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hope spoken 2014 | a little recap

well. it feels weird to be back here in this space. i haven't regularly blogged for over a year. i'm feeling like it's time for a redesign but that's beside the point. i'm really here to tell you about Hope Spoken conference that i attended in dallas 2 weekends ago. everyone has been saying how they need time to process everything. i'm no exception. what i'm about to share is really an email i wrote to casey and danielle a few days after i got home, but i've edited and expanded a little. there is still so much more in my heart and mind that's not quite ready to come out:

i'm finally sitting down to pour out my heart after such an amazing weekend. the first thing that's hitting me is these three girls went with a dream and a mission and a calling from Jesus, and were brave to walk through the door and keep going, as danielle describes it. i'm sure they imagined how beautiful it would be but i don't think they could have imagined just how incredible it ended up being. you can't dream up stuff like that, not all the intricate details and weaving-together of hearts and timely messages and beauty that only God can do. that's one huge thing i came away with, and it always blows me away, is that God takes what we offer Him, which in their case was A LOT of blood sweat and tears, hard work and dedication and follow through, and He makes it even better. He met with 250 women with 250 individualized messages that will never be forgotten. He changed us in ways we didn't know needed changing.

i know there are a lot of us women who are so thankful that they pursued this dream. that they didn't turn the other way or put it off until it made more sense or decide they  weren't the right girl for the job. they were brave. and i came away believing that i could be brave, too.

the vision for Hope Spoken was to simply share stories. i guess i had forgotten the power of sharing your story. i hadn't shared my story for quite awhile, and while i still didn't share my biggest earth-shattering stories, i remembered the power of relating, sharing the hard and daily stuff. mostly i remembered how God takes our modest offering, stumbling words, regular-old self, still not perfected, still not anyone to aspire to, just a sinner who is broken and so fallen short and so very dependent on Him... He takes it and multiplies it, makes it fit into each woman's story who hears it, brings along the precise women into our path who need to hear exactly what we need to tell. i was reminded that with God, nothing is wasted or cast aside, every tear is redeemed and given purpose. 

something that really stood out to me were the speakers that they chose for the break out sessions. all had wonderful God-stories, but not all would necessarily consider  themselves a "speaker". just someone with a story that would make Him look big and would remind us of the gospel. seeing women who were just like me, not necessarily orators, not necessarily comfortable in front of a group of people, helped me remember that we're all just His. none of us more remarkable than the next. it made me think that even though i am not a speaker, and it in fact is my biggest fear, that maybe i could share my story with a group of women someday (not soon, but just someday. ha!). it leveled that imaginary playing field that i had created to convince myself i wasn't dynamic enough to speak, that i wasn't pretty or skinny or comfortable enough. it just gave me some courage that maybe someday if God asked me to, i could do it. and that was kind of earth-shattering for me.

one of the most important pieces of the weekend was the worship. during worship is where i hear and experience God most beautifully and most personally. music is such a huge important part of my life and i can't tell you how God moved during those worship times. we've missed a lot of church since Trey was born 6 months ago and my soul has been missing corporate worship like nothing i can describe. as we gathered and sat down the very first night, and just before we started our worship time, i leaned over told my friend Leslie that I could hardly wait to worship God with His people again. i was thirsty for it in ways i can't even describe and it took about 4 seconds for sweet tears to flow freely down my face. God spoke to me so clearly through the few songs that seemed to pop up in every one of the worship sets that weekend -- Oh how He loves us, and Bless the Lord O my soul -- that He just wants me to know, soul-deep, and never forget and never question how much He loves me. just as i am, not performing or striving or doing or trying. just me, just who He created, His daughter, if i never did anything more in my entire life. and then He wants me to bless Him. it doesn't have to be grandiose or staged or earth-shattering. just bless His name in every season, in front of people or not, in my home with my kids when it's hard, in everything i do, just bless His name in the big and small ways. there's nothing i can do to earn more of His love, and there's nothing i can do to lose one ounce that He's already shown. He just loves me and delights in me and wants to be with me as daddy and little girl. it's so precious i'm weeping again as i type.

