekend was a whirlwind of, y’all. Ok? Good.)
Thursday afternoon we packed our bags and headed to Indianapolis for the 4th and final 3 day Influence Conference. The conference is for creative women who love the things of Jesus. AKA it’s for christian females. It’s chalk full of women who are just getting things done and killing life. Like seriously killing it. Check out the The Influence Network and join if you’re a woman. SO much gospel-saturated goodness. Anyway, we headed to Indy on Thursday for the kick-off of what was, without question, one of our favorite weekends so far this year.
If we’re being honest, we could potentially write the longest blog post we have ever written to date if we went into the richness and detail of what this weekend held for us. But we can’t. If you want to know more…reach out to us. We can like, chat about it over coffee or Skype or something. Because we could talk about it for literal days, ok!? But for now, we’re going to try and be concise…we’ll see if we can just mildly unpack a tiny bit of the goodness that was this weekend, because, you guys, we want you to understand how great it actually was!
We arrived in Indy and checked into our hotel, then stopped by registration to grab our name tags and the infamous Influence Swag Bags. YOU GUYS. These flipping bags! THE CUTEST. You can see a handful of the goodies that came in them in the picture of all the pretty goodies (with the exception of a few things!.. like the pillow and 1 of the mugs and the clothes). Anyway, we dug through our bags and squealed over the cuteness, then got ready. Thursday night started out with our “Campfire Commissioning,” which also happened to be the theme of the entire conference. We all began in a dark room and lit the place up by igniting one candle and passing the flame to each beautiful lady in the (giant conference) room. And then Jess Connolly spoke the words that we have written in permanent ink on the walls of our hearts — “You are the light of the world. You have influence right where you are. This is your commissioning.” That night we met some prrrrrecious girls who we now call our friends and we heard pieces of their stories, and we shared pieces of ours. And the first night was in the books.
Friday morning we were up and at ’em and ready for the day. It started with a beautiful, life-giving message from Hayley Morgan (co-founder of the Influence Network and writer at The Tiny Twig) about living with an undivided heart and being equally yoked to Christ. We wish you could have heard every word that came off of this girl’s lips. But, in a nutshell, here are some of our favorite notes from her session.
- A spiritually undivided heart believes all that God says is true and it cannot be proven otherwise by our flesh.
- When we are yoked with Christ, we are perfectly in step with Him. He is able to look at us and say, “You’re fine. Right where you are, you are fine. You’re positionally okay because you are walking hand-in-hand with Me.”
- When we’re yoked with Christ we have the ability to fully walk toward and in our destiny with joy and excitement and anticipation.
(Do you want to buy the video footage of the conference yet? Because you can.) So much depth and revelation through this session for us. Next we headed to a breakout session by Erin Loechner of Design For Mankind that focused on women in the trenches. This girl, first and foremost, is just SWEET. Like, genuine, precious, bubbly…sweeeeet. She sat at our table the night before and we chatted for a bit with her. You want to be this girl’s friend. For reals. Anyway, her session was, you guessed it, beautiful and life giving and so very good to hear. Our two takeaways were this:
- Trenches are the safest place you can be in a war zone, a tornado, or any other physical chaos. They’re a place to squeeze into and lay your head down and take a big breath. They are the place where, amidst unrest, you are protected. So even in the trenches of life, in the seasons of unrest, you are in the safest place you can be. Because God is right there with you.
- Self care is not an interruption to daily life, it is an enhancement. Self care is SELF care. It doesn’t matter how you do it, it matters only that you do.
Also, before we forget, they had this gorgeous market, The Sashes Market, where women at the conference were able to sell their goods (think pottery, clothes, journals, jewelery, and everything cute and lovely). We did some worthwhile damage there for sure and loved every second of it. Ok, back to Friday afternoon! So then there was the delicious lunch and THE carrot cake of all carrot cakes. And a panel of beautiful ladies answering questions about how they are just killing it in their lives. Awesomeness. After the lunch panel we had a session with Nancy Ray and Gina Ziedler. Let’s just take a minute to swoon over these two ladies. They are authenticity in action. Like the realest. And we went to their revival on Saturday and loved them even more and then we chatted a little more with Gina Saturday night and WHY CAN’T WE BE NEIGHBORS IN REAL LIFE AND TALK WITH THESE GIRLS MORE? Ok sorry.. anyway, at their session we talked about abiding and filling our mental mason jars with things that were GOOD because there’s not enough room for the lies and the junk. We talked about the things that absolutely light our hearts ablaze and how we can make those things a priority. Lots of good, healing tears in that session for lots of ladies. And whole-body chills on multiple occasions as we listened to what made 400 other women’s hearts light up. LOVE.
