Several months back I saw a conference called Declare flash up on my computer screen. I hesitated signing up, making multiple introvert-type excuses like I won’t know anyone, don’t want to be away from my hubby for 3 nights, and well you know how we let Satan convince us different when God is nudging us to do something wonderful. Eventually I signed up, but by that time I was put on a waiting list and just the last two weeks prior God opened a space just for me.
On the drive to Dallas there was a beautiful huge sun – a confirmation from God that something else beautiful was in store. I should have pulled off the road and shot a good picture, but this is what I got as we slowed down on an exit with construction. God showed off BIG to me right away!
It was a bit hard finding the entrance – there were so many. This place is on so many acres, but I found it, and I was not disappointed.
We gathered together at the relaxing Cooper Clinic Hotel in Dallas. Oh it was so, so beautiful and so many amenities. I want to go back just for a weekend with my husband.
And this year’s theme I really didn’t grasp at first, but it sure didn’t take long and I went deeper and deeper with Him.
On Friday morning I went down to join a group with RevelationWellness.Org to exercise. Oh my it was a time to work hard and at the end just worship as we got on the floor and did some holy yoga, and I didn’t get to take a picture, but let me say it was the hardest, holiest workout I have ever experienced.
On Saturday morning I headed out for a walk with my camera at 6:45. These are just a few of the beautiful pictures I took.
A good ole’ Texas welcome for all of us and reminders of how deep is His love.
The speakers spoke such wisdom and fed us deep. I’ll share some of the highlights here, some of the quotes which I may mess up from my notes but here goes some of my favorite and I know I’ll miss someone and I apologize now:
Kris Camealy talked to us about why we blog and is it for recognition or attention of a best seller. She realized she was busy building a platform, not an altar. I had to sit there and ponder why am I blogging and remember why I am doing it and that is to show others Christ and for me to show others what God is doing in my own heart. “We are called to be disciples, not make fans, not make followers. God’s people build altars – not attention – not statistics – not platforms. When we do anything other than build that altar for His glory, we are not honoring Him.”
Janelle Knox spoke to us about her magazine mici and I took 3, yes 3 pages of notes. Do you see those small letters on the cover? They mean made in Christ’s image. There is no picture on the front of this magazine so that He is glorified. She reminded us that God is chasing us, He is running us down. I love that. He wants us to dream – not for platforms. He took great care in the detail of who we are. When He knit us together He fashioned the #beautiful deep within us. We are His unique creations. No one can do me, like I can do me. He filled me with wonder and awe.
I loved her comparison when she asked us if we knew what knitting was. Oh yes, I raised my hand. “God did not drop a stitch when He created us and there are no gaps.
The World is telling us who we are not. God tells us who we are. Satan tells us who we are not and gets us on that treadmill wearing us out and getting us sidetracked.
The only way forward is DEEPER – DEEP into the things of God to heal those deep, dark scars. Plant DEEP things of God in your heart.”
Kat Lee – Each one of us has something famous about us. She gave us a 5-step method to help when we are overwhelmed.
Kristen Lemus – Psalm 139 Can I praise you for the way I am made and Phil 2:2-4 – agreeing wholeheartedly with one another. Think of others as better.
Crystal Stine spoke about social media and sharing for the glory of God – knowing God and making Him known. May the words be intentional, authentic, bring awareness, encouragement, influence, and the last Word. Psalm 19:14 ESV “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. How do we out pour with the gifts He has given us? How do we engage with a dark world?
Ruth Simons – Your words matter. SHINE! Jesus was focused on 10,000 or 1. Your story matters. He is my audience and He gets the last word.
Jan Greenwood – Pain will move us. He is a yes God. God was the first publisher. He esteems the spoken and written word. He wrote with His finger. It’s a fresh word, it’s a God word. Nothing holding us back but us
Erica Jimenez – Reminded us sometimes readers are not liking or commenting, but they are reading. For some people these blogs are their church. We are digital evangelists. Erica’s short speech was not planned – except by God. It touched my heart because I have honestly thought I would stop blogging. It takes a lot of time and sometimes we are wondering if people are reading. She confirmed they are. Those words were for me.
Erica was a sponsor at the retreat. She specializes in Origami Jewelry at MyOwnCharm.com. I’ve always wanted one, but never felt I could splurge. I had been saving to buy books. There were NONE for sale. They were all gifts so I got to buy this. Was so blessed as Erica helped me tell my story. On the back we put a reminder of this retreat – beautiful deep – my heart.
In the necklace itself there is a wedding ring, birthstones for my two kids, two little boys for my grandsons, a butterfly charm for Mom, a NaNa heart, an apple for a teacher, and Erica is sending me a flower for Dad because he loved to garden.
Carrie Trotter – When we say, “It is too much, God says NO it is NOT!!!” Ditch who we say we are. He says who we are. Don’t stop when things are intolerable. Be everything people think you are. We are carriers of belief.
Kristen Kill – Kristen shared a whole lot of great ideas for those who blog for business. Loved her thoughts and who knows when God may intervene and I need to use them.
Ashley Linne – I loved when she talked about the tether of hope – not in our husbands, not in anything else. Hope can deceive us. We need to take our ropes and tether them to God. Come to Him for our hopes and expectations. I had the privilege of sitting through a mastermind time with Ashley. She made sure everyone at the conference got her new book.
Denise Hughes – Our story is different because it is special. We are called as servants, as writers and set apart. The ten stones in the Bible were meant for everyone – our blogs are meant for everyone. Writing in the sand not meant for anyone but my Father.
Chrystal Evans Hurst – Interruptions can be beautiful . When God interrupts it’s always a good thing. If we miss the point of the interruption we will find ourselves searching for the thing He already provided. It’s ok to admit you are hurting. Feel the fear – do it anyway because you won’t know if you don’t try. Life’s most important moments come in simple minutes simple with the one’s that matter the most.