Last week, my husband and I had the opportunity to attend the Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, dontchya know. I knew we had truly arrived to the land of ten thousand lakes when the sweet elderly couple, who sat next to us on the plane, exchanged the following words: ( use your best Minnesotan accent as you say it ) Honey, can you get my beg? Oh, I s'pose so. Yep! We weren't in Kansas anymore Toto! All accent kidding aside, we had a wonderful time away. Minnesota greeted us with a blanket of Fall color and we were more than happy to drink in all of the beauty.
Our flight arrived in the early evening on Thursday, so we ventured around a little bit before finding our hotel. Now, I have to admit, I realize that hotel accommodations should not be the most important part of a conference. However, I dare say, there was possibly, just maybe, quite certainly a man in charge of approving the hotels on the list, wink wink. But it was okay-- we slept very soundly and were very grateful for a roof over our heads.
Friday morning, I caught my first memorable glimpse of the Mississippi River and we explored the Mill Ruins area. It was beautiful. After lunch, we headed over to the conference hall, registered, and went our separate ways for the first three pre-sessions. I had the privilege of listening to Carolyn McCulley, Sally Lloyd-Jones, and Elyse Fitzpatrick. The theme of the pre-sessions was 'Seasons of Life'; McCulley spoke on singleness, Lloyd-Jones spoke on 'The Child, The Parent, and The Story', and Fitzpatrick spoke on grandparenting. All of these sessions were so challenging and helpful. I hope to share a few of my favorite takeaways in my next post.
Friday afternoon, I stole away from the panel discussion and met up with my blog friend, now real-life friend, Beth. Oh my goodness. Remember this? Well, I was given a second round of real life, pen pal friendship this last week. And friends, these pen pals of mine do not disappoint! I can't really express the huge amount of encouragement that I found during the short hours spent with Beth. Recently, someone asked me about my "blog friendships". They questioned whether or not these gals could really challenge me since they don't see me in the every day, the down and out, through the ups and downs of this life. I knew the questioner's intention was good, but I couldn't help but shed tears when I tried to explain how much these pen pal friendships challenge me, encourage me with their good counsel, and strengthen my faith. I realize the value of local friendships too, but in a day and age where we have these windows to connect to the body of Christ abroad, I want to capitalize on those opportunities. Beth and I were discussing, via text message, ha!, that it's strange to briefly meet someone and then deeply miss that friendship a few days later. But that is the beauty of true Christian fellowship, is it not?
I hope to share some takeaways from the sessions and a few more pictures over the next week or so. We were so, so grateful for the opportunity to get away and so very thankful that our boys were home safe with Nana!
Happy weekending to you!