Monday, June 27, 2011


Another year has gone by and we find ourselves back in the desert for another conference. My kids have grown up going to conferences, even before they were born, and this weekend we've enjoyed some more amazing preaching up close and personal. Putting on conferences has been a huge part of Jon's work for the past decade, and it has been fun to see how much he has enjoyed it.

The lives of my children and my journey so far as a parent can be bookmarked by the various conferences Jon has been involved in. I can look back on these years and see how conferences have been a test of and a measure of our maturity as a couple. Ha! I am thankful to look back and see that we've come a long way!

I suppose that unless you have been closely involved in putting together an event that brings together thousands of people, you can't really imagine the level of mental and physical energy that goes into it. I am amazed at what my husband can do, and so thankful for the way the Lord has blessed his effort.

We also have been blessed through it all.

For me, the blessings have sometimes come in a backward, even painful kind of way. That's often how we are sanctified, and in retrospect we can see the hardships as blessings to thank God for. Surely God was using my difficulty accepting Jon's weeks of busyness (that may be an understatement) to prepare me for a life of ministry alongside him, but more specifically God was using those lonely times to make me see that my joy is to be found in Him.

I had to stop feeling sorry for myself, and quit being so needy. In short it was a time for me to buck up, suck it up, and grow up!

The first year of this particular conference, Andrew was a newborn and I am sure I was under the influence of postpartum hormones. I had three kids age three and under, and the weekend of the conference was the tipping point. I couldn't hold it together emotionally. The embarrassment of it all made it worse. 

The second year I still had babies, of course, and it was next to impossible to take part in an adult conference and to see the culmination of all Jon's work. I still felt sorry for myself, and allowed myself to feel guilty because I was not appearing like the supportive wife. In those early years I cared too much about what I thought other people expected of me!

The third year I told Jon that I was expecting our fourth baby one late night when he came in to the hotel room for a few hours of sleep during that conference weekend. There's more I could say I suppose, but as the weeks following the conference continued to keep his attention, either for wrapping up the event, planning for the next year, or recuperating from the exhaustion, I remember the temptation to become bitter was strong. 

Each year, as various conferences come around, I have learned what to expect in the weeks ahead. I have learned to accept an additional load that few people realize I carry, and I have come to accept it happily. The contrast from what was to what is now is nothing short of miraculous! 

Through it all we have grown in our love for each other, moving away from selfishness and closer to selflessness.

Thanks be to God, our marriage not only survived conferences, but grew stronger!

My kids have done well all weekend, but since it is unreasonable to expect the little boys to sit through eleven sessions of heavy duty preaching I took them out to run in an empty lot next to the hotel. Then we went back to the hotel where the kids swam and I listened to the sermon via live streaming on my phone.

The next couple days will be super busy, but soon there will be time to exhale!


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