Missed Part 1? Here you go.
I’m just going to air this out right now. No sense in playing it cool and pretending I didn’t care whether or not I got to meet Beth Moore. That sweet woman has done more to help me fall in love with Jesus than anyone on earth (save my wonderful parents who introduced me to Him long ago). If there is anyone I’d rather meet, I can’t figure out who it’d be.
HOWEVER, God and I had spent some precious, precious time together already that weekend, and we had a deal. This weekend was HIS GIFT to me. And He would be making all the arrangements. I would just sit back, take it all in, and lick queso off my fingers when the situation called for it. I was there for HIM. Anything else was just icing on the cake (which is a poor analogy for someone who likes neither icing nor cake).
A Siesta named Amanda May expressed my sentiments exactly. You HAVE to read her post. Here’s just a snippet of what she said: “He knows that sometimes I can get so caught up with someone that I admire, that I take my eyes off of Him. So He took my prayer, my willingness to be stripped, and He did it. The Lord freed me up to enjoy and learn from Beth’s teaching, without being so caught up with her that I missed Him.“
Amen, amen, amen, AMEN. GOD was the one filling up my heart this weekend. I knew I could leave Houston without meeting Beth and be 100% complete.
So. That was a lovely little 250-word intro. Now back to my story.
Amanda and I arrived at the church early. I bought some $2 gourmet coffee, and I think Amanda had a breakfast taco and some hot chocolate. Then we headed back to the Green Room. You might know where this is heading.
I had a wonderful time chatting with Michelle (“Hawk”), one of the LPM staff. I met Sabrina, the LPM director and a bunch of other fabulous, servant-hearted staff members. I can’t tell you how amazing these women (and 1 man) are. They love what they do, they’re good at it, and they’re so passionate about Jesus and people.
Then Beth arrived. And while part of me saw the woman I’ve been learning from and laughing with the past four years, I mostly saw the mom of one of my dear friends. She said hi to me. I shook her hand and said, “I’m Marla,” then we hugged. And in a backward twist of events, instead of me gushing about her, she gushed about me. How Amanda has told her so much about me and how I must be something special because Amanda doesn’t just let people sleep in the same bed with her. “She just doesn’t do that, does she?” She asked about my babies (their little faces were smiling at her from my bag), and I can’t remember what else.
It was such a sweet blessing. She is so kind. And a million other adjectives. She makes my heart swell.
Then (or maybe before Beth?) I met Travis Cottrell, who is super-friendly, awfully-humble, a real Tennessee family man with an amazing voice. We talked about my hubby (who interviewed Travis for his podcast last year).
(I didn’t actually meet the darling, brilliant Melissa until the event was over, and she was lying flat on her back in the Bride Room, exhausted. Love that girl.)
Oh, so many words already. Speeding things up. I excused myself before the staff all prayed together and rushed off to find Melanie who was saving me a seat. Again, the teaching was wonderful, the worship amazing, the question-and-answer time with Beth, Amanda and Melissa hilarious.
Mel and I said our Scriptures to each other (just the minimum 10. I’m sooooo impressed by all of you who did all 24!). It was such a sweet time. One of my favorite parts of the weekend was the commissioning, where you stand facing a friend, hold her hands in yours, look in her eyeballs and repeat after Beth a beautiful commission to go out in the world and apply what you’ve learned.
It’s HARD to look into someone’s eyes and say things, but I’m so glad I got to do it with Melanie. We ended it with a great big hug, and not comparing Melanie to God, but it felt like God Himself had just squeezed me in His arms. Sigh.
After it was over, we all headed out to mingle. Beth, Amanda and Melissa each had their own line of people who wanted pictures with them. Melanie and Travis were chatting. Meghan and I were chatting. I got my picture taken with Missy. I hugged Kelli and Anna good-bye (sniff, sniff). And I really can’t remember what else.
Then Amanda whisked me away again, and I got to enjoy a very special lunch in a very fun restaurant with a slightly tipsy waiter. I loved every minute of sitting at that round table. Big Mama on my left, Mama Beth on my right, Amanda, Melissa and Travis across the way. We laughed and talked and laughed and laughed and laughed.
I will treasure the memory for always.
Melissa and I got seafood crepes, and the other 3 girls got Shrimp and Cheese Grits. I could kick myself for not taking a bite of Melanie’s (I’ve never had grits). Travis had meatloaf (I know you were wondering, and I’m pretty sure this is the only place you’re going to get this irrelevant information.) We all split a warm, flaky, apricot delicacy for dessert.
And I have no pictures, but Fabulous Photog Melissa did take some, so maybe I’ll have one to show you eventually.
And I’ve got to HURRY if I’m going to make it in under 1200 (1200!) words. Hugged everyone good-bye, headed to Amanda’s, met her DARLING family, played with her gorgeous babies (oh, I love them so much!), watched TV, chatted, ate Papa John’s pizza, watched a movie, headed to bed.
She got up before 5am on Sunday to drive me to the airport. Can I just say that this girl is one of the sweetest, smartest, most unselfish, fun, beautiful, loving, godly people I’ve ever met? Love you so much, Amanda. I’ll never be able to repay you.
And I got soap in my eye in the shower and it burned so bad, I couldn’t wear my right contact. I had to hold my hand over my eye to read the signs at the airport. Can you say head-ache?
I flew to Charlotte, hung out for 2+ hours, then on to Dayton where my parents picked me up (thank you, Mom and Dad!), then I waited to be reunited with my hubby and girls. Oh, I missed them! (And they loved their battery-operated hamsters I bought them on sale in the Charlotte airport.)
And that’s it, give or take 320 details. Thanks for reading. And THANK YOU, JESUS, for your crazy, crazy, crazy love!