Monday, June 30, 2008

the weekend




Get ready, because I think you’re about to get chills. At least I’ve had chills more times than I can count this weekend, so I hope I’m able to relay what took place in a way that can at least give you a glimpse of the amazing, God-orchestrated weekend we just experienced. The “we” includes 8 of us: Yvette, Kim, Christy, Kenzie, Emily, Karen, Chrissy, and me. From all over the country, from every kind of background, we were drawn together because of the common bond of loss, to meet face to face after months of loving each other through the hardest time of our lives.

When I got on the plane to head to Atlanta I felt like I was on my way to meet up with life-long friends, and it wasn’t until I tried to explain to the person next to me on the plane what I was doing, that I realized from the outside looking in, it appeared a little strange. I laughed as the words “I’m meeting my friends who’ve I’ve never seen before” caused heads to whip around in skepticism. The guy ahead of me gave me the precautionary, “You can never be too careful meeting people from the internet,” while I smiled and assured him, this was safe.

The impetus for the trip was the Deeper Still conference, featuring Kay Author, Beth Moore, and Pricilla Shirer, and it turned out to be the perfect backdrop to our time together. We were anything but incognito as we went everywhere in a pack of eight wearing our matching t-shirts that Emily had designed. On the back of the shirts was the phrase “Our little ones are dancing with Jesus now,” was followed by the names of each of the nine babies we represented, along with the amount of time they lived. Who knows how many people we were able to share our story with while we moved in and out of the 19,000 women who packed out the arena. I hope that through that, we were able to point to God, giving Him the glory for where He has brought us.

It’s crazy to feel so completely comfortable, completely in your element, with people you’ve never met before, but that’s exactly how it was. I can’t give you a play by play of our time together, but I want to at least give a run through of the highlights. We piled onto two beds each night, laughing, talking, sometimes crying, into the wee hours of the night—or sometimes the early hours of the morning. We caravanned through the unfamiliar interstates of Atlanta, defying death as we tried to follow a temperamental GPS system. We had the opportunity to meet Beth Moore and have her pray over us, laying her hands on each of our heads and asking God to give us victory and make Satan regret the day he attacked and tried to bring defeat. We ate milk duds and chocolate while we signed brown canvas placemats symbolizing the mat from Luke 15 that we promised to hold each other on when one was too weak to continue alone. We felt God speak to us, showing us how He is using the wilderness season of our lives to bring about His greatest work. We cemented life-long friendships.

I don’t know if we’ll ever get a chance to do this again. I know we want to, but who can see the future and where each of us will be but God? But whether we do this again or not, I will always be so grateful for the three days I spent with these beautiful, funny, godly, and compassionate girls. I am a better person for having known each of them, and I will always count it as one of my highest privileges to have been able to walk this road by their sides.

29 comments:

Adam & Amy Wilson said...

oh Angie, it sounded like a wonderful time and I'm so glad you all were able to finally meet and be blessed in person. What a great memory and hopefully it will continue. (I love the t-shirts)

M said...

WoW. I am so glad each of you got to join the trip! Seems like such a great time of fellowship!

Laurie said...

Oh, be still my heart. The pictures of the eight of you together just makes my heart leap for joy. Thank you Angie for this glimpse of heaven right here on earth. I prayed for this weekend to be blessed and am so thankful it was. Oh and the matching shirts, just like God, your father to keep an eye on you in a crowd with matching colors.:) Great job Emily!!!You eight girls will cherish and remember this fellowship for a lifetime. I love you guys on the bed. I am so happy for you all. Thanks Angie, I will keep this memory of answered prayer in my heart always. I love you.

Laurie in Ca.

Mountainmom said...

Those could quite possibly be the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. I love the top one best----what precious smiles despite your shared losses! I am thrilled that you were able to be together and orchestrate such a perfect time.
Lori C, reader in VA

lora and stephen said...

