As Erma asked for a host for the 2014 State Conference, we sat around the table and looked at each other …could we? should we?..
And God has His way; of shaping us and molding us; creating “His Masterpiece” from our “Beautiful Mess”
Imagine our surprise as we were told of coming theme “A Beautiful Mess”! I don’t like mess, I fight against it day in day out. I find no beauty in disorder, ugliness, chaos. I don’t see things as God does.
So our team dutifully took on the challenge to try to see messy as beautiful. Even our team was at times a little messy but always beautiful!
Friday night we enjoyed a beautiful dinner; complete with Eaton Mess for dessert! We saw some gorgeous images of some incredibly messy faced cherubs as Erma introduced the theme and then found out about some of our own messy situations as we shared with each other in our icebreaker. We were inspired by Julie Prattis who shared her messy road to birthing MOPS in Australia. Isn’t anything being birthed a messy situation filled with beauty! We heard from our own Julie Gent who has been an integral part of our own MOPS story here at Craigmore. She shared her very personal “messiness” to remind us that our story of mess is God’s story of beauty. Both of these women reflected the spirit of Shauna Neiquist’s thoughts that were shared in the DVD “Being Authentic in Your Story”.
Saturday began with its fair share of messiness. “Technical problems” plagued our media clips and much reshuffling of Erma’s carefully constructed program was carried out. Despite the mess we were privileged to be able to join together in worship as we praised God together. Real beauty!
Our keynote speaker – Jillian shared with us, God’s work in us as His unique creation and His work in her from shyness to Regional Coordinator, sharing in front of us all. She encouraged us and challenged us with the phrase “What is God calling you to do?” and prayed Ephesians 3:14-21 for us all.
I couldn’t help giggling over the title of Lysa TerKeurst’s DVD that we were about to play – UNGLUED! With all our technical and other behind the scenes problems that our team was dealing with that morning, I personally was close to becoming “unglued” at that very moment! Lysa in the stunning setting of Florence reminded us of what kind of ‘Procedure Manual ‘we could have for our ‘unglued’ moments. Her second point “Redirect Our Focus to Jesus” was timely and as we enjoyed our team small discussion we were encouraged to let God do His job and be thankful in everything.
We all then joined together and heard Louise Wabnitz as she shared her heart wrenching story of pregnancy and loss. While the tears flowed she was able to point us to ‘God’s abundant blessing’ within her tragedy and how God has used her experiences to give her the empathy and compassion for those facing similar loss. How God gives us beauty for ashes.
We recomposed ourselves for lunch and enthusiastic discussion within our team positions and then our individual groups and closed with prayer.
God has His way; of shaping us and molding us; creating “His Masterpiece” from our “Beautiful Mess”.
Even throughout the Conference itself we saw that our plans for perfection fell into mini messes and yet God’s Masterpiece of what He wanted for 2014 State Conference were undoubtedly achieved.