Oct 15, 2013

reCreate 2013

A couple of months ago, Jamie invited me to go to the reCreate women's conference at Church of the Highlands the weekend of October 4-5 with her.

Then five things happened:

1. I looked at the website and saw that Priscilla Shirer was scheduled to speak.
2. I said "YES" audibly and signed up immediately.
3. Jamie, Kara, Katie and I arrived at the conference and took this picture.
4. We realized we'd been photo-bombed by a 7-foot-tall woman.
5. I noticed that my head is twice the size of Katie's. 

But right AFTER all of those things happened, I noticed a reminder that one of my all-time favorite Christian vocalists was going to be performing. I was a huge Watermark fan when Christy and her husband Nathan were performing together under that name, and I still love Christy's songs today. 

Reminding myself that soon I'd be hearing my Susan-Ashton Replacement (I mourned Susan Ashton's departure from the music scene for a looooong time) helped keep my mind off of the throngs of women that were surrounding me on every side. Lotta women. All sides.

People weren't supposed to push, but people pushed. BELIEVE YOU ME, when Priscilla Shirer and Christy Nockels are on the other side of those doors, Christian women can break out their elbows and oversized monogrammed bags and push, p u s h , P U S H with the best of 'em.

Once the doors opened, we did, in fact, make it inside in one piece. It was a reCreate miracle, Internet. And we were then treated to worship led by Christy Nockels, who did not disappoint. The only thing that would have been better would have been if she'd followed up the worship session with a concert ... because I think Jamie and I both wanted her to really TEAR. IT. UP. a few times.

And then, AND THEN. Priscilla Shirer spoke. Internet, she's a force of nature. I've wanted to hear Priscilla speak for years, ever since I first saw people start talking about how amazing she is. They weren't exaggerating. She's pretty darn captivating.

She's expressive, and she moves around a lot. Talks with her hands, relates anecdotes with the aplomb of a skilled comedienne.

But she's also deeply committed to the Lord, and it showed in her spirit. I really admired her, and I stuck with her. I didn't drift off, didn't think about other things while she was speaking.

When she wrapped up, I wanted to hear more.

I have to say, though, I didn't have any trouble getting ready for more worship time. The second set was led by Church of the Highlands' own worship team, and they were great.

The Friday-night session wrapped up with an "after-party" outside on the lawn, and it was quite the hoppin' scene.

There was lots of food and a live band, and we enjoyed a delicious late supper.

When we saw some grown women starting to build a pyramid, Jamie looked at us and said, "Is anyone ready to go," and I might have shouted, "I AM," so we headed out for the night.

The next morning, we were back in the crowded lobby bright and early. Brighter and earlier than I like to be ANYWHERE on a Saturday morning, but it was for a good cause.

When the crowd outside the doors started getting shovey again, I jokingly told Jamie I was going to hold onto her pursestrap so we wouldn't get separated. But I didn't, and then we did!

The doors to the conference had opened, and women were moving forward. Jamie got caught in the riptide, and she said to an elderly woman who'd gotten between us, "Oh, I need to wait for my friends." And the elderly woman -- the ELDERLY WOMAN! -- said, "You NEED to get OUT OF THE WAY."

Holy inappropriate, Batman!



Once again, we made it inside in one piece, and I thought I'd just give you a sense of how much like a concert it was when the worship time got started. (I mean, no, not necessarily a Maroon 5 concert, but still, a concert.)

There were so many women singing at one time, I couldn't hear my own voice. I told Jamie later that it was a little overwhelming for me. I've never been to a women's conference of that size. I mean, my own church's women's conference is like 60 people. Max. So this was a whole new ball of wax for me.

It was very powerful in many ways, because anytime you are with that many people, just the mere strength in numbers enhances the feeling of the experience somehow. But I also think there's something to be said for intimacy, so if you've ever questioned whether a conference of this size is for you or not, you should definitely factor this type of thing into your decision.

I'd never heard Church of the Highlands' pastor, Chris Hodges, speak before, and he was excellent.

I can understand why COTH has grown exponentially under his leadership.

After Chris spoke, I took a second to take a picture of myself and Jamie ... my fellow pumpkinhead. Seriously, the two of us have two of the largest-circumference heads on the entire Internet.

I also took a picture of this little slide they kept showing on the TVs in the auditorium, because they really DID think of everything for this conference. Having so many women on-site for the weekend, they converted all the men's restrooms to women's restrooms so we'd have plenty of facilities during the conference.

I really wasn't sure what that would mean, but I was desperate enough to find out during the first break on Saturday morning. As it turns out, they custom-made these adorable ruffled ... Urinal Cozies? Not exactly sure what you'd call them, but they completely obscured all of the urinals, and you'd never have known for a second that this wasn't a women's restroom.

They didn't stop with the restroom ... they really went all-out with every corner of the church. There were some beautiful vignettes.

I will tell you the one thing they did NOT nail: they bought too few Diet Cokes are too many Sprites. NITPICKING. But did I take a picture of the extra Sprites? YES I DID.

After I came back from the last break -- during which I did not find a Diet Coke -- I took a quick picture with Kara.

I also tried to walk around somewhat unobtrusively and take a few pictures of the auditorium so you could get a fuller picture of the crowd.

When I got back to my seat, I found that Katie had had to leave early because she wasn't feeling well, so she missed out on the final speakers of the conference, Lisa Bevere and Charlotte Gambill. Although I wasn't familiar with them prior to that weekend, they were really good.

And then Priscilla Shirer spoke again, which was the perfect way to lead us into a closing worship time with Christy Nockels.

Oh, and the quote of the weekend? I have to give it to Grayson, who said after I got home, "Hey, some conservative Christian lady hacked your Twitter account over the weekend and Tweeted all this weird stuff."


reCreate 2014 is already planned, so if you're interested, click here to find out more.

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