In no particular order, five Creationfest Oh Nine memories:
1. Because I am tempted to have more before I head up to bed, this one comes to mind first ...
I took Drew's friend, Brett, to Creation this year. His mom, Karm, is my friend. (Love it when that happens.)
Minutes before we left on Tuesday, she handed me a gift bag containing a number of envelopes as well as a package. "Open up one envelope each evening after you've crawled into bed and are relaxed," she instructed.
Know what was in there? Stuff. For me. Things like, a bookmark and card with affirming, encouraging words. One night I got a book. And another night I got $10 bill along with "permission to take time for myself" and go hop the fence at the Gorge to go to Cave B Inn and Winery for a wine tasting. But the last night's envelope? Was The Best. In it was a certificate for an "RV Cleaning" and "homemade dinner".
Yeah, that's right. She offered her services to come and clean out my RV after I got back AND provide a home cooked meal. (In the past, my dad and mom have always come over after I get back from Creation. To see the kids. You know how it is. And my dad has washed the outside of the motorhome while my mom gives me a hand with the inside. Dad has been unable to help much these past few years, and mom is completely incapacitated due to her broken ankle this year.)
So Karm's offer brought tears to my eyes. (As does just about every act of kindness directed at me.)
And the dinner? So delish. And there was so much of it, I had it again for dinner this evening. And I'm tempted to go have some more before I go to bed.
Thank you Karmen. You are incredible. THAT was sooooo thoughtful.
(When I mentioned the whole envelope thing to those I was creationfesting with, there was a collective "ahhhhh" heard in the campsite. How'd I get to be so lucky? Seriously. I have the best friends.
Someone who shall remain nameless, unless she lets me know otherwise, said that when her husband went away on a missions trip years ago, she too had given him envelopes to open each evening. He was expecting sappy, drippy I.Love.You type letters. Instead he got a photo of his wife. Nude. In a different pose each night. Tastefully photographed by a female friend.)
Which brings me to my next memory,
2. Conversations. I love, LOVE, love, love, LoVe talking with friends. And Creationfest is, like, the best place to have good talks. Great talks. Heart to heart, mother to mother, woman to woman, friend to friend, deep, wide, fun, serious, sad, enlightening, encouraging talks. Sometimes tears were shed. Sometimes snorts were heard. Sometimes I learned something.
3. Speaking of learning something. I was reminded AGAIN that God is always concerned with our character and not-so-much our comfort. I had one of those God-got-my-attention lessons this year (like I seemingly get every year) and while I mostly can't blog about it because it invloves another person, I can say it was awesome that God hit three birds with one stone. Is that right? How does the saying go? Cus it feels weird saying that. I don't think God hits birds with stones.... someone, help me out here.
What I mean, is, that there was a three-fer deal on, and three of us got the message. Three of us had to learn the lesson. Three of us "got it".
See, there was this issue. And it was directly impeding my personal comfort. And I wanted it resolved. (Removed.) Think; pebble in shoe. Or grain of sand in oyster shell.
A few of us felt the same way. So that made it OK. We were in agreement. And we were in the right. Making us righteous.
And then. Then, God nudged all three of us. And without much discussion, we all knew what we had to do. Individually and corporately. Two of us talked about it and made attitude adjustments. The next morning we witnessed the attitude adjustment in the third one of us.
I know I'm being cryptic but maybe I've shared enough to allow you to get a sense of the way God works. I don't think he calls only one member of a team. He makes sure everyone gets the message. It's pretty affirming.
An example of this in scripture would be God telling Mary she was going to have a baby. Then telling Joseph about it too. Can you imagine if God hadn't bothered letting Joseph know the deal? God is a communicator. He will make sure everyone gets the memo. I think that if God, for example, was calling a married couple to the mission field, he'd tell BOTH the husband and the wife, don't you think?
ANYways, know what? It made it so much easier to change my attitude when two of my friends were making the same change.
4. In addition to the attitude change I needed to make, I also "got" another message. One of the speakers mentioned the term "holy echoes" and that's when you, say, hear a bible verse, and it sticks in your mind. And then, maybe, you're out with friends, and somehow, someone mentions something kinda related to that bible verse. And then, without you trying, that bible verse pops up again in something you're reading on, say, someone's blog. And then on Sunday, the pastor preaches on that exact same verse. THAT is an holy echo. And it's God's way of getting a message to you.
So I had a holy echo at Creation. I kept hearing a particular message over and over again. And that message had to do with my worth. My value. There are alot of voices in my life. In everyone's life. Voices with positive messages and voices with negative ones. I listen to the negative ones alot.
But sometimes those negative messages are the ones that are delivered the loudest, the most often, and by the people I love desperately.
And it's hard to self-talk yourself into feeling good about yourself when you kinda feel like a loser in all the things that you hold important.
The first echo I heard was during the Casting Crown concert:
But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
And then, after that, over and over again, I heard speakers and singers say that God loves me.
I think I needed to hear that again. Hear it with my heart. I feel pretty unlovable sometimes, you know?
And the other theme that may or may not have been heard by anyone else? God listens to 'praying mama's'. So many (all?) of the speakers mentioned their praying mothers. Inspiring. No, really. Very encouraging.
You know how sometimes you pray and pray and it seems like those prayers are just tiny little drops in a huge prayer-gathering bucket? No? Well, for me, it seems that some of the folks/situations I'm praying for, are impossible to change. I keep praying because it's the right thing to do, but I'm doubting the effect that my prayers in particular have. Because, you know, why would God be moved by my requests? I mean, really, who am I?
So, anyway, there's this child I pray for as often as I pray for my own, and this past season, my prayer has been that God would bring someone significant into X's life that would love and befriend X. And that this friend would have a relationship with X that was based on trust. ANd that this person would be a christian and would be bold enough to share Christ's love to X in such a way that X would fully understand.
I didn't tell X's mom that this had been my prayer.
I overheard X's mom tell a story about her encounter with X earlier in the week. Most of the story is just mom-stuff that you'd never understand unless you were a 40-something-year-old-mom so I won't bore you with it. But the part that she shared that I know was God's message to me, was this, "... and then X opened the glove box and out fell a brand new Four Spiritual Laws booklet. And I knew. Someone is sharing their faith with my child. Someone has gotten close enough to talk to X about Jesus. God has brought a bold believer into X's life"
She wasn't telling me that story directly. But I was hearing it as if I was the only one in grassy field.
5. Other memories? The concerts. I mentioned Casting Crowns already. Oh goodness me, that was truly one of the best concerts I have ever been to. Seriously. Not only are they are incredible musicians - they have a fabulous ministry. So. Very. Moving. Powerful. Goodgoodgoodgoodgood.
Chris Tomlin, of course, had a solid worship set. Loved every single song he sung. He has a high forehead. Just thought I'd mention that.
David Crowder is the funnest worship singer EVah. So much energy and wit. My legs (especially that smashed knee) are still aching from all the bouncing and dancing.
Brian Doerksen's worship sessions were awesome. He's the man.