I just got back from Bigstuf in Daytona Beach Florida with 127 AMAZING students, leaders, and people desiring to uninhibitedly worship Christ! Inspired by my friend Ryan, I've been thinking and processing through a top ten list from the week :
DANCING TO DAVID CROWDER : One of my favorite parts of the week was worshipping with my friend, Meredith. No judgement, no shoes, no questions : be free! DCB's 'I Saw the Light' provided some spontaneous dancing that I never knew I possessed : thankful for friends like Meredith and Mark who joined me for the ride!
UNINHIBITED WORSHIP : I think God is so pleased when we throw our hands in the air and dance and praise as if no one is watching. I experienced a whole new level of worship (let's see if I can arrange my thoughts) : our worship is to honor and glorify and praise our Creator. And when I closed my eyes in the arena, I found my mind wandering to the throne room of God and Him hearing our efforts to praise Him. It changed the way I worshipped. We don't sing to see how good we sound or so other people can see us : we praise to make His name great. It's a rare experience to worship with 3,500 other people.. but when you do, it gives you a greater sense of what it means and it fuels you for more. I connect so well through worshipping with music : I love screaming so loud in remembrance of what He's done for me!
ROOM 721 : My Bigstuf room was way better than yours!! I got the chance to spend the week with three FANTASTIC AMAZING girls. These girls laughed, questioned, prayed, listened, worshipped, soaked up what Jesus was telling them, and came away with a greater sense of how much He loves them. They BLEW ME AWAY with their DESIRE and willingness and commitment to probe and question and seek Him. I am so honored to play a small part in their walk towards Christ. Amber, Lundon, Emily : you bless me!
TWITTER WAR : Em, you totally had me beat. #mybigstufroomisbetterthanyours
MORNINGS : Spending the morning on the beach in prayer with corner. In Charlotte, I either spend my quiet times staring at my four walls or at the Starbucks patio at Piper Glen. But to wake up each morning and spend time with our Creator while looking at His creation : nothing short of amazing.
SAY LESS : This was huge for me this week. If you know me, you know I like to talk. I like to encourage, I like to ask questions, I like to get words flowing. And I don't think any of that is a bad thing.. but as I've been navigating through and growing more into a better version of myself rooted in Christ, I'm learning that GOD IS MIGHTY EVEN WHEN THERE ARE NO WORDS TO SAY. He is mighty in silence. That sometimes walking beside someone doesn't necessarily mean giving them words of advice. It's sitting with them and letting them know they aren't alone. I've been chewing that around in my head for a while and it feels refreshing. It feels free to let God work and to just let my presence be His presence. It's developing the skill of crafting words. It's a daily discipline and reminder, but it feels like a reminder that I don't have to do all the work. It's peace.
THURSDAY NIGHT : Students got the chance to sit on the beach and be silent with God and leaders got the chance to speak words of life into them. So amazing to get the chance to sit down and tell the students I love so dearly that 'God loves you. I love you. You are so loved! You have purpose! He died for you!!' When the noise dies down and the activity goes away and you are silent in His presence, His truths ring clear. It was a powerful experience to be an instrument of His love and to tell my girls truths that can change their lives. Humbled.
CLAP ATTACK : This game introduced by our friend Amber was contagious, addictive, and just the right antidote for mealtimes (holla to James for the best game face!!).
ALL OF THE LIGHTS : I'm always blown away by the power of community. It always get my hearts racing when I find out other people go through the same things I do. On the last night, we each got little finger lights and were told to raise them in the air if the answer to certain questions were yes. Have you ever questioned God : every light went up. Have you ever doubted yourself : every light up. Have you ever wanted to disconnect from someone : every light up. Have you ever felt lonely : every light up. I looked around, SOAKED IT IN, breathed a sigh of relief. Moments like that should always remind us that we're all in rooms full of thousands of Christians and we've all got finger lights and we've all got them in the air. Be refreshed : you're never alone! Soak up that community!! SERIOUSLY. Community pumps me up.
ALWAYS : I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord. Oh my God, He will not delay : my refuge and strength always. I will not fear, His promise is true. My God will come through always, always. This song was my anthem for this year. I've seen these words come true.
This shouldn't be a top ten.. it should be a top 127. I felt so greatly loved and connected with every student, leader, and hamster on the trip. You all are amazing and through your words, actions, and desires, have drawn me closer to our Savior. I am so grateful for you! All. of. you.