I have been reading your blog for a while and have been uplifted by your faith and the grace with which you have handled the past few months. Congratulations on the new addition to your beautiful family. I too attended the Deeper Still conference this past weekend and it was amazing! I am so glad that you all were able to attend together. What a blessing!
Lora

Kirsten said...

What a beautiful description of your weekend, the t-shirts - everything. Thank you for detailing it all so wonderfully.

I'm so grateful that you all were willing to allow me to enter in to your precious time together for a little while. It was amazing and I was so honored and comforted just to "be" with you all. Thank you, thank you.

Each of you has been such an inspiration to me and source of strength the last few months. God has used Poppy Joy and all her friends in Heaven to reach the masses for His glory.

God bless you. You are in my prayers.

Blessings,
Kirsten

Marlina said...

What a thrill to see all of you beautiful mamas together! I feel like I know you all, and kinda wish I was there with you!! What a neat thing for you all to spend that time together, I bet it was so bittersweet...to know what brought you all together, to know you were able to see and meet each other in person, but knowing you had to leave after weekend! (I know you all have lovely families to go home to though!)
Anyway, I'm so excited for you all, and so blessed by ALL your stories!

Jaci said...

I am glad you went and had a great time! I am glad you guys met and will keep these good friendships along the way. Love the shirts...

KrazyMom said...

I follow so many of your blogs, that there are many familiar faces in your pictures. I am so excited for all of you to have had the time of fellowship! No doubt that those are life long friendships that will be forever treasured!

Kenzie said...

Angie-

I thought I had posted a comment already... where is my mind today? I just love this post about our wonderful time together. It was such a blessing for me to look into your face and see the peace and joy and purpose that can only come from the Lord. Thank you for sharing that with all of us! I will always treasure this beautiful time together... you are so amazing!

I love you and hope those girls had fun with family!
Love, Kenz

Just Me said...

My home remains without electricity from a storm that came through on Friday. I thought about you girls all weekend, praying that you were having a wonderful time together. Today I decided to bring my laptop to a place with a wireless connection so I could "check in". I did get chills, and tears in my eyes seeing the photos, and reading about your time together. What a wonderful, blessed time. And, like you said, even if you are never all together again this side of Heaven, you will never forget this time together (and, there is still email, the telephone, the Internet...as long as you have electricity, that is!). What beautiful memories...I am so happy for all of you!

I'm sure you missed your girls while you were gone, but I am glad it worked out for you to go!

You and your family remain in my thoughts and prayers.
Take care,
Amanda

Jodee Leader said...

What a fabulous weekend. I love the shirts that you wore!

Sonja said...

This was the most amazing and awesome post I've ever seen. I believe I've followed most of these stories but I don't remember all of them and each of their blogs. I have a memory from little Jacob and I have followed the story of Poppy Joy but putting names with the rest I can't remember them all. I would love to read each blog if you could direct me to each site? This was totally cool that you all got together and that you have become friends. God has His picture painted regardless how far or wide He has to send His paint.
God Bless
Sonja

Cathy said...

I am so happy for this God-filled friendship that has been formed. Praying for all of your families.
CAthy & Annabel

Sheila said...

Wasn't it awesome?!?!? What a great picture with Ms. Beth!
So glad you were able to go.

boltefamily said...

Angie,

I am still unable to put words to this weekend. You did it beautifully as always! Thank you so much for sharing yourself and Poppy Joy with me! It was truly a God filled weekend and I could not feel more blessed!

Love you and miss you!

Kristy

TNKerry said...

Wow!!!A weekend I know you will never forget.

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Dear Angie,
Can I just copy and paste this to my blog and say "DITO"? JK but it's been hard to find the time to sit down and put into words what you, the other girls, our babies, and this weekend has meant to me. There are no words really, but you came as about as close as possible to describing it. I am still recovering from no sleep but if it takes two weeks to get caught up, it was worth every waking moment and every blood shot in my eyes!
I love you friend...you are everything and more of what I thought you would be!
With love,
Kim

Jennifer said...

