Several years ago I learned about these two gutsy ladies and their crazy idea of putting together a community of godly women who ‘get’ the Internet.
Turns out, the idea isn’t so crazy after all.
I was finally able to formally join The Influence Network* last year and have been so equipped by the resources they provide.
The fourth and final Influence Conference was held in Indianapolis last week, and I was so thankful our family could send me. Trips to Scotland, conferences, new babies – I’m racking up quite the bill in 2015. (And no worries! There will be other Influence events, both regionally and online, just not a massive three-day conference.)
It would be a freakishly long post if I were to distill everything I learned this weekend, but I can share a few highlights:
Haley Morgan spoke about having a divided heart. She did a wonderful job of beginning with the practical (technology is great, but has greatly contributed to our divided attention) and moving to the spiritual (divided hearts inhibit our walk with God). Haley talked about the ‘Bermuda Triangle of Social Media’, which I love. Popping from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram biologically slows down our brain functions. That means we actually aren’t getting comfort and quiet, we are getting a more divided heart. When our hearts are divided, we downward spiral so much more rapidly. The only information input which doesn’t divide our hearts is the Word of God.
This year, the conference included a series of ‘revivals’, which were essentially breakout sessions meant to equip us within that particular aspect. I attended Kayla Aimee’s revival on Motherhood and let me just say: ALL THE FEELS. When you get a bunch of moms together – many pregnant or nursing – the hormones are supercharged. Don’t drink the water. Meeting other mothers was such a joy. I was reminded of C.S. Lewis’ quote “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” It’s funny to me that motherhood can often feel so isolating, when actually countless other women are experiencing the same things you are. If only we would take the time to share. Sharing and crying and being filled with Scripture in our struggles was a sweet grace.
Jess Connolly opened up Day 2 with a very dynamic keynote. To be honest, I am still processing many of her thoughts. One question she posed is, “Are you aware that we are in a spiritual battle?” A good portion of her talk was about doing physical things in a spiritual way. When we remember Christ’s Great Commission that we should make disciples, our lives take on an urgency. An urgency to be less about us and more about Him.
Many gifted speakers brought truth to their talks at The Influence Conference (video recordings of all sessions is available!), but I’ll close with my favorite: Ruth Simons. Ruth is an amazingly talented visual artist, and a woman that has been gripped by the Gospel. Her talk was about the urgency of preaching to yourself and was timely for any Christian. Ruth’s talk was framed by this dichotomy, “We can either spin out of control with our web of deceiving thoughts, or bind ourselves to the Lord by weaving strong threads of truth around our anxious heart.” Since we are our own biggest problem, the greatest need we have is for salvation outside of ourselves. Rehearsing Gospel truth, Ruth said, and bringing it to the most mundane corners of our lives will enable us to proclaim Gospel truth to a needy world. She brought us through Psalm 4:5-11 and demonstrated how David preached to himself within the passage. She reminded us that we can preach the character of God, who we are in Christ, and God’s promises to ourselves. I could keep going on about Ruth’s talk. And not because of who Ruth is, but because of what the Lord is doing inside of Ruth Simons. I would highly recommend finding Ruth online and following her #preachtoyourself hashtag.
Aside from the sessions, a major highlight of the Influence Conference was simply the people. I got a kick out of meeting people who were previously only an Instagram handle. And I met new friends who I’m now happy to follow online. My roommates (holla Kristel and Karina!) were the best ever and I hope our paths cross again soon.
Prior to the conference, the Network contacted me and asked if I would be willing to sit on a panel. It was an easy yes! I was honored. The Every Woman Panel’s goal was to encourage women that they truly have influence, right where they are. You don’t need massive amounts of followers to be used by God for His glory. Learn more about the other panelists on page 13 of The Influence Magazine.
Spending a few days in the city was enough to give this country girl a bit of culture shock, what with all the Uber cars and one-way streets. Driving home to my small Kentucky town, my heart was full. Full of thoughts, emotions, questions, but mostly full of great anticipation for what God will do next.