Allume Was Full of Gifts and Giving…
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights… From James 1:17
I was packing up my bags full of many beautiful reminders of my few days at Allume, a blogging conference. As I thought about all I had experienced, one word, in many forms, came to mind.
Giving…Given…Giver…Gifts! Allume was a place of so much giving.
Gift upon gift, some wrapped in cellophane and tissue paper, some wrapped in hearts full of love and pain and honesty and openness, some wrapped in arms, eyes, hands that held, and some wrapped in coffee cups and chocolate. So much giving.
From before the conference even began I was given a space in a room with an online friend who has become a real-life friend. There, a small group gathered, anticipating the conference that was to come.
The giving began with giving ourselves as our chatting turned to whispers into the early morning hours.
When I arrived at the hotel, I was given a grand welcome, from the registration desk (with our beautiful Dayspring bags bursting with goodies), from the sponsors, coordinators, speakers, from the familiar faces once avatars, now flesh of grace, so much grace.
We were given lavish spreads of carefully chosen meals, colorful lively décor, quiet spaces of comfort, care and prayer, tables spread with passion poured out through ministry, and cupcakes, coffee, and chocolate.
We were given hearts opened, emptied out, laid bare…given generously to one another to grow, to believe, to receive cheers and encouragement.
The giver of inspiration to dream big, to believe in God-sized dreams, brought her smile, her laughter, her support to we who sometimes doubt, waiver…Could God really have this dream for me?
The giver of wisdom and insight who stopped on the stairs and stood with me for an hour as I released my flood of sorrow and not knowing…I was a stranger and she took me in.
The givers of real with all the mistakes and brand therapy and morticians and tears mixed with laughter on their way to likes, shares, comments, and rankings.
The givers of practical insight and lots of free resources so we can know as we trust in the Giver of our stories, our dreams, the desires of our hearts, there are things we can do, steps we can take, gifts we can make and offer.
The givers of tremendous amounts of dedicated time to make sure we, all—each one, every one—felt welcome, attended to, rested, fed, watered (coffeed), prayed for.
The givers of their stories, of connections, service, loyalty, willingness…of lying face down surrendering all, while He sent another to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, another who had laid down her life to serve.
The givers of voices raised high in worship, so that we could bow low to the One who deserves all the glory.
The givers of brushes, color, and strokes that expressed their visual kind of worship and invited us in.
The first givers of greeting so that as we gathered at that one table, we became a small community.
The giver of a challenge to be free and confess one to another the hidden hurts, scars, besetting sins we just can’t seem to shake off.
The giver of the vision of light, each one of us a light, a star, making our little light shine, giving our blink of light freely and believing we matter, because He matters, and He is in us, and together we can change the world, one cherished being at a time, with what we have, what we’ve been given, when we are willing to give it.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/libertinus/891434640/">Libertinusvia photopin cc