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Relevant Revelations

PICT0001 The Relevant Conference was nothing that I expected, but everything that I needed.

When I first decided to  sign up for Relevant, I had two thoughts about it in my mind:

  1. It was a Christian conference, where I would get to meet many, many of my favorite bloggers and Twitter friends, and
  2. it was a blogging conference where I would learn how to get my blog in shipshape, so that I could begin to use it as a source of income.

I was sorely mistaken, and absolutely, wonderfully WRONG.

My experience, like so many others, is at this point still difficult to put into words. How do I describe what happened there? As I was greeted by calls of “It’s MommaKnows!”, much to my shock, mind you, because I didn’t know that anyone knew who I was, I was humbled. I met Heather (Sprittibee), who has been an icon (to me) in the online homeschooling circles for many years, and she knew me. Sprittibee knew me! How weird is that?! So many ladies touched me in so many different ways, that even Thursday evening I found myself weeping while watching the new friendships being found and forged.

Sally Clarkson, Serena Woods, Angie Smith, and Ann Voskamp had no plans. They had no agenda. They only came to speak the words which the Holy Spirit laid upon them to share with us. From Thursday morning, when the first person to recognize me outside of my hotel room was Heather, to Saturday night when 240 Christian women from across denominational lines raised our voices in worship to our Savior, I was wrecked. I was broken, gutted, cleaned out, and healed once again by the Holy One.

I can try to describe to you the highs and the lows, the joys, the ah-ha! moments, the intense sadness and conviction from the Spirit of God but to say that God moved, but my words will fall short. He spoke through these women and He spoke to these women. It was a blogging conference, but it was so much more. It was a women’s retreat, a writer’s workshop, a fellowship offering of praise, but it was so much more.

There were times when I felt the divide: the big-blogger/small-blogger syndrome, and I felt like such a small fish in such an enormous ocean, until I realized that WE are the ones who created that divide. We don’t feel worthy, or valuable, and our insecurities are what create that line which divides us only in our minds.

Several things happened throughout the course of the conference where I saw everything leveled, and saw the beauty of what SarahMae, Jessica, and Dana had hoped and prayed for with this conference. We wept together at the realization of how many of the women had lost a child. It was the most powerful connecting point I have ever seen in my life. I haven’t lost a child but I did lose a grandbaby; I was there when she entered the arms of Jesus a mere ten minutes after her little life began, and I wept at the power of the connection as nearly 50 women stood. We worshiped together, on Friday and Saturday night, and God was there. All of these brought us on down on to the same plane, and it was beautiful. We are all women, and that is all that matters.

I did not learn how to turn my blog into an income source. I learned that I need to return to THE Source. I did not simply meet my online friends. I forged friendships which are now shared by common bonds and much weeping and praise, of conviction and of joy.

Some will not be blogging after this conference. Some will close their blogs all together.  Some will press on, seeking the Lord’s direction, His calling, His words, turning their blog stories into writing. We will be turning from stat checking and comment-seeking affirmation, to Spirit-checking and family-loving time. We will also be turning from writing anecdotes and narratives, to writing things deeply, from our hearts, because as Serena Woods and Ann Voskamp both said (I can’t quote them, but the gist of what they said) that everyone has a story, and it needs to be told. We all need to share what the Lord has given us, and what He has done, and that will bless others and touch the heart of God. This is what I got out of The Relevant Conference.

I will write more posts about this wonderful experience. Some will be deep, and some will be shallow. I will share my photos and my stories of connections with women I have grown to love over the course of just four short days.

I will write. I will share what God has given me. To Him be the glory.

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26 Responses to Relevant Revelations

  1. Melissa October 25, 2010 at 1:44 am #

    So enjoyed our little trip to Friendly's…Relevant was amazing..you captured it beautifully!

  2. Katey October 25, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    Heather KNOWS YOU!! Eeeeee how neat is THAT…in all seriousness…So wish I had gone…so thankful for all of you sharing what you learned. While it won't ever be the same as being there….it is a close second :)

  3. Christin October 25, 2010 at 5:50 am #

    It was beyond awesome and I am going to try to go through pictures to help me remember things I thought and what I felt throughout my minutes there.

    I am SO glad to have met you but REGRETFUL because WE DIDN'T GET A PICTURE TOGETHER! :( I tried to make sure I got everyone, but just knew I would forget some!
    Christin recently posted..After Relevant – God Saved My Family’s LifeMy Profile

  4. Tiffany October 25, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    Oh how lovely! What a blessing you were all given. Thank you for giving me a glimpse. I cannot wait to read more.

  5. Natalie at Mommy on October 25, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Dawn, wow. Your words are gorgeous – your synopsis is so very accurate. I loved the part about how WE create the big blogger/small blogger syndrome for this is so true.

    I also loved how you said you needed to get back to "The Source."

    Brilliant words.

    I enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you and of course, loved the trip to Friendly's as well…:)
    Natalie at Mommy on recently posted..Multitude Monday- The Gift of Relevance 2010My Profile

    • Momma Knows October 26, 2010 at 12:06 am #

      Natalie I enjoyed getting to know you, and our little ice cream escape was so fun. I am following your blog now and I look forward to hearing more from you as well.