Friday night there was a little “Wild+Free” party to celebrate and learn about Jess and Hayley’s new book, but sadly (and not sadly) we had to miss it because our sweet, dear friends Lauren and Caleb were tying the knot back home! So we drove home and went to the wedding (duh) and had SO MUCH FUN dancing and sweating and laughing with our closest community. Then after the wedding we drove back to Indy. WORTH IT.
Saturday began with an I N S A N E L Y G O O D message from Jess Connolly of Naptime Diaries about ridding our life of the pretenses and strongholds and fighting the spiritual battles that we face in every single moment. Jess is the other co-founder of the Influence Net and she is beautiful and wild and passionate and hilaaaarious and oozing with the gospel all the stinking time. Adore-fest over here. Here’s some of the wisdom she spit our way:
- Any thought that challenges the ability of God to work in your life is a stronghold.
- Pretenses are the arguments we make to essentially boost ourselves up. Like anytime we boost ourself up or identify ourself as anything aside from “I am a daughter of the Most High God,” that’s a pretense. (HELLO TRUTH BOMB).
- We should not ever be leaving the aroma of us. People shouldn’t recognize our presence or our absence. We should be leaving the aroma of Christ, making HIS presence and absence recognizable.
Next up on our list — Ruth Simons of Gracelaced and superwoman mama of 6 (YES. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) BOYS. She shared what it looks like to preach to yourself in every season at every moment. It was rich with the Word of God and such a simple concept that we over-complicate. The biggest takeaway from this session:
- In order to be more effective, we do not need more friends, more training, more strategy, more followers, etc. Instead, to be effective, we must rehearse gospel truths to the most mundane corners of our lives, so that we then can proclaim gospel truths to the most unreached corners of the earth. (You should re-read that and then let it sink in. Because mind.blown.)
We had another awesome lunch and lunch panel and then one more session on Saturday afternoon given by Rach Kincaid, another member of the InfluenceNet core team (and total boss-a nurse and mom of 6 blogger. Word.) She got super real about grace with us and the fact that we all need it yet we can’t earn it. Here were a few takeaways from her session (and that second one painted the most beautiful picture in our hearts)
- Asking for forgiveness after you’ve already been forgiven is not necessary. Receiving said forgiveness is very necessary. We just need to access it.
- Jesus whispered your name on the cross and He smiled at you when He walked out of the tomb.
- It is the real, actual grace of Jesus that compels us to take action and to have influence.
After Rach’s session was our revival that we touched on earlier with Gina and Nancy about working work and ways to maintain balance and boldness and essentially how to just keep gospel truths at the center of our work. And I don’t even know where to start. It was just gooooood. And so encouraging. Wowzas.
We hit the town for some yummy dinner (more on that in a few days) and then headed back for the closing of conference. We ended the night with an extended time of worship with Rach and Chris Kincaid (and another beautifully talented girl) and we cried big gratitude and awe and “thanks-jesus” filled tears. And then we drove home. Influence conference closed and we felt equipped and encouraged and full of life to take the platform(s) the Lord has given us and utilize them to move mountains, both physical and spiritual.
WHEW! Did you make it all the way to this part!? High five if you did. Dang…it was a good, good weekend. Like SO good. Not to mention we had so much fun catching up on life and hanging out with each other which is always such a gift. And so there you have it. That was #influenceconf 2015 in a nutshell for us. Be sure to check out the Influence Network and get involved if you aren’t already. OH! And also we didn’t take very many pictures because we just failed, but you can check out the hashtag #influenceconf on instagram for lots and lots of deets!
To the ladies of Influence who might read this…leave us your comments with your favorite moments or takeaways or things the Lord etched on your heart walls! And know, from the bottom of our hearts…we adore you, we are behind you, we believe in your influence, and we are honored to share the pages of the internet with you. You are the light of the world. You have influence right where you are. This is your commissioning.