Last weekend I got the BEST gift: I was invited to come down and speak at an event at my Texas church. The focus of the event was on the truth that we all have a story – of which God is the main character, and which we are compelled to share. I got to share the stage with my dear friend Erin Cole, who has such a story of God’s faithfulness and care. After each of us shared our stories, then Erin and I co-lead a breakout called, “Your Story Must Be Told” with tips on processing and sharing your story. Another dear friend (and the only person who has shared in my life both in Texas and here in Nebraska – love having friends in common in both places!), Julie Raymond, gave a breakout on drawing out others’ stories. The whole evening was so well done – I wanted to pack up all the decorations and bring them home with me – those women know how to throw a PARTY.
It was especially fun for me to share my story in the place where it happened, and to an audience that included so many of my favorite people, friends who loved and prayed for me through all of my years in College Station. I was so hyped up on adrenaline and excitement I was practically buzzing. By the end of the evening Friday I was EXHAUSTED. My head ached and my whole body hurt. But it was a good hurt. :)
The entire weekend was like a gift from the Lord to ME, and I am so thankful for every moment: getting to catch up with so many, for hugs and tears, for REAL conversations, for face-to-face, for laughter and tears (Susie and I went through half a box of kleenex Saturday night, so happy to talk for real and not on the phone!), for encouragement and plain old fun. AND I got to go to a baby shower for my sweet Heather, so fun to get to be there for something, since I’ve missed so many showers, babies, weddings, funerals, everything, since I’ve been in NE.
I didn’t take my camera, since I was pretty sure that several of my gals would have me covered in that area. So pictures are coming (and they recorded our stories, so eventually that will be up where I can post a link). But so far my sweetie Lauren is the only one who’s posted her pics.
I started babysitting for the Paine kids when Lauren (far left) was 2 and Michael (between me & Lauren) was a wee baby. Katherine and Nathan weren’t even a twinkle in their parents’ eyes, as the saying goes. And once they came along, they were my babies (particularly Nathan, who was the closest thing I had to a boyfriend before Matt came along.) These giant, beautiful people ranged from little kids to just-reaching-teeny-bopper-hood when I got married and moved to NE 6 years ago. LOOK AT THEM.
So the whole weekend was a gift… But the biggest gift of all came Sunday morning.
I’ve continued to be so thankful for the season of life God gave me in College Station. But this weekend was a great opportunity to step back and think about how much He has continued to bless me here in corn-land.
As I sat in church Sunday morning, so glad to be back in the place where I first understood the gospel, where I have so many precious memories, and in the room where I got married, I realized how thankful I am for my church, friends and life in Nebraska. I love what God did in me through the TX years, but I am equally thankful for what He’s doing in these Nebraska years. I wish there was better Tex-Mex here, but I am content, and that is a gift. :)
They had a soccer game Friday night (while it was 85 degrees in TX, but 30 in good old NE – I felt guilty for missing Luke’s first game, but with that weather, I likely wouldn’t have been there anyway!)… Went out for donuts, played video games, drank pop, watched basketball, had popcorn for dinner, and made the basement into a giant fort to sleep in Saturday. I’m pretty sure they didn’t eat a vegetable all weekend long, and I didn’t ask about baths because I didn’t want to know the answer. They were very happy when I got home, but I don’t think they missed me at all. :)