The journey began before 7 o’clock on Thursday, August 8th. Coffee in hand, ready to take the world by storm — but I had to wait a little bit longer.
You see, we live about three hours from the nearest major airport. There is a small (read: expensive) airport about an hour away, but the better deals are all at Logan Airport in Boston, or Manchester Airport in NH. We like Logan Airport. Rather than have my guys drive me all the way down to Boston (and then cry the WHOLE WAY HOME — because they miss me, y’all (I threw that in for you)), I decided that I would take the bus from Portland to the airport.
We got to the bus station, unloaded, re-loaded, and then I settled in to my comfy seat complete with WIFI, charging station, and built-in classical radio to calm my over-excited heart on the two hour bus ride.
Finally I was at the airport, and made my way to the gate carrying my guitar and my beautiful handbag that was acting more like a tote bag, poor thing.
Because of the timing of the bus runs, I chose the one that would give me enough room in case anything should happen, which meant that I had 3 hours before my flight. (Are you seeing this? 1 hour to bus station, 2 hour bus ride, and 3 hour wait . . . )
We board the plane and I realize immediately that my guitar will not fit in the overhead bins. The flight attendant said they would gate check it, and that it would come out with the rest of the luggage. My heart stopped. I am just NOT okay with my precious guitar being flung about on conveyor belts. If they would bring it back up with the strollers, that would be totally awesome . . . but she was going to have to check. I nervously waited for her to get back to me, praying the whole time. After we were in the air she came and told me that she had my guitar all settled in first class, next to a gentlemen who was very agreeable — who had probably already been partaking some to account for his good mood. So my guitar traveled fancier than I did on my — you guessed it, a 4 hour flight.
It wasn’t until I was relaying the details about the trip that I realized the 1, 2, 3, 4 hilarity — but after that I just couldn’t resist framing the journey that way.
This is one of the gorgeous views that I had from my window seat.
But as crazy as the 10 hour journey was, it was also peaceful, and restful. A time of preparation, and much needed quiet. Only a mom traveling alone could find quiet, peace and rest in a full bus, airport and crowded airplane. Am I right?
Since I arrived on Thursday I was able to dive right into helping get last minute projects finished. It was so cool to be there to help — I had been so far away to do anything but pray up until this point.
When the conference started, God immediately connected me with two women that made me laugh, and thank God for the beauty of His goodness. He didn’t have to connect me with Emily, who made me laugh and feel like I had known her for ever, or Leslie, whose sweet and gentle affirmation filled nervous places inside my heart. But He did. Thank you, Lord.
When we sat down at our table, Michelle and I grabbed this picture:
It was so amazing to see her shine this weekend, and to know how much God has created her for just this very sort of thing — it was awesome. You can read about the 27 things she learned.
As for me and what I learned?
I no longer have to stop and pray for courage before I tell someone that I am a songwriter. I don’t need someone else to deem my efforts and the music He has put on my heart worthy before I can own that title. He has already called me. I am a songwriter.
I am also a prayer warrior. It wasn’t until this conference, and weeks leading up to it, that I really experienced that compulsion to pray for people that I have heard many women I admire mention. But I had that compulsion to pray for the planning team. All the time. So I did. And I was so blessed. And then at the conference, I had the absolute good fortune to meet Sarah in the hallway. Together we found out where she would meet with the literary agent. After the next session, I was thrilled to see her again — just minutes before her meeting. I was blessed to grab her hands (I asked first — I think) and pray for her right before she went in to meet with the agent. What an amazing moment. I couldn’t believe that God gave me that gift! The rest of the story (which is pretty awesome) is hers to tell. I am just so grateful that He let me be there, and that I could pray for her in person right before.
I still get chills.
One of the sweetest moments was the intimate impromptu “concert” that I was able to give my friends, on the floor of the upstairs lobby. I opened my heart wide as I shared songs that He has given me, and didn’t freak out, panic or die. It was a holy moment for me.
Oh — on Saturday I had lunch with Shaun Groves. No big deal. We talked music industry. You know– one songwriter to another. And you know what? That is exactly what happened. He was sitting at our table, and I had to pray/pause before using the word I and songwriter in the same sentence, but — y’all? That was the last time I had to do that. No more pauses for courage here! The conversation with Shaun was so informative — about the way that the business has changed since he started, and the pros and cons of signing with a label versus being an independent artist.
And throughout the weekend I just over and over again received the confirmation that this crazy new chapter looming in front of me is exactly what HE is designing for our little family. I made connections in a certain city, and found my heart expanding with a desire for adventure. This small town girl is exercising her wing muscles – getting ready to fly. :)
But the absolute best part of it all was being in a room with 125 Christian blogging women. Not just believers — because I have been in large churches before, but believing bloggers who don’t think I am ridiculous when I send off a tweet about a salad knife to the #declareconf hashtag. (I really did. We just aren’t that fancy in Maine. Or at least my part of Maine. )
So — It’s nice to meet you. I’m Meredith, a songwriter. I can’t wait to hear about your adventure! Go on over to the Declare Blog to hear about what God did in other hearts!