I’m sitting here in tears. Why am I crying so much? I’ve never cried so much before over an event that happened in the past. And these tears came so suddenly, so out of nowhere. I don’t know what just happened. I’m still processing it really.
There are only a few things in my life that I would say have really changed my life and my course of direction. VERY few. And these instances stick with me for a while. They will stay in my memory and strong emotions will come from those incidents, almost as if I relive those moments again.
Well, this just happened to me.
I was reminiscing over the Forward Conferences that I’ve been to in the past. They were a huge thing for me and my sisters in the summertime of my high school years. That was the conference I looked forward to every year. But why? What made it so exciting and fun?
I reminisced over one particular Forward conference I attended, and that was the summer of my sophomore year, Forward conference 2012. I didn’t realize just how much that one conference stuck out to me until now. I was re-watching all of the forward conferences, and for some reason Forward Conference 2012 was the first result on google. So I clicked that one.
As I watched the recap, instantly longing to go back and relive that moment came back to me. I watched as amazing over amazing people showed up in the people back to back. I mean people who were leading the world of Christian music and evangelism.
I remember Chris Tomlin, my all-time favorite Christian artist came out. His performance was absolutely moving. The next day was Third Day, another favorite. And then the next day was Jeremy Camp (who had the most beautiful eyes that you could see from even far away), yet another favorite! Micah Massey, Adam Ranney, Israel Houghton! These were artists that I grew up with (besides Micah and Adam, but they were worship leaders at my home church, so basically yea).
And as I watched them kind of summarize their artists, I felt some tears come into my eyes. I remember how I felt broken after each of their performances, and I just felt so vulnerable and open. It was raw emotion. And every time, I was never afraid to cry out to God and have my hands held high.
I miss those times.
And then they got to the speakers, and oh my God, I remember all of them. Every single one changed me.
Gianna Jessen, I absolutely love this lady. She has one of the best personalities you will ever find on this planet. So uplifting, so genuine, so delightful, so carefree. She did not care at all about any ill words toward her or any thoughts about her. She was just her. Her laugh is so contagious and beautiful. Anytime she smiled, the whole auditorium smiled along with her.
I remember how she told the auditorium about how she is an abortion survivor. She was suppose to die before birth using a burning saline solution. But instead, she lived and her mother gave birth to her. Due to this, she does live with a few “gifts” as she likes to call them (which made me tear up at the time at how much this woman has had to go through because of her mother’s decision. She lives with cerebral palsy, which was somewhat clear with all the small mannerisms she had while she spoke. But it only added to her charm and her genuineness. She also talked about how she was put into the foster care system, and how initially the government didn’t believe she would amount to much. People doubted her time after time, but she kept proving them wrong time after time.
She easily became my favorite speaker of the conference.
Reggie Dabbs… Reggie Dabbs my God.. He is an amazing person. He absolutely loves every student, and he never fails to tell us time after time that we are loved by God and my him. He tells us so many amazing stories about his life and kids he has encountered, and once I hear about these amazing stories, I realize that my situation is probably very miniscule, which means that I know that God can do it and can take care of it. He told us about his own story, and about how he questioned why his parents didn’t want him (he was adopted). He talked about how he didn’t feel like he had a purpose, but then he came to God, and God called him to be a minister. And he has been doing it every since.
He comes to this conference every year, and every year I feel changed by what he has to say. I just feel love and hope and grace and passion come from him. It truly is amazing. Especially when he plays the saxophone, wow. The whole arena kind of looks at him in awe, it’s just amazing.
Steven Furtick is such a powerful speaker. He tells you how it is (He also has great looks 😉 ). He is such a young pastor, yes he’s talking to over thousands of people. It really is cool what he does. I love the part where he said, “The audition is cancelled, you got the part”. It really is powerful.
Matthew Barnett is amazing. My first thought while at the conference was, “Okay, I don’t know why they brought him here. He’ll probably be like any other southern pastor, and just tell that we’re all going to heaven. This will be so weak.” Boyyyy, was I so wrong. He basically told me about my life and everything that I was missing (I mean he wasn’t really talking to me but that’s just how powerful his message was). I learned so much from that sermon.
Jentezen Franklin, who was the pastor hosting the event, gave a powerful sermon.
Lincoln Brewster also performed.
The theme was Break the Static. It was so amazing, and I really do long to go back and attend a conference again. I feel like I would definitely appreciate it even more than I did ever before. Mainly because I really feel like I need it this time around.