I wasn't originally planning on writing this post, but my dear friend, Flo, told me via facebook that she couldn't wait to hear about what I learned last weekend. So, you can thank her for this post! ;) Actually, it's a very good thing for me to write this, because I know it will really solidify in my mind what God showed me this past weekend. I must say that it was an amazing time! It was overwhelming, encouraging, enlightening, confirming, confusing, and clarifying! I don't think I can fit it all in one post, so I'll make this another series. (I do so like writing serial posts!)
I found out about this event about three weeks before it happened, and I've never been to one before. Let's just say I had no expectations for this event because I had no idea what to expect! So I arrive downtown last Thursday afternoon, and of course it's at a convention center that has no parking of its own. I'm running late because of picking up my daughter from school, and I was prepared to drive around the city (a part of the city I've rarely been to) on the hunt for a parking space. I had emptied our trusty coin jar for just this situation. But, glory be to God, I found a space in a free public lot one block behind the convention center!
So I'm praising God under my breath while I'm walking to the door while still feeling a bit on the nervous side, not knowing what I'd find in that big, ominous building that filled an entire block. I approach the first door I see with my heart lightly palpitating, reach out for the handle, pull, and... NOTHING! The door was locked! Of course that didn't make me feel like a dork, especially since there were about five people who saw my pointless effort! So I kept going about ten more feet and saw an open door! Oh, the joy! I quickly ducked inside the door, acting like it was perfectly normal to try to open a locked door when there's another one standing wide open. Then I tried to find the Registration table. So I circled the entire lower hallway, ducking people, kids, rolling carts, strollers, tables, chairs... looking for a booth, sign, or anything that would show me where Registration was located. Again, nothing. Finally, I saw a volunteer who was eying me suspiciously, and asked him where I needed to go. He politely pointed me in the right direction. So I had to turn around, go in the opposite direction from whence I came, dodge the people and things again, go up the escalator, dodge more people and things, and then I saw a table that looked like it might be Registration. So I inquired of the people who were sitting there, and was somewhat patronizingly informed that it was actually the Volunteer table, and that I needed to keep going. So I continued my trek, hiking around the many obstacles in my path, when, finally, in the distance, I saw it! I spied a giant "REGISTRATION" sign with several booths and people, and I heard angels singing! I went from joy to ecstasy! I knew I was right where I was supposed to be! I did the dance of joy in my heart! (Okay, maybe the reaction wasn't quite that exuberant, but I was relieved, at least, to find Registration.)
So I found Registration, and you know what I did next? I registered! I know! Smart, huh? Then I had to figure out what to do next. I looked in the program, and during each session, there were eight different speakers covering eight different topics in eight different workshops with no repeats! I had to fight to keep my eyes from crossing when I looked at the agenda. With some effort I figured out which session I would go to at the appropriate time (I had already missed the first session) and then decided to go check out the book fair. Now, apparently this book fair is a big deal. They charge 30 smackers just to get into the thing. But, even armed with that knowledge I was still completely unprepared for the behemoth I was about to face (not that the book fair is monstrous – it's just really, really huge! And when I say really huge, I mean REALLY HUGE!). I walked into the exhibit hall, as innocent as Eve before she met the serpent, took one look around, and was completely dazzled by the vast quantities knowledge tempting me to take a taste. That room (which is bigger than a football field) was so completely filled with vendor booths that I didn't know which way to turn. So I just picked a direction and went with it. Well, there were well over 100 vendors, so I certainly didn't see them all before my first session started. I left the exhibit hall, knowing I was destined to return, and went to my session.
Well, I thought I did. I got in there, and the person talking was a woman, and I had picked a session with a male speaker. I realized something was amiss. I had to sneak out and find the right room, and then sneak into the my chosen session. At least I didn't make that mistake again!
So I think you get a picture of why I was overwhelmed. And all this happened just within my first 60 minutes at the conference! Tomorrow I'll talk about the wonderful things God showed me. It's amazing how He can move you from a place of being overwhelmed to a place of confidence!