This past week was spent in Charlotte, NC at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly. It was a great time of fellowship, worship and relaxation. I already can't wait until next year! The picture above is right before we left the house. The picture below is the weather that we had to deal with pretty much the whole way .
I was so excited when we hit West Virginia. I had never been before so we decided to stop to eat there at a little pizza place.
I didn't see too much of West Virginia but the part I saw was ugly and depressing.
There was a break in the rain and a beautiful rainbow appeared.
When we finally did get into Charolotte it was late, late on Monday night. We had had a very long day in the car and even though I was exhausted I immdeiatly went to the 24 hour fitness center in the hotel for a little run. I begged roger to go with me and he actually DID!!!
The next morning Roger suggested that we visit the Billy Graham library. My response "are you serious...I don't want to go look at all his books. I don't even know much about the man." his response "jess, they just call it a library but it is really a museum." So, with a bit of apprehension I went. When we were greeted at the gate by a man in a nice suit that seemed to have the crazy Evangelical smile I wanted to turn around and leave. I have a bad history of people trying to "Get [me] saved from the HELL FIRE."
Then when he said "proceed forward and go through the foot of the cross." I just about took off back to the hotel. But I proceeded. Roger was really excited.
It ended up NOT being about Billy Graham at all. It was about the power of God. How God take ordinary people and uses them to do extraordinary things.Billy never wanted to be a preacher. He tried to avoid the call. but in the end the call was too strong.
There was a small room dedicated to his wife Ruth that brought tears to my eyes. I actually had to hide that I was crying. I was so moved because she had the same philosophy of life and her call to ministry that I have. She understood her call to be a minister to her family and husband. Billy called her his chief spiritual adviser and her children said she was crazy hilarious and full of love. I think she would dub herself what I have dubbed myself...a domestic missionary. It was very moving and encouraging. I truly felt that God was speaking to me and wrapping his arms around me to say "it's going to be ok. It'll be rough but it will be ok."
There was a room set up like an old studio talking about how he reached millions through media. I had to take this picture for my Uncle Greg. I thought he would get a kick out of it.
So, the whole library thing was free!! I would take a bus load of people back there is a heart beat. It was that powerful for me. When it was over we did the corny thing and got the billy graham bbq sandwich and billy graham tea. HE HE HA HA
Then we visited his wife's grave. The landscape was so that she was buried at the foot of the cross. Check out what is on her head stone. She was a funny, carefree person and thought it would be funny to have that on her head stone after driving through a construction zone and reading a sign that said "End of Construction...Thank you for your patience."
She has now become my role model. I think we all need to have many people, dead and alive, that we look to for inspiration and she has now become one of them. Later in the week a friend of mine, Karen, got me a book of Ruth's journals, pictures and poetry. I stayed up the night she gave it to me reading in the bathroom floor of the hotel until 4am laughing, crying and reflecting.
This is the house that Billy grew up in. We got to go inside and the color was CRAZY. His mother loved a certain green color and painted the whole house that color. It was a little too much if you ask me. you can look it up on youtube and see a video of inside.
We went to walk in an area of Charlotte and just so happened to park at the church billy graham grew up in. Roger walked in to ask if we could park there and a bunch of kids yelled "STRANGER STRANGER STRANGER" Then once the teacher came and gave us promission to park in the lot, the kids yelled "are you from kentucky? man, you gots some goooooood chicken."
The best thing about going to the CBF is getting to hang out with old friends. No one knows what it is like to me a minister or a minister's spouse like a minister and a minister's spouse. WE spent an evening hanging out in the hoppin' area of downtown Charlotte, NC, complaining to one another and being inspired by one another.
Every evening we would CRASH. The constant go go go is fun but really makes you tired.
The next morning Roger got me breakfast and a newspaper in bed!! It was a yummy waffle with blue berries. He is so sweet!
in the mornings I skipped the business stuff and sat alone reading in the room. It was so peaceful and refreshing.
On Thursday evening we went to dinner with Karen and Barry to a very very very nice Asian restaurant. I just had to take a picture of the toilet because I had never sat on a black one before. It just looked so pretty.
Karen and Barry are members of the church that Roger is now the senior minister of and the parent's of a good friend, Tyler, from college. They are sweet people and I am so excited to get to know them in the months and years to come.
During the thursday evening service at the General Assembly of the CBF we had communion by intinction (you break a peace of bread off and dip it in the cup before taking it into your body). It is always such a humble and holy act to take communion with fellowship baptist from around the world. It was a very sacred and joyful moment for me.
On friday evening Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God, was the key note speaker. She later had a book signing and I'm telling ya I rushed to be the first person in line. I love meeting authors. I love her so much because she doesn't fit herself into the box. She is just who God made her and God made her to be SPUNKY and out spoken!!
saturday we explored the historic Charlotte, Nc. This porch......I FELL IN LOVE WITH. Can someone please buy it for me?!?!?!
When you were in the neighborhood you could sit on your front porch and view the city.
On the way back we took the scenic route. It took forever, because I had to stop every five seconds to look at something COOL, like this sign, but it was beautiful!!!
We came across this hiking town called Hot Springs. We plan on going back with friends.
Sense we had already stopped we decided to have dinner in a little old cafe' there in hot springs
We ended up in this town called Cocke County. The home of the fighting Cocks. oh my. You can imagine how hard we laughed the rest of the way home.
We got home at 11pm completely exhausted and totally not ready for Roger's last Sunday at the church he is currently serving. Our plan was to go visit my family after the sunday service, swim in their pool and go see toy story 3 but some people were upset that the kids wouldn't be there for the last sunday. So, instead we had my parents bring the kids up on sunday morning and then after church we did KFC and toy story 3. Now the kids and the parents are spacing out at home....or at least trying. Anna doesn't know what REST means.
I am exhausted but excited. I had a great week hanging with The Fellowship, getting back in touch with my Husband and spending some quality alone time with myself. I left the house feeling overwhelmed and I have come back feeling refreshed and inspired.