Even after several twelve-hour days on my feet and hardly any sleep while volunteering at the Catalyst Atlanta conference, I left feeling energized, so sad it was over.
As I checked attendees in on Wednesday, I greeted people who had traversed the wide circumference of this spinning globe from places like the Philippines, South Africa, Australia, England, and Canada. Some were travel weary but high in spirit to be part of what God was doing at the conference.
On Thursday and Friday, I worked in the resource center at the front of the Gwinnett Arena. When the doors opened at 8:30, I could only marvel at the 11,000 who streamed into the Arena to be inspired, encouraged, and motivated to reach the world for Christ.
I met people I may never see again this side of heaven like my friend from Jakarta, Indonesia, and look forward to seeing other new friends like Laura in the near future.
I hugged close Melissa and Mandy whom I’ve long loved but rarely get to see, and wished I could have spent more time with them.
And if I didn’t already feel blessed, I had one of the biggest surprises of my life.
On Wednesday, I slipped into a session where Ann Voskamp was speaking. She delivered an inspiring message encouraging us to pause and give thanks, to be present in His presence in this moment, and to pour out and bless others. She left the platform immediately after her talk, and I assumed she’d headed to the airport so she could get back to Canada and those six children of hers.
But the next day, I came around a corner, and there she was, her standing at the Zondervan booth, and no one around. I could hardly speak for tears, when I told her how much her honest and transparent words had meant to my family at a very dark time. The next thing I knew she had her book, One Thousand Gifts, in her hand, and she signed it to someone who’s very beloved to me. We hugged tight.
It took me quite a while to get myself together, so that I could once more do my volunteer job, but I will long treasure the wonder of these amazing hours at the Catalyst conference.
I don’t know how next year could be any better, but I’m ready to do it again.
May need to get some orthopedic shoes, though.
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” (Ephesians 3:20)