This weekend, I found a whole lot of much needed encouragement, clarity, and perspective and I only had to fly 1,900 miles to find it!

The little man and I traveled to Alabama and the dotMOM Conference as guests of LifeWay where we were treated to the most wonderful few days of fellowship with inspiring women.

My brain took in a LOT, but after a few days, I’m starting to sift out the messages God had just for me this weekend…

*dotMom made me rethink my mindset as a mother of boys.

This was mostly thanks to Jen Hatmaker, David Thomas, and Vicki Courtney, who were each keynote speakers. I was challenged by all of their truth-filled messages, but these quotes are resonating with me the most…

“As moms, we teach something unique about the mercy & compassion of God to our sons.”

“Two of your hardest callings as boy moms: being safe for him and letting him go.”

David Thomas  hit the nail on the head for me. Being his safe place AND being able to let him go? This boy mom thing is complicated!

He also shared this quote from The Art of Family by Gina Bria that I can’t stop thinking about…

“The work of mothering a son is mostly about stepping aside with precise timing. I want my sons…to learn from me that they are free to be rooted in home and still be abroad in the world as men.”

Wow. Food for serious thought and digestion for all boy moms.

“If we don’t allow our kids to suffer from life’s consequences, they’ll learn that rules don’t apply to them.” – Vicki Courtney

I wanted to shout a loud AMEN to this, but that also means I need to get better at establishing natural consequences and following through!

And then there are these hard-hitting gems from Jen Hatmaker that I can’t stop thinking about…

“I don’t want my kids safe & comfortable. I want them brave… I want to raise “go for it” kids.” We learn most through failure, messes, loss; we need to parent kids through these things with wisdom & discernment. We’re doing a kids a disservice by sanitizing their lives & cushioning every blow…it’s not the mark of a disciple.”

“I don’t want to be the reason my children choose safety & comfort over bravery.”

“Scared moms raise scared kids. Brave moms raise brave kids. Real disciples raise real disciples.”

Oh boy. THIS was convicting and challenging and hard to hear and awesome all at the same time. You know what I mean, right?! I’m pretty sure more posts will come from these wise words.

*dotMOM encouraged me to REST and RENEW.

“A day of rest is worship unto God.” – Jen Hatmaker

I don’t think rest has been in my vocabulary much lately and this weekend, God said to me, “This is NOT OPTIONAL!”

“Some of us are trying to live on yesterday’s bread. Spiritual nourishment is perishable.” -Jen Hatmaker

And THIS is why I do Hello Mornings. Fill me up every morning, Lord, because I am spent at the end of the day.

Melissa Greene led us powerfully in worship over the weekend and shared Matthew 11:28-30 from The Message…

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

I need this posted in a highly visible place RIGHT. NOW. And I’m guessing many of you do as well. Just a guess.

*dotMOM gave me the gift of time with beautiful friends.

Jessica, Teri Lynne, and Brooke

Brooke, Double J, me, Amanda, and Jessica

{You can more pictures of the dear friends I hung out with at dotMOM in this post for earlier this week! For the full list of bloggers at the event, click here!}

I’m not sure these ladies {and more who are not pictured here} know how much it meant to me to spend time talking and dreaming with them this weekend. A gift is the only way to describe it.

And I will not be attending Allume {formerly Relevant} this year, so this unexpected time together was an extra special blessing!

*dotMOM reminded me God intended for our blogs to be used for GOOD.

This was again the work of the lovely Jen Hatmaker as she spoke to us at a blogger dinner Thursday night. I’ve made apologies {in my head and aloud} for using this space to promote fundraisers and causes, but I will never do that again. When God lays something on my heart, you will hear about it. If you feel led to act on it in anyway, WONDERFUL! If you don’t, I hope you will keep reading here, but also pray for God to help you find your place for doing good. Because you do have a place. We all do.

And I’m super excited about the good that can be done with what God has laid on my heart for the next few months!

*dotMOM clarified my heart for you and for this blog.

We spent Friday morning sitting down in small groups with wonderful LifeWay staff and talking about our blogs. I didn’t realize how much this short amount of time would change the way I think about this little space in which I write. I heard the souls of my best blogging friends laid bare and I was moved to know their deepest desires for their blogs and readers.

When it came time to spill my guts, I suddenly knew WHY I write here. Why I do everything I do here. This jumbled mess of posts and words and pictures has never made more sense to me and I hope you’ll come along for the journey as His plan for this blog unfolds!

God moved in mighty ways in the hearts of over 1,000 moms this weekend. The ripples will be felt for a long, long time as the lives of families are focused more to Him. I’m grateful to have been one of those moms.

Many, many thanks to LifeWay for an incredible weekend. The little guy and I felt loved and blessed in every way!