this was my fourth year attending the allume conference, so i should know by now that God is going to do some work on me there in ways i could never anticipate. i should know by now that the atmosphere at allume is rich fertile grounds for my personal spiritual growth. i packed my bags, kissed my family bye-bye, and headed to the airport with no expectations of the weekend ahead; only grateful for the opportunity to go to greenville, sc representing the seed company, and excited to see friends.
"We create little moments. Small pauses. Little reminders of family, good times, vacations, faith, the simplicity of a few well placed, beautiful and useful items. Our mementos from life can be put together in a way to inspire beauty and to tell a quick little story–not the entire story, but just a little part… a vignette." -The Nester
the series focuses on creating meaningful vignettes in our homes - the physical sort with lamps and frames and branches in vases. yet, i can't help but think about vignettes in a virtual sort, meaningful moments in time, small pauses, little reminders, mementos put together to inspire beauty...Jehovah-Shammah. the Lord is there.
yall know God is so good. can i share some of the little moments from my allume trip when His presence was undeniable? can i tell you about these unexpected divine encounters and experiences? i want to remember these little vignettes i found at allume- the evidence of Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord was there.
// the anxiety started before i even got on the plane. i flew out of dfw airport, recently famous for being the place where ebola first landed in america. it felt like such a risk to be at the airport and boarding a tiny plane with all the people and ALL THE GERMS. flu season and all. but i had my hand-sanitizer, my armor of God, and maintained a good 10 feet from every person who sneezed or coughed or looked feverish. in the security check line, the panic started to rise up in my chest as i watched people take off their shoes. i kicked myself for not putting hand-sanitizer on my feet. mercy. a couple filed in line behind me and i could hear their conversation: "did you hear about that nurse with ebola? they aren't even restricting flights! there was a pilot showing symptoms just yesterday. and i heard a passenger had to get off the plane because he had a fever..." i tried to not hear them, focusing instead on the faint music i could hear in the background. the fear-filled conversation muffled and i soon realized the music wasn't coming from the overhead speakers; it wasn't piped-in airport musak. i looked around and discovered the song i heard off in the distance was coming from the ticketing area behind me, where an older woman was sitting alone, swaying side to side, wearing headphones and singing loud and proud: "How Great is Our God, sing with me How Great is Our God, and all will see How Great, How Great is Our God!" yes. name above all names. worthy of all praise. and my heart will sing, how great is our God. amen. and when i got to gate 31B, my boss was there with a handful of my favorite pens that he brought as a birthday gift for me. it was a vignette. Jehovah-Shammah.
// i love greenville in october. the seed company team arrived a day before the conference started, so we had plenty of time to stroll around downtown and eat at my favorite restaurant in greenville: Tupelo Honey, not once but twice during the weekend. God knows how much i love good conversation, good friends, and good food. that smile right there? genuine joy. it was a vignette. Jehovah-Shammah.
// on wednesday night, we worked on the prayer room. the seed company prayer room has been one of my favorite parts of allume since the first year i attended and first learned about the organization. i remember the room was quiet and candle-lit, i remember the ministry was involved with bible translation, and i remember the journal i got to take home after the conference. pages and pages of sweet notes and prayers from new friends and strangers...a precious memento from the seed company at allume. and isn't it funny? now i'm on the seed company team, inviting bloggers to help end bible poverty, helping set up the allume prayer room, personalizing journals and jotting prayers on their pages. we worked and the soundtrack was "You Make Me Brave," and i didn't feel brave but small and insecure. as i went down the list of allume attendees, personalizing bookmarks, i came across several familiar names. it was comforting and peace. i knew i would be seeing those friendly faces and meeting them with warm hugs soon. vignette. Jehovah-Shammah.
// our table, where attendees came to learn about bible translation, was situated at the end of a hallway where we could see all the other sponsor tables down the hall. when i walked to our table, i passed another table topped with propped-up books, some of which i've read, others on my to-read list. one book caught my eye. i did a classic double-take and saw MY FRIEND'S DONKEY on the cover! (nevermind that i can recognize my friend's donkey) and HER NAME listed as the AUTHOR! oh my goodness it's RACHEL ANNE'S BOOK! i blinked back tears- so thrilled to see rachel anne's God-sized dream tangible right there on the table. vignette. across the hall, i saw an unfamiliar brand, a new sponsor i hadn't heard of, so i looked closer. shazzy fitness. hmmm... shape what the Father gave ya! join the groovement! Christian hip-hop dance workout! wait - hold up - WHAT?! oh, Lord, you know me so well. i met kristy and apollo, truly gifted dancers who love the Lord. we found common ground and we danced on it early saturday morning, praising God for His goodness. Jehovah-Shammah.
looking back, they were everywhere. in hallways and sidewalks and elevators and dance floors and photo booths and minivans...
vingettes reminding me the Lord is there. i'm so thankful.
vingettes reminding me the Lord is there. i'm so thankful.
"blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places
where other people see nothing"