Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mama Newbie

Hi...my name is Judy I blog at.......what is your blog? ....OH YOUR THE MAMA of the Newbie group!

I heard the above conversation many times this past weekend at Allume. I didn't really put much thought into it when I created the Allume Conference Newbie Facebook group. I have been to another conference...and they have one of these groups. It helped me tremendously before going to that one. I simply asked Sarah Mae one day if there was a group...the answer was no....then I asked...should someone start one? Her response.. GO FOR IT!
So I did. With no real thought put into it other than that I wanted to connect with other newbies. I was thinking of myself...but not in a...oh this will totally get me noticed kind of way....I was thinking I needed more people to stand with me when we walked in on that first day.

You see...I was the girl in Junior High School that didn't want to run the mile. Because I didn't think I could do it. There was no paved track to run on. Just a grassy bumpy football field. Inevitably my foot would find the one hole in the field and I would twist my ankle and fall. Fallen, embarrassed, ashamed. Even now just thinking about this scenario makes my heart race. Since I didn't want to run because I was afraid of falling, or sweating, or being out of breath, or being the last one, or people lapping me....I rallied other girls to walk with me. THEY can't make us run. THEY shouldn't make us do this if we don't want to. WE will be totally cool rebelling against the teacher and walking! Yes...I convinced others that we should walk the entire mile because WE were the cool ones. I was afraid to do something. But I was afraid of NOT doing something alone. So I made others do NOTHING with me.

I started the group because I don't like the feeling of being the one on the outside. The one with out a bff. Without a huge fancy blog. The only one who barely blogs. The one who doesn't have a room mate to stay up all hours of the night chatting with.

What happened at the conference I didn't expect. I finally got it. There were clues leading up to it...but they weren't clear. As I arrived Wednesday afternoon...and after I went to lunch with some other girls that I met on the airplane....as I joined in with the other handful of women that unboxed, unwrapped, and bagged up all of the contents of 420 swag bags...I started to get it. I was accepted with open arms from the start. I sat on the floor unwrapping plastic from the fresh beautiful Dayspring swag bags...

I began to feel this tug on my heart. This feeling that I wanted to cry. I didn't feel sad. I felt satisfied. I felt like I belonged. Like these people got me. They don't even know me, yet they understand me. What I felt was...happy to belong to something. And as I choked back the tears not wanting to appear as a complete loon...I continued on.

Thursday I went on to get a massage...and then to get my hair done. The massage was to relax. The hair was to help. I made a statement to my hairstylist that I didn't have the body...but at least I have good hair...and having my hair done made me feel confident...especially when meeting new people. He said back to me..."are you kidding? You are beautiful! Society tells us that we need to be pigeon-holed into this ideal of being skinny to be beautiful, but I could tell from the moment you came in that you are beautiful!"

At the conference we even had a newbie meet-up in the lounge before the opening ceremonies began on Thursday.

It felt good to have most of us who had been chatting online for the last month together. There were looks of excitement. Looks of fear. Fidgets and fixing of hair...pulling on shirts....fumbling of words. Elevator speeches that had been rehearsed and memorized all of the sudden forgotten. Feeling like that conference binder you had worked hours to perfect might not be good enough or others may think are silly.
But we stood strong. Hugged each other. Shrieked with excitement as we finally met in real life! Put our fears aside to listen to the hearts of other daughters of the King. And as we talked, and cried, and laughed...fears eventually just melt and then you remember that you are indeed a grown up now...the playing grounds are even. There are no Junior High School football fields to fall onto.

Sure, there were still embarrassing moments for a few of us...like when I first arrived to the hotel and one of the first people who introduced themselves to me was Sally Clarkson...and I had no idea who she was. I was post-travel tired & drained from choosing not to sleep at all the night before since I had to leave for the airport at 3:30 AM. I did not stand up to greet her. I fumbled my answers. Didn't ask her much about herself....then later I was told who she was. Honestly though....at the OTHER conference I attended in February....that type of scenario didn't happen. Lines weren't as easily crossed with the who is important and who isn't list. Sally was gracious and so real. I mentioned that I started the newbie group...she said something about the fact that must make her the mama of the conference with all of her years experience. I laughed. I had no idea what she was talking about.

