This was my second Hearts at Home conference and it just keeps getting better! This year we got a hotel pretty close to the Illinois State University campus where Hearts at Home's national conference is held every year. Nothin' fancy... just a HoJo but it was clean and had free continental breakfast. ;-) Friday night we attended the Moms' Night Out event featuring comedian (and mom) Anita Renfroe. Hilarious! She was so fun! And the music for the weekend was provided by Meredith Andrews. I'd never heard of her but she was great. Besides, you gotta love (or hate) a mom who gave birth on her bathroom floor and rock skinny jeans less than a month later. ;-)
Its amazing to see the masses of women invade the college campus! This year nearly five thousand moms attended the conference! The theme was No More Perfect Moms (taken from Jill Savage's new book of the same name) and there were tons of great workshops offered.
While I was struggling to choose my workshops (there really were a lot that sounded great) I decided to choose one parenting, one marriage and one for myself. In the end I attended Real Ways to Connect with Your Kids - Kathi Lipp, Fill Up to Pour Out - Lynn Cowell, What Your Man Most Wants You to Know - Shaunti Feldhahn, and Special Moms for Special Kids - Laura Sniff and Libby Raab. I really feel that I learned from each of my workshops.
The keynote speakers were Jill Savage (founder of Hearts at Home) and Candace Cameron Bure (DJ from Full House!). As always I love Jill's candidness when she speaks. She shares intimate moments and silly stories that remind us we're not alone and none of us are perfect. And Candace was great! I halfway expected her message to be fluff. Sorry, Candace! ;-) But instead it was down to earth and full of biblical truths and insight into how she came to know Jesus. Basically she's just like the rest of us, trying to be the wife and mother that God wants her to be. I am pretty sure that if she knew I was alive, we would totally be friends!
One phrase that I heard a few times over the weekend was "Don't compare your insides to someone else's outsides." Its so true. So often we see people's lives through this filter of comparison when we should be viewing everything through the lens of Christ. Romans tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". And frankly don't we all fall short of our own expectations as well? We need to accept ourselves and others' imperfection and encourage one another to be the best we can be without expecting anyone or anything to be perfect. And that is OK!
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31