Sunday, March 27, 2011

Beautiful and Loved

WOW!   I still don’t quite have the words yet to express how wonderful yesterday was for both Lexi and me.    God showed up and off BIG time at the women’s conference!

To all of the women at First Baptist Church in Martinsburg, WV – thank you again from the bottom of our hearts allowing us the privilege to share His truth and love with you.   What a beautiful group of women you are and we look forward to seeing you all again!

We arrived safely with over 40 minutes to spare, which gave us time to get completely settled before we both spoke and eat a little something.   It also meant we would have plenty of time with Melissa if she was still going to arrive early.  

Lexi was practicing her first song just to make sure the sound was right and we knew where it would be best to place mics for her.  

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Well, all of the sudden I saw this on her face…

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I turned around and in was walking Melissa.   I completely lost it.  I ran but felt like I was going so slow to get to her.   We hugged and hugged and then hugged some more – all while I was crying.   I hoped she didn’t mind my tears flowing all over her face.   I couldn’t stop.   His love overwhelmed me completely when I saw her.   I have been praying for Melissa almost 3 yrs. now and God built our friendship so strong the last 9 months.   Just writing this now my eyes are once again filled with tears of joy.    I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.   Her best friend Krystal is more gorgeous in person than any photograph could ever show.   Here is one from their time together – I was unable to capture one of them due to the timing of our day.

I can’t thank Krystal enough for helping to bring Melissa to the conference and picking her up so we could spend the entire day together.   You will never know how much it meant to me.    Thanking God for your love for Melissa today.   I understand how much it means to her – I feel the same way too!

Krystal captured photos of our emotional meeting.  Hoping to get those photos soon.  I might not share them but will cherish them forever.

After all that excitement I really needed to calm down because now there wasn’t much time before the event began.   My heart was racing and I could barely concentrate.   I sat holding Melissa in my arms and smiling at Lexi.  Who was thrilled to meet her as well. 

Then worship began and I prayed for God to calm my heart, put all of my focus on Him and to help me let it all go, so He could completely fill me up to overflowing. 

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They finished and it was Lexi’s turn to sing and speak.   To say I am proud of her is a complete understatement.   She SHINED so bright – the room lit up!   You can read a bit of how the day felt for her here.

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Oh how I wish I filmed her speech – it was that good and I would love to glean wisdom from it again.    She spoke about our I AM BEAUTIFUL Project and all the reasons why women struggle with seeing themselves as God does.  Maybe if you all ask her she will write a post on her blog about it.

She introduced me and God helped me stand, walk and speak.   Yesterday was my first time in over 4.5 yrs speaking in front of a large group of women.   Yes, I was nervous and yet deep down inside I knew I was right where I belonged.   Slide after slide I shared all the words God spoke into my heart the last month.   Time fly by and before I knew it I was inviting everyone to head downstairs for the luncheon.   Which the ladies of First Baptist Church did a beautiful job putting together.  Thank you again!

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We enjoyed more worship and then it was time for me to begin sharing on love – you all know what God has been teaching me through Scott and our children has been nothing short of serious refining.  Well, putting that into words so that others could understand it and grab hold of those truths too was all I prayed to do.   I asked for a time check and they said, “I was a bit over.”   OH NO!  I still have pages of notes that I never got to and there was still one section left to cover.  I realized in that moment the 10+ pages of notes that could not be shared were only for me.  They were my notes and instructions from God just for me.  I shared what He wanted and the message He knew was needed for each woman.   The time I spent in prayer and preparing was in many ways more about my walk with Him – then what I would speak about yesterday.   For that I am forever grateful to Him! I asked, “if I had enough time to just do that section?”   “Yes.”   So on I went about the gift and blessing of prayer.   I guess it would help you to know what the entire day was focused on – Eating, Loving and Praying God’s way.     Again, there was no recording of my talk which now I’m thankful for – I shared some private and intimate details of my life that I have not on here and God knew they needed to be said because they were NOT in my notes at all but were exactly what some of the women needed to hear.   

I finished up and could not stop thanking this group of beautiful women for allowing me the honor and privilege to share God’s story in my life and His love for them.   I invited them to all get their photo taken with the I AM BEAUTIFUL sign and was thrilled that over 20 said, “YES!”   You can see more of them on our IAM BEAUTIFUL flickr group here.

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On the left is my beautiful friend Linda – she is one of the women I met with in February when their church was deciding if I was the right person for their conference.   She is with her best friend and can I just tell you that they oooze God’s goodness and love! 

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This photo will be on my desk in the new house – Linda is on my left and Paulette is on my right.   They are both such beautiful women of God and precious sisters to me.   Paulette was the other woman that I met with in February.  I’m very thankful God brought them both into my life.  

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This woman is a gift and miracle – she is a cancer survivor and so full of God’s joy and LIFE!   I was blessed beyond measure to meet her and all the wonderful women who came to be touched by God’s love.  

I thought I was filming Lexi when she performed her first song – but I guess my nerves had the best me – ooops I totally missed it.   I then fumbled for my camera during her last song and missed the first few moments of it – sorry!   But I trust you will get a glimpse into the beauty God poured out through her yesterday from this…don’t giggle at me singing while filming her (another ooops – I can’t help but sing along with her songs I love them all!)

Sitting here completely in awe of God and His love today.   Praying for God’s love to overwhelm each of you today.   Remember His love is just a call away Jeremiah 33:3

We are praying you will join us and enter your photos into the I AM BEAUTIFUL Project.  Help us reach women around the world.  Trust me when I tell you this message is one they need to hear.   Their beauty comes from the GOD who loves them with an everlasting love.   Looking into the eyes of His daughters sharing this truth is a powerful thing and I am grateful God allowed me the privilege to tell them and you just how BEAUTIFUL you all are!

Here are some of my favorite photos from yesterday!

This is just one of the stained glass windows inside of the church where I spoke yesterday.  It was truly gorgeous!

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My absolute favorite!   GOD YOU ARE SO GOOD – ALL OF THE TIME!!!!  Thank you for my little sister Melissa!   Your love overwhelms me more and more each day!!!!!  Hugs Melissa until we see each other again – SOON!!!!!

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