Then...there was the time that I stood in line for 15 minutes waiting to meet Phil Vischer...
 the creator of Veggie Tales. I waited, and I waited...the line was not moving even an inch. I was starting to think these gals ahead of me were quite annoying for monopolizing all of his time. Then...it hit me...am I even IN a line? I asked...and sure enough I was not. I laughed...I complimented the gal in front of me for her nice hair that I had been staring at for so long and then moved on.

Ok...back to my main point. I went to a session with The Nester...
One of the first things she said was that she started blogging because she wanted to be a part of the community. AH HA! Oh my it was like the lights started flashing and I finally got it! That is exactly why I started blogging! I wanted to be a part of something. I wanted to be a part of a community. I liked the community I was seeing...and that I seemed to have similar things in common...so I joined in. And I was accepted. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a part of something. I have always struggled with feeling left out, not good enough, not this, not that....this realization was not just for me about my place in the blogging world. This was a big moment for me to realize. I started to step back and view things through another set of lenses. I noticed the friendships I was drawn to were ones where there were already best friends. Because I saw what they have and desired it more than anything. Just to belong...to be accepted...not rejected...to be loved....not judged...to be seen...not passed by...to be saved....not be left behind.

Now that I have seen these new things about myself...I will begin to peel the layers back with Jesus...ask him to help me find the lies that I am believing...and ask him to help speak truth to those lies. I can begin to be healed...you can't be healed if you don't think there is anything wrong...and now I see it.

Thank you so much to all of you who have accepted me in this community. It means more to me than you will ever realize.

Mama Newbie,


  1. Oh, Janelle! I love this heart of gold you show! You are such a treasure and are dear to me. I did laugh at the standing in a line that wasn't really a line though...how hilarious. Big hug to you.

  2. Janelle, thank you for sharing so honestly. What a beautiful (and very funny!) post. I bet Sally Clarkson wasn't offended and that non existent line for Phil--hilarious!
    Here's the beauty in all of this...I believe we were all born with this longing. The longing He gave us to be near to Him, to belong to Him. Oh, I'm so glad He designed us this way. Because of His design we belong to this beautiful sisterhood of Allume writers and encouragers and, even greater still, the sisterhood He gives us through His blood.
    We didn't exactly meet (you were busy and I didn't want to bother you) but I'm in that picture in the beige jacket with the super silly grin in the background. The prayer that was prayed when we got together filled me with such expectation I couldn't put the smile away.
    Thank you again for having organized this group and expanding my sisterhood. You are beautiful with or without your long locks!

  3. Janelle ~
    So glad to have met you through this blogging world! And, to get to spend time with you through the last couple of years. And, also to
    be able to witness how you are growing yourself and through it all nurturing and encouraging others. You are a gem. ~CA

  4. So honest, so lovely, so revealing...we are often seeking belonging when attending such events and while it is beautiful that we are welcomed, we must remember the truth: God alone satisfies. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Oh, I loved this. Because it's so totally your sweet honest heart, and I love that too. So, so happy and thankful we got to spend a wee bit of time together - not enough. not even close. but it was just nice to be able to hug you every day =)

  6. Love this...and you are so beautiful{and funny too!} But you already know that I think that! {Tweet! Tweet}

    So happy to READ your heart here!

  7. I'm SO glad you started this group, connecting all of us before-hand, so we could see we were not alone in our fears! You are a gem!

  8. Janelle, You are a jewel sweet girl! I loved meeting you, your heart is just huge for people and the Lord and I am SO grateful to you too that I actually got dinner (and a ridiculously amazing one) because of your selflessness! Thank you for your help, for your heart, and for your investment into this incredible community of women! Hugs hugs hugs my friend!