4 Days | Pursuit 31 Conference 2012 | Winshape Retreat | Rome, GA
I’ve sat on this blog post for 2 weeks now since I have been home. I have continued to push it to the bottom of my to do list because I really have no clue how to condense 4 days of amazing into a coherent blog post. 4 days of raw emotion and conviction. 4 days of starting to believe I can do it and I am worthy. 4 days of meeting women from around the country that in one word, smile or touch have impacted my life forever.
How do you even begin to explain that?
Back in January, my husband came across the Pursuit 31 Conference website. It had to have been a God thing even then, because I have no clue how he happened upon it. It immediately drew me in and the longings of my heart wanted me to be there. My mind though knew that there was no way we could afford it. I tried to put it out of my mind, very unsuccessfully I might add. In the meantime, I became involved in the Pursuit 31 Facebook group and even had the opportunity to participate in a few of the P31 WPPI activities. This did not help my longings to go to the conference at all. In fact, it made those longings worse. Little did I know at the time, Bryan (my husband) had submitted my name and story via his words for a conference scholarship.
Eventually that bit of information came out. Bryan admittedly does not keep secrets from me well. Knowing that there were several people applying for a scholarship I tried not to get my hopes up but that did not work very well. It became an almost daily conversation with God about how much I wanted to go and why. Funny how we try to convince God of things, yet he knows us as no one else can. He knows all the longings of our heart and all the crazy thoughts in our head.
As the scholarship announcement grew closer and closer, these conversations became more frequent. I also knew that while I trusted God’s plan, I would be crushed if I didn’t get to go. On June 18th, I received a Facebook message from Karen Stott (founder of P31) that my name wouldn’t be on the scholarship nomination blog post. Why, because an amazing, anonymous person decided to bless me. ME. My full conference cost minus travel expenses was covered. My story was important to a total stranger. The tears immediately started coming and I had no ability to control them. God wanted me there as much a I wanted to be there because even after the amazing blessing of having the conference costs covered, the travel expenses were not a burden to our family budget either.
Words cannot express how simply amazed I am by the generosity of my “angel” and how utterly thankful I am. All I can say is”THANK YOU” and that I pray for God’s blessing upon your life. And, that I will pay it forward. Some way, some how.
The upcoming conference became the bright spot in my bad days. And it did not disappoint. Each and every person I came into contact with left an impression on my life. Each and every speaker I listened to convicted me in ways that I had no clue I could be. Stolen moments in thought, the absolutely phenomenal Winshape staff, foggy mornings, quiet conversations with few, dance parties with many and worship time. Worship time. There was no doubting God was moving in that room. I have been saved since I was 9 and have gone to church as far back as I can remember but I have NEVER raised my hand in worship till then. Every reservation I had ever had about that show of emotion was gone and I had absolutely no control over my arms.
God was everywhere.
This is not your typical photography conference. This is not all about the technical side of the business. This is about us. Women. Photographers. God’s Children. Everybody always preaches that you need to brand yourself in this business, so we can attract the ideal clients, but how can we bless our clients if we are a mess? I came home feeling renewed and yet drained at the same time. Like every fear and doubt had escaped my body and left the perfect God shaped hole.
The conference was everything I needed at that moment and I can’t wait to go again next year!
Would you like to learn more about Pursuit 31?: Pursuit 31 | Pursuit 31 Conference 2013
Our amazing conference speakers: Karen Stott | Desirea Rodgers | Dawn Davis | Jody Gray | Jane Johnson | Katelyn James | Mary Marantz
Our phenomenal accommodations: Winshape Retreat
Our generous sponsors: Lena Lime | Showit | Pass | Epiphanie | Think Tank | Black Rapid | Foto Strap | Organic Bloom | Black River Imaging | Heartworks by Lori | Blessed Mama Designs | Kits and Knots | Upsy Daisy | Zella Shop | 2 Dancing Danes | Tello and Rose | Windsong Knits | Adorama | Kelly Moore Bag | JoTotes | OnaBags
Group photo credit: Ashley Scobey of Scobey Photography