i think one of the biggest messages i heard, though, was from Shauna Niequist. she simply shared her story, what God has been showing her the past year or so. and the basic idea ---> more love, less hustle. i have honestly written a blog post 3 or 4 different times about this very thing, but just never posted it because it felt like that would be an odd post to start blogging again with, right? you see, i'm not what you would call a "hustler". and if you don't even know what that means, it's just someone who works hard, sets goals, and works with intense focus and perseverance toward those goals. i do have dreams, i have ideas of what i would love to do, and things i would love to create. but i don't have that follow-through and execute intense mentality. so when i try to manufacture it, i hate the person i become. i don't juggle a lot of things well, and i can barely keep up with the normal stuff that's already on my plate. but i was buying into the lie that if i didn't get on the wagon now, that it would leave without me and i cold never jump on later. the whole "strike while the iron is hot" mentality. create that product before someone else does, go with that idea before someone else beats you to it. well Shauna wisely put into words what i knew in my heart-- there will be other irons, the iron may still be hot later, and it's also okay if you aren't the one to strike it. i got permission to stop my version of hustle. to slow down and enjoy my kids and turn off the computer and set aside the phone and just be. and i can tell you that after just ten days of that, i'm happier, more content, patient with my kids and just all-around a much better person.

i know there are hundreds of women who would share experiences similar to mine, and i'm so thankful to these girls for being obedient to move forward with this weekend and bring it to life, a special & beautifully feminine place where God could meet us and love us and change us. i feel like a whole new way of living opened up before my eyes. one where I could be free and loved and accepted and small, because it's all about Him in the first place. i don't know what it means going forward, specifically, but i don't really need to know anymore. i know the next step is just to keep my eyes stayed on Him. "to walk through doors until He shuts them" - danielle burkleo. to use the gifts He's given me and not worry about the rest, because HE takes it makes it enough, HE takes it and multiplies it, HE bears the fruit and causes the ripples far beyond what I'll ever see.

and one last thing before i go. you guys, the most unique and special aspect of Hope Spoken as a women's conference were the small groups. i felt honored to be leading a group, and i can't express how beautiful those four small group sessions were for our group. it definitely filled in a gap that is passed over at every other conference out there: small groups where we can share and process and come alongside as God speaks to us. i think the small group aspect MADE the whole weekend.

if you have the means and opportunity to attend next year (march 27-29 2015 in dallas), PLEASE GO. i plan to.


  1. So grateful that you led a small group--and so beautifully too! We didn't get to officially meet, but next year!

  2. This is an awesome summary, Aly. Thanks for bringing me back with all the feelings and emotions, and it was YOU who reminded ME how important the worship was, and I realized how much I needed that time too. Many tears, I tell you. Missing you and hoping your re-entry into regular down in the valley life was a good one :)

  3. I found myself shaking my head yes, over and over while reading this! and that feeling before we started worshipping on the first night... me too girl, me too! When I say that it was a glorious feeling, I mean it. GLORIOUS! All the voices, in unison, beautiful harmonies, hands lifted, souls crying out... I'm in tears just thinking about how wonderful it was!
    I loved this: He changed us in ways we didn't know needed changing. yes. yessss!
    I loved that 250+ women all in different seasons, with different stories, with different needs were able to come and hear normal people talk but heard God through it all.
    Love you girl. Love you so so much!

  4. Yes!! I miss you writing because my heart always resonated with what you said. What you said about "hustling" hit me square in the eyes. I have been filling up my life with so many things... cluttering up my life so that I don't have the time to just "be" or to allow myself to be creative. Thank you for sharing... all this gives me permission to say "no" or "later" to some of these things. :-)

  5. Yes more love and less hustle is the message I've been hearing a lot God speaking to me lately...
    I'm glad to see you back

    Happy Medley Blog

  6. so glad you had a great time!!! Great message!


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