  6. Rachel October 25, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    We used the same summary sentence :)

    What an amazing weekend!!!!
    Rachel recently posted..Relevant 2010- My ThoughtsMy Profile

    • Momma Knows October 26, 2010 at 12:01 am #

      Rachel I hopped over and left you a comment on your blog. Yes, my summary sentence is what I tweeted at the close of the conference, after worship Saturday night. (It was RT'd about 20 times I think.) And it is so very true.

  7. The Cottage Chick October 25, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    Dawn,

    Love your post. I have yet to write mine. It was a pleasure to connect with you from the airport and on through the weekend. The conference was life-changing and an experience none of us will forget.

    Thanks for sharing your heart. I look forward to our friendship growing, and to reading your blog!

    God Bless You my new sister!

    Denise
    The Cottage Chick recently posted..10 Day Cottage Style Makeover Day 6 Mix Your PatternsMy Profile

    • Momma Knows October 26, 2010 at 12:00 am #

      Denise, you are my sister! I'm so SO glad that we got to know each other, and I know that our paths will cross again, in real life, probably much sooner than the next Relevant Conference. I look forward to reading what you write about it too. I have several posts in draft already.

  8. Jessica October 25, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    This is so, so true. We really are the ones who make the division in our own minds…create our own unworthiness. I know I do all too much. Care too much. You put that perfectly!

    So glad I got a chance to meet you this weekend!
    Jessica recently posted..I want JesusMy Profile

    • Momma Knows October 25, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

      Jessica I'm so glad we were able to meet. And I think so many of us went there feeling like no one knows us and everyone is better. I know that I sure did. The depth of the truth we received this weekend still blows my mind.

  9. Melissa October 25, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    It was awesome Dawn! I am glad was able to "spot" you in the crowd and introduce myself. I have been a follower for some time and it was nice to put a person with the writer. God is good….all the time!

    Melissa
    http://just-starting-out.blogspot.com/
    Melissa recently posted..When God Shone DownMy Profile

    • Momma Knows October 25, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

      So am I Melissa! I am still overwhelmed by it all…

  10. Amy Miller October 26, 2010 at 12:40 am #

    Sounds like a great conference. I love it when things like that turn out to be so much more than expected. Although I have had intentions of blogging for years, I only got around to it this year. I am enjoying learning from other bloggers, especially homeschooling ones. Thanks for your insights. Found you through HHH!

  11. Sisterlisa October 26, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    Dawn, I came home and told my family that each blogger was treated like a blog celebrity, because we all have readers and a reader sees their favorite bloggers as a blog celebrity. It rocked my world and heart that Ann Voskamp knew who I was.

    One thing I wish..I wish I could have connected with more moms with special needs knowledge. I have some questions. Can you email me pretty please?
    Sisterlisa recently posted..My Relevant TestimonyMy Profile

  12. Elisa October 26, 2010 at 7:13 am #

    WOW! I'm so glad you got to connect with god there Dawn! I'm stoked to hear more about it! I love you, i'm so glad you're willing to speak into my life! Thank you!

    • Momma Knows October 26, 2010 at 9:07 am #

      I love you Elisa! We must do coffee… SOON…

  13. Mandy October 26, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    I'm so glad to have been able to hug you and connect face to face! And your summary of the weekend is fabulous! None of us will ever be the same again! Just remember… we blog for the ONE follower Who makes all of our blogs matter, whether big or small! :)
    Mandy recently posted..Restaurant.com 80 OffMy Profile

    • Momma Knows October 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

      You've got that right Mandy! And yes, I am SO GLAD we got to meet! I'm missing some of you gals SO MUCH already… Praying there will be a Relevant 2011!!

  14. Katie October 28, 2010 at 12:51 am #

    I am SO glad to have met you and I can't wait to see what you do in this space now. What God will do through you.

    Blessings,

    Katie
    Katie recently posted..Tips for Building Kids with IntegrityMy Profile

  15. Kris @ Weird, Unsoci October 29, 2010 at 1:50 am #

    You put Relevant beautifully into words. It was such a joy to meet you face to face and to learn and worship with you.
    Kris @ Weird, Unsoci recently posted..Weekly Wrap-Up- The One with all the ActivitiesMy Profile

  16. Lynn Willers October 31, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    I love your comments regarding the big blog/small blog syndrome. I agree that it is we ourselves who label us as "Nobody" when we compare ourselves to someone we consider a "Somebody." Relevant reminded us that God sees us all as "Somebodys" so we should see ourselves that way as well. It was nice to meet you at the conference!

    • Momma Knows November 1, 2010 at 12:17 am #

      Lynn Thank you for words well spoken. :) It was nice to meet you, too!

  17. Susan Evans November 2, 2010 at 2:27 am #

    I am so jealous!!! When is the next conference? Where is it? I would love to go to a conference like that! Thank you for writing the main points so that those of us who couldn't go will glean from the crumbs of what you learned!
    Susan Evans recently posted..Bugs Bunny SymphonyMy Profile

    • Momma Knows November 2, 2010 at 6:36 am #

      Susan:
      They just announced yesterday that there WILL be another Relevant Conference. The one last week was the first of it's kind. (Not the first blogging conference…. there are a dozen of those… but the first Christian blogger's conference). It was amazing. Next year's is tentatively also in October, and also in Harrisburg, PA– where it was last time. They don't have anything set yet but that is as much information as they have released to us. Wild horses couldn't keep me away from it next year! :)