m is for michigan

I promised some beautiful women a post today, and by golly, I’m going to keep that promise. Even though it’s much, much too soon to have processed all that God did this weekend–and all He’s gonna do! Praise Him!

Let me back up. My dear friend Heidi asked me a couple months ago if I’d come speak at their church’s annual women’s retreat this past weekend. Heidi’s hubby, Jason, is a pastor at a church in Lowell, MI (near Grand Rapids), and the retreat was in Muskegon (NW of GR on Lake Michigan). Before J and Heidi moved to MI, we all went to church together in Bellefontaine, OH. J was the youth pastor. They have three girlies too–10, 8 and 6. Awesome, gifted, beautiful family.

So, I headed north on Thursday at 10 a.m., stopped in to see my friend Jamie (and her three adorable boys) on my way. (Thanks for the sandwich and your sweet friendship, Jamie!) Got to the hotel at 5-something. Dinner. Spent some time talking to God about what He wanted me to say to these incredible gals, then spoke to them at 8:30ish.

They were so wonderful. SO wonderful. Happy, smiling, laughing, encouraging, sweet. I so wish I would’ve had the chance to get to know each one of them. I loved hearing their stories–so many hurts, so much devastation and damage, SO many praises for God’s amazing redemption! I was so honored to be able to pray with them and for them. So tickled to see lonely women making new friends. So excited to hear women say, “I’m not alone!” So thrilled each and every time God gave me words that connected with someone’s heart.

The theme of the weekend was You-nique. How God has created you wonderfully and beautifully–and not like any other woman. He has an amazing and special purpose for your life. We talked about comparision and competition and criticism. And trading all that in for contentment and confidence and compassion.

No, all our problems didn’t melt away. But I know God moved and worked and stretched and hugged. And I know this weeked was a new beginning for so many. Praise Him!

I told them how I didn’t used to be all that crazy about other women. In college, I hung out with guys, because girls were too much drama. And I can’t remember when it was, but God started filling me with love and compassion for women–and a desire to use whatever gifts He has given me to help them use the gifts He has given them. Helping other women bring glory to God–that’s what I love to do.

Speaking of, I LOVED your responses to 1.) the post about your dream job/life and 2.) the modesty post. You guys are wonderful, you know that?? My heart is just bursting. How is that I get to interact with so many incredible people? So, so, so awesome.

And speaking of M is for Michigan, I went shopping with a group of gals from the conference on Friday and found the coolest notecards at TJ Maxx. They’re in a box the exact colors of my blog (blue/red). The bottom of the box is red, top is blue with a red/white zebra-striped M in the corner. The notecards have that same M on a blue background w/faint zebra stripes. And the envelopes have flowers on them. HELLO! Thank you, God!! If you know TJ Maxx, it’s kind of a close-out sort of store, and there was only one box of these notecards. With an M. And the zebra stripes. And my colors. 20 cards. $3.99. God is SO in the details.

So, my Michigan gals, I love you! Thank you for making my weekend so special! Thank you for loving me in spite of my, ahem, gas. Thanks for laughing when I was trying to be funny (and not when I wasn’t). Thanks for putting up with me when I told two lies and a truth (instead of the other way around). Thanks for liking my Target skirts. And for trusting me with your prayer requests. And for being so real and transparent. I’d love to hear every now and again what God is doing in your life.

Bless you all to bits!!

(Note: I told you I’d share the link to Tammy’s books, Soul Healing and Soul Connection. If you feel God nudging you to get these, I so hope you’ll do it!)

And for the rest of you, I know this sounds ridiculous, but I missed you while I was gone. It’s good to be home. Have a great week, friends!

12 thoughts on “m is for michigan

  1. Dawn

    Just a note to say “Thank you” for a delightful weekend. Really enjoyed listening to you and your insights and experiences.

  2. Colleen

    So glad it went well Marla..and YES I do want to get together, sorry for not getting back to you earlier!! would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hang out sometime when the older two are in school…what does your next week look like? And, I have a copy of the Soul Healing…I have read it multiple times…EXCELLENT book!!! I need to read the next one!!! talk with you soon!

  3. Elizabeth

    It’s so good to hear that your weekend went well. I knew it would! I think you should speak at our church here in OK, but I’m guessing it’s too far:( Maybe you could write a book instead.

    The cards you found sound perfectly y-o-u!

    Can’t wait for the big news!

  4. Valerie

    Glad you had a great weekend!!

    I picked you up something while out shopping last week that just SCREAMED your name….. I think you’ll love them!! 😉

    OOOH and in other exciting news….I invested in a pair of left handed scissors…Hobby Lobby had them 50% off!! So next time we have a zoo or other kind of party I should be able to cut straight!! 🙂

  5. Gail

    I’m so glad it was blessed weekend! I know God is taking your obedient heart and using it to work in the lives of others. You’re His instrument. What a treat!

  6. Rachel Stadt

    Hey Marla,I so forgive you for turning my game into a bunch of lies….lol You have no idea how awesome it was for me to get to know you as a sit on the bed in your jammies eating JUNK with a bunch of girl’s kinda way as opposed to you being this brilliant speakerer wearing target and thrift store bought clothes(always my fav) with some gas issues kinda friend . Does that make sense? even if it does not you know what i mean .Thanks so much to your family for your time .You rocked the Shoreline Inn by being obdeint to God so thanks again.I love you friend.Let’s keep in touch then maby Heidi and I can come and visit……….

  7. Ali

    I mean, I’ve heard you “speak,” but I have yet to see you get up in a crowd full of women/people and deliver a speech or talk or whatever that is purposeful and God-delivered.

    For what it’s worth, I’m beyond honored to call you friend allowing me to hear you “speak” any ol’ time I want!

  8. Crissy

    I am so glad the weekend was full of evidence of God’s hand! Love it! I’m praying for all those hearts God touched this weekend.

    And thank you too, for the real-life hug on Sunday! You are such a blessing! {{{HUGS}}}

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