Last weekend I attended the "Women of Faith" conference at the Pond. Okay, the "Honda Center" but I feel way cooler saying I went to "the Pond," home of the Mighty Ducks. Quack.
Let it build.
My favorite moment of the conference was when the worship team led us in a bunch of songs. I always love being in scenarios where thousands of people are praising God at once. It always makes me anticipate heaven and long for it even more.
I take that back. My favorite moment was when the president of the conference was talking in the mic as she ascended the stairs to the stage and did a face plant. Cue thousands of simultaneous gasps of shock and concern and one socially unaware girl giggling with shoulders shaking and maybe a little bit of pointing and reinacting.
Another favorite moment was when Luci Swindoll spoke. She has a passion for the lost and for adventure and is shockingly silly. I didn't know 82 year olds could be so goofy. She sang a hilarious song about a frog and made these bizarre faces and sound effects- that was when I knew I wanted to be like her.
She spoke a lot about enjoying the life we have on earth. This surprised me. I don't know what I was expecting- maybe a message about how I should be doing more, serving more, surrendering more- but not about how I should be smiling more, laughing more, and savoring more of life's moments.
Her grandmother said to never go a day without falling into a heap laughing. And so, "we've spent our lives in heaps." I love that. I hope that I say that when I'm 82. I hope that I've lived a life of adventure and service to my king and I hope I've laughed and laughed and laughed.
I certainly did this past weekend I spent with my family. We were literally doubled over in heaps when my mom said "shitting" instead of "sitting" and when Vander did a face plant into the screen door and stood up with a bloody mouth, angry at the world and even more angry at his family trying unsuccessfully to suppress laughter.
At the conference Luci shared the following verse from First Timothy chapter 6: 17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Verses 18 and 19 talk about what we usually focus on to be a "good Christian."- do good deeds, be generous, share and you'll be rewarded in heaven. But Luci focused on verse 17 and how God has provided us with so much on this planet for our enjoyment.
Just today I read an essay to my Juniors called "Seeing" by Annie Dillard. Dillard so beautifully penned many of the points Luci was making about seeing and enjoying the world around us.
"I've been thinking about seeing. There are lots of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But- and this is the point-who gets excited by a mere penny?...But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days."
I love that. And not just because of the alliteration. I don't know if Dillard is a believer but we talked about how indeed God has showered this world with "free surprises" but we must take the time to acknowledge them, give Him thanks, and then revel in them and savor these free gifts. To do this we must "cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity" where the small free gifts of the world can bring us wonder.
Of all the people I've met thus far in life, Andre is the best at this. I blogged about Andre a lot while in Mozambique. I saw Christ in him more clearly than I've ever seen Him in a person. He was so rich in joy though so poor in terms of earthly treasures. I wouldn't call Andre's a "healthy" poverty but he certainly lives in a state of simplicity where he finds joy and pleasure in the free surprises you and I might step right over. Indeed, our world is "planted in pennies" as our great God has littered the earth with free, abundant blessings, if we would but stop and notice.
In an attempt to pause and look around and acknowledge the free surprises, the pennies, the typically unnoticed treasures of this life, I started listing things I like. Then I made it rhyme.
See next post.