Hi Angie, I was at Deeper still also with Shelia Lackey from Bethel Baptist church out of Columbiana Alabama. She told me all about your group when I met up with her and the other girls Friday in Atlanta. We looked for your group the whole time, but we knew it would be almost impossible. I really wish I could have met all of you. The conference was overwhelming and amazing. I have had a hard year and sometimes felt like God had let me down and this weekend reminded me that he has great things for us. My husband and I lost our 6 month old baby girl last July and we have been trying to get back to some type of normalcy. Our daughter was born with SMA a genetic disorder that affects the neuromuscular system. Most infants do not live past the age of 2. You can read our story at www.addisonfaust.wetpaint.com. I am so glad you were able to meet all of your friends this weekend and I thought of you all several times throughout the event. Congratulations on your new addition to your family. The Lord has great things ahead for all of us.

Jennifer

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen in Al said...

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!!! i cannot count the number of times i sent up a prayer for you gals! i was just completely thrilled and overwhelmed with emotion when i pictured you all together and seeing the pictures i know that it was way beyond anything my heart could imagine or hope for. You can see it in all of your eyes. so thankful you were all able to be together for such a special time. rejoicing for all the ways the Lord brings beauty from ashes....:)jen in al

Kirsten said...

Angie,

Thinking about you today as you get back into the groove of life with your girls. I finally was able to watch Poppy Joy's video - it is just beautiful. Amazing. The joy and love in your faces is incredible and such a testimony. Thank you for sharing.

I hope it was OK that I copied the picture from your blog. Seeing your faces again is such a treat and since I forgot to take a picture I love seeing those that you all took.

Have a blessed day! You are in my prayers.

Kirsten

Heidi said...

You don't know me, I don't know you... but I have been reading your story for some time now. I thank God that all of you had the chance to meet, to hug, to cry, and to feel comfort- if even just for a weekend.
Thank you for allowing others to read your story and to pray for you. I am so happy for your new addition... you look so happy hugging your new little girl.
I pray for you all often... your friend in Christ!

Anonymous said...

I have followed several of your stories and recognized many of you-what a special time to be together.
You reference Luke 15 about a mat that symbolized standing in the gap for one another-I have looked in several translations a nd can't find that-will you tell me the verse? It sounds wonderful.

amy said...

SOmeone sent me to your blog and I am glad they did. I am in Atlanta and was at the conference as well! Boy it sure rocked!!
Blessings

Amy

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine sent me your blog and told me I should read it. I, also, went to the Deeper Still conference in Atlanta with 8 other close friends of mine. I have been looking into adoption and have felt that this is something God wants me to do; however, fear has held me back. We have a 6 year old son and have a great desire to have another. However, I am not able to conceive another child due to my egg supply. Your blog has encouraged me to let go of my fears and trust God to take me down the path He wants me to follow to fulfill my heart's deepest desire. Thank you for sharing your life so others may be encouraged and inspired to take a leap of faith.

ps Poppy is a beautiful angel!!

Christy

Linda said...

What a wonderful post. I hope you don't mind but I referenced it on my post yesterday. I am so glad God worked out all the details so that you all could meet. I know you have been a big support to one another during the home-going of your little ones.
Blessings,
Linda

So Blessed said...

It is so wonderful to hear what a blessing the weekend was for all of you...I prayed that it would be...I am so thankful that you girls had this opportunity to share this special time with each other. There is a special bond between each of you that is a priceless gift from our loving Father. He has given ya'll each other to encourage and support one another through your grief journeys. What a gift!

Boothe Farley said...

i am sad i wasn't there... and yet SO BLESSED to look at these pictures! oh, angie, what an amazing gathering. my heart is literally swelling and my eyes are filling with tears as i look at these women who i don't know, either, and yet who have so touched my life and who i rely on, strangely, to give me strength each day. sometimes i feel so alone. it's awesome to know how the Lord has given us stories that connect us to other hurting souls. thank you for sharing these pics. will you let me know when this group gets together again, if it's all right?