An early morning start, shrouded in darkness, marked a weekend in October – the start of three days of friendships, hospitality, and whispers. A slowing down in the middle of my busy became a rush to meet God right there in a Hyatt hotel in Greenville, SC.

A month has passed since Allume, a Christian bloggers/writers and everyone between, retreat and conference. As I stepped back into reality, I have stolen moments in between to reflect and restore the wealth of emotions, words and experiences from the weekend. This process will be ongoing as God uses the weekend moments to teach me further in my everyday life.

Being welcomed into the Allume family felt like a giant bear hug – no really, it was a time for hugs for everyone all day long. Online friends became real life family – Holly, LeeAnn, and Dana– love you all!

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Worship was an integral part of the experience, but it was in the opening wide of our hearts and letting it in, where God filled our hearts with a love so deep it seeped and then overflowed. Food was abundant, but each meal was a testimony of what hospitality and welcoming others was all about. Meeting keynote speakers, authors or people you had admired from afar was another opportunity to intertwine your story with theirs-no giddy school girl giggles were necessary-we were one! (Disclaimer-there might have been some giddy, school girl giggles! 🙂 )

Yet Allume was not just about three days away and new friendships. It was an invitation to hospitality –

A chance to create a space for God to move and work through us.  Shauna Niequest

The chance to gather around a table and learn, deepen relationships and share stories.

Stories were shared heart to heart, one on one and in amazing breakout sessions that taught as well as touched.

A weekend of learning that words matter, whether spoken, unspoken  or written.

A weekend of learning that true hospitality happens in the welcoming of one person, so they have a place to be and a return to this theme throughout the retreat!

A weekend of allowing God’s whispers to speak louder than our own insecurities was fostered by the deepening of relationships.

And in the embracing and opening of my heart and life to new possibilities, I was blessed!

The weekend was full of gifts…

~opening our blog homes as we would our own homes that all feel welcome

~a mind shift of honoring all whether they walk before us or behind- whether they have many followers or write to reach a few

~a new family of friends that after spending three nights with in a small hotel room know everything about you

~a chance to interrupt our everyday normal with an intentional embracing of God and His words for us

And… leaving knowing that what God started in October is an unfolding of just the beginning of the seed that was planted.

I was blessed by the stirrings of a future that is not completely clear, but one that is focused and led by God. All He asks is to let him lead the way and for us to open our hearts wide to the “yeses” that He has planned for us.

Is your heart open to what’s next and will your answer become a yes that harmonizes with the “yeses” that God has planned for you?

Blessings,

Mary

I want to extend a big “thank you” to Logan Wolfram, the Executive Director of Allume and Sara Mae, the cohost, extraordinaire! The conference wouldn’t have happened without them and the rest of the beautiful Allume team.

Blessed to be linking up with the Allume community. Click here to read more and to be encouraged by many others.

 

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