brimming & bubbling (part 2 of 2)

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.

They announced the winners of the Best Blog Name, and my new friend Meghan got 2nd place for her blog, Spicy Magnolia. Hooray, Meg! You can read her account of the weekend here.

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!

33 thoughts on “brimming & bubbling (part 2 of 2)

  1. Deirdre

    wow you are my HERO right now. I don’t know if I would have been able to eat a thing in that exalted company! Not nervous, but just too happy to bother with food.

    by the way, I loved meeting you in Houston, but I gotta just say, you are all too tall for me! Dang I’m not used to thinking of myself as short, but honestly you, Melanie, Lindsey….sheesh. Dwarfed I tell you. I felt dwarfed!

    then I met Beth for 40 seconds and felt tall again. 😉

  2. Teresa

    Loved reading your trip story. I so wanted to be there but we had already planned a family ski trip and it was the only week our kids could all be off. I would have loved meeting you….

  3. meghan @ spicy magnolia

    You’re right, Amanda May’s post was spot-on! Thanks for the “hooray”. 🙂 And yes, you can call me Meg; most people call me that actually and I like it.

    After wrestling through your decision to go and the airline ticket stuff, it makes this post all the more incredible to hear how lavishly He poured His love out on you! It’s so awesome how He surprises us with things beyond our wildest imaginations and lets us know how much He loves us.

  4. Kaye

    Everything about your weekend screams AMEN! So thankful for your great weekend with Jesus and friends. You are very deserving of everything you asked for and HE provided.
    Blessings today and always,
    Matthew 21:22

  5. Toni

    What a beautiful blessing for you to experience such a spiritual “journey”. It is a dream of mine, to one day be in the presence of one of Beth’s teachings. Im so happy for you!

  6. Lindsee

    What an exciting time he blessed you with! I know you’ll forever cherish this weekend. Hopefully next time we’ll get to chat more! And seriously, when it’s time for me to marry or have a baby, I now know who’s books I’ll be buying. (Although, that may be years from now!) Blessings!

  7. Suzi

    How FUN-what a blessing! I know exactly what you mean when you said

    “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.”

    Great post!

  8. Sara

    I LOVE IT…but I have to confess I was jealous…I mean…at least you found battery operated HAMPSTERS! I could only find a stupid key chain that flashed I LOVE YOU…but it’s solar powered so I think I won browny points with that.

    Thanks for sharing, I think you are right on! What a blessing from our Father to us.

  9. Sarah Montanye

    I couldn’t help but smile while reading this post. He is SOOOO good to us. Thanks for sharing about your awesome trip Marla!

  10. Leslie

    Loved reading about your weekend almost as much as I loved living mine! I just wanted more time! I wanted to get to know these women and hear their stories. Sigh. So excited for your quality time with the Moores (talk about MORE!) Thanks for sharing this!

  11. amber

    Again. Holy envious.

    I’m so blessed through your recap of your weekend. Our Jesus is so stinkin’ awesome. I love that He cares about things like our desires and then decides to just bless our socks off by not stopping with brief introductions but taking us all the way to dinner. I’m so excited to hear what God taught you, and I’m so giddy that you were able to meet Beth and Travis.

    Oh…and really? No icing or cake? Good thing we’re friends. I’m generous enough to eat your share.

  12. Crissy

    What a blessing filled weekend! Wow! I am so glad you had a weekend of being wrapped in God’s arms. What a much needed refreshment for you. Love you friend!

  13. Tiffani

    I am just so happy for your special weekend. You did a great job of recapping…it’s always hard trying to describe a time like that in words when you really just would’ve loved for others to experience those feelings too!

    What an extra special God-bonus getting to meet Beth and Travis! I love them both.

    Now, I have to say…

    YOU’VE NEVER HAD GRITS??!!! Girl, you MUST come south and let me hook you UP! They are a fave dish of mine and such a comfort food!!

  14. Cindy Moses

    Oh, Marla! I know it was so hard for you to leave your sweet family, but I’m so glad God blessed your weekend in such AMAZING ways.
    As I said on my blog, I love it when He redirects my thinking so that I don’t get too caught up in all the hoopla, but just Him. Sharing it with sweet sisters, one super-talented Mister, and one of the most annointed teachers of our time – Icing…and I LOVE me some icing!! Love you, Marla. Wish I would have spent more time with you!

  15. Gail

    Oh my word. God lavished on you. SOOOOOO much. What a great blessing. I haven’t had time to click through to all the links, but I will later. I’m so glad you had such a time!

  16. Lori

    Marla, what a wonderful post and you were most certainly blessed all weekend. I know the women I travelled with felt the same way. From the minute we reached Houston to the minute we got home we felt God’s hand all over the weekend and all over us!!
    Thanks for the little details, you know the meatloaf and burned eye and stuff! Isn’t that what makes life so interesting!!! God Bless You – Lori

  17. Bethany

    Hi Marla!
    Thank you for coming over to my blog and leaving me your sweet little message. I’ve begun the recap on my weekend so you’ll have to come on back over and read it.
    I was delighted to meet you on the balcony too! I wish that we could have had more time but it was perfect in accordance with the Lord’s plan and will. So I will treasure the balcony talk. You know, the next morning as I was out walking I saw our balcony from the ground and it kinda freaked me out a bit! Pretty high up there and the railing looked so short! No wonder Amanda would not come out on it!
    Blessings to you sweet siesta! Hope to keep in touch with you.

  18. Amanda May

    Beautiful. I love how God so often gives us our heart’s desire when we truly put Him first! I bet He loved watching you meet Beth as much as you loved meeting her…what a blessing!
    (And thank you for your sweet words on my blog – they meant the world to me!)

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