I'm so happy to be a guest here at Love of Family and Home!
I'm Heathahlee (but you can just call me Heather) and I blog at Butterfly Genes. I'm also on Twitter @Butterfly_Genes and Facebook at facebook.com/butterflygenesblog. I'd love for you to come visit!
When Tonya asked if I had a story of God's love, I knew immediately which one I'd share. It was about this time last year, as a matter of fact.
On October 4, 2010, my precious Momma went home to Jesus after a six-year long battle with breast cancer. Losing her was so hard, and I was exhausted emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I had planned long before we knew Momma was going to be so sick to go to Relevant, a Christian bloggers conference, at the end of October. I was so looking forward to the trip, just because I needed a time of healing and being refreshed in my spirit.
But I never expected what happened. From the moment the plane took off in Memphis, I knew this was going to be a special trip. I'm tearing up as I'm typing just because the memory stirs my heart to this day. I've never seen the city, still draped in darkness at my early flight time, look so sparkly beautiful. The rest of the flight was just as beautiful. It was like the Lord was just letting my spirit rest in His beauty, even if some of it was man made (the Chicago skyline always makes me smile).
When I stepped foot into the Sheraton's entry, I was greeted by the warmest "It's Heathahlee!" from Sarah Mae, who hugged me tightly and said she wanted to talk more later, which we did. I was so encouraged by her willingness to take the time to talk, even though she had so many more responsibilities. She even grabbed Teri Lynne to take her place when she was worried about me being by myself.
My roommate, Tracey, had gone to lunch and would meet me later. I went up to our room to find this...We had had a conversation about candy corn being my favorite candy, and do you see the "H" tissues? She figured I'd need them for the weekend. We met and it was like we had known each other forever.
The rest of the weekend was like that...one sweet surprise after another. I met Traci and Cyndi, who had lost their mother the year before, and Michelle, who had lost hers in June. Coincidence? I think not. Traci and Cyndi were so encouraging. Michelle and I didn't talk much but we did give each other great big hugs and cried great big tears on each other.
Then I met Ann. Oh, my goodness. The woman exudes Jesus. At the time I got to meet her, she had 200 other women who wanted to talk to her and get her autograph, yet she took the time to truly listen to my babbling on and on about losing my mother and how God was so good...she was so gracious.
All this time, throughout the whole conference, I'm just thinking over and over how good God was being to me. The more things happened the more I thought that. But Saturday night was the finishing touch.
I was privileged to help lead worship that night with Adam, Sarah Mae's worship leader at the time, and Jen, which was yet another way I felt the Lord just tapping me on the shoulder and saying, "Here's some more of My love...." Adam had us read portions of Psalm 66 in between each song. I didn't read mine beforehand. I really should have. Mine was verses 16-20:
Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayeror withheld his love from me!
(Emphasis added by me)
Needless to say, I wept for a good 2 or so minutes before I could even speak. I just couldn't get over how much love He was pouring on me. I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by His love. But He wasn't done yet.
As we worshiped, I watched the ladies as they worshiped as well. One of them stood out to me as she sang and jumped and lifted her hands in praise to the Father. I couldn't watch her for long, because I can't sing when I'm crying! Being there, leading in worship, watching those women praise their Savior...it was as if the Lord was saying..."Aaaand here's some more...."
I will never forget that experience. I'm going back to Relevant this year. I'm in a different place in life this time, and I don't expect to have the same experiences as I did last year. But I will go, still expecting God to show me His love.
Because that's just what He does.