Skyscrapers are Moved When Dominoes Fall

Skyscrapers are moved when dominoes fall

Sometimes in life, we exist as one domino in a row of many, poised and positioned to fall in the most glorious ways … changing one another’s lives forever.

She emails to tell me of the farm lady with the blog. But I know nothing of blogs in January of 2011. And it’s not until I’m standing in line at the Ft. Lauderdale airport I pay attention. It’s her text this time, “You HAVE to get this book for your flight home….”

I download the book before I board the plane, and the five-hour flight seems only five minutes long as I pour over her profound and poetic words.

I scour her site and read every word, and it’s at the bottom I see it: a link to a place called (in)courage. I click on it, and am ushered into a world of writing I’ve never known before…

One which will change so much for me.

One  in which He’ll use even me, to give hope to other broken hearts.

“Because God intends to use each one of us to change the world.” ~@RichStearns [Tweet that]

I discover blogs. Countless blogs. With words, link-ups, and communities of real people.

But it’s not until September when I learn of The Relevant Conference (now called Allume). A conference for bloggers who long to be used in real and relevant ways, to bring the light of Christ to the world through their writing.

And the conference is already sold out.

But little did I know, even God can use Twitter to accomplish His plans.

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I stalk the Twitter stream and gain enough courage to send a tweet: “If you’re needing to sell your ticket, I’d love to buy one…”

And it’s a stranger named Denise in Bloom who responds. She doesn’t know me at all, but sweetly offers to watch for a ticket. And it’s through her help, a way is opened for me to go.

Less than two days later, with a last-minute conference ticket in hand, I quietly tweet to ask if anyone needs a roommate.

And this time it’s Annie at Home from New York who replies. She’d been on the waiting list and obtained a last-minute conference ticket too. We chat on the phone and it doesn’t take long to feel like we’ve always been friends.

But since Annie is driving to the conference, she won’t be there the first night I arrive.

So I meander onto Twitter again, to ask if anyone has room for me to stay with them for one night.

And it’s Erin from Home with the Boys who tweets back, generously offering me to stay with her and Brooketwo close friends offering to open up their room to welcome me, a complete stranger! Their kindness overwhelms.

Airplane Flying Over the Clouds

Before I know it I’m on a plane to Pennsylvania for my first blogging conference ever. I know no one and have only read a couple of blogs. And as the plane lands, I have no idea I’m about to encounter some of the most generous and kind women on the planet. Women whose dominoes are about to fall into mine.

“God creates elaborate plans with spiritual dominoes, and the chain reaction begins with one domino at a time.” ~@RichStearns [Tweet that]

We stand at baggage claim and watch the suitcases circle around. She tells me her name is Kat, and that she’s from Texas. And standing with her weight on one foot, she leans against her suitcase and asks about me. I tell her I’ve been blogging only 3 months about mercy and grace. And she fills my heart with encouraging words. Welcoming me to the blogging world and inspiring me to write as God leads.

I go to dinner that night with my new friend Annie, and we inconspicuously sit at a table in the back. But they’ve seated speakers at each table who rotate tables to meet us. And at our table I’m introduced to the down-to-earth and inviting Emily Freeman, the good girl full of grace, who interacts with us just like a close friend.

After dinner a woman with a smile as wide as Colorado tells me her name is Kristen. I tell her I’m new, and she tells me not to worry about that. Not one. little. bit. And throughout the conference, she tracks me down, and hugs me tight, time and time again. As if it’s her personal mission to make me feel like I matter and know I really belong.

Allume friends

At lunch the next day, I sit by a quiet girl with long flowing hair, who subtly leans over to say hi, and tells me our names rhyme: Myquillyn and Jacqueline. And we commiserate over the spelling challenges of our names and chuckle about the ways people get them wrong most every time. We chat about everyday down-to-earth things over salad and chicken, and I leave feeling better for having crossed her path.

With such an unusual name, I wonder if she blogs. And it’s then someone tells me that the Myquillyn I met, whose name rhymed with mine, is none other than The Nester. Who is also the sister of Emily Freeman. I had no. idea. And neither did she find the need to tell me. What humility and grace.

I work up my courage to approach Lisa Jo Baker, the host of Five Minute Friday. As a new blogger I’ve been learning to write with her community, and I blurt out my confession as soon as we meet face to face, as if to alleviate the secret guilt I’ve been carrying all three months of my blogging life.

“I have to admit to you I cheat on FMF posts,” I confess. “…I set the timer for five minutes, pause it every so often to think, and turn it back on to furiously type.”

She throws her head back in laughter, and hugs me tight like we’ve been friends for a decade, melting my anxiety into a puddle on the floor.

And across the room I recognize Christin in the lounge. Hers is one of the few blogs I’ve read. And I rush over to thank her for her words at Joyful Mothering. We eat cupcakes and talk into the evening.

Ann and Jacque 2011And it’s the next day, I meet the farm girl. Ann, full of grace. I wait at the end of the line, and when we talk, I cry the entire time. Eyes-pufffy, tears-pouring cry. And she locks her eyes on mine, as if I’m the only one in the room. And she tells me I am loved … that God wants to use me too.

Oh the grace and kindness of each heart I encounter.

Rich Stearns, president of World Vision, U.S. describes how God has big plans for us all … how He always uses ordinary people to change the world.

Yet in God’s story, we are dependent on one another. Because together we can do things we could never accomplish alone.

Did you know it’s been shown that if you create a chain of dominoes, each one 1 1/2 times the size of the previous one, the cumulative effect of their fall is exponential. So much so, that if the first domino in the chain is a mere 5mm high and 1mm thick, the 29th domino to fall would be the height of the Empire State Building?

One tiny domino falling with the tiniest force, has the potential to effect the kind of change that could fall a domino the size of the Empire State Building!

“Only God can multiply seemingly insignificant things to knock over skyscrapers.” ~@RichStearns

In His plan, God places us in the right place, perched and ready to fall at the right time, by His Divine providence alone.

And as He sends us opportunities, He whispers:

Lean in. And fall.

And when we do, He magnifies the results to accomplish things we never dreamed were possible.

Introductions and smiles, and conversations at meals … all of them connections.

One domino leaning over to fall the next, as God orchestrates it all in His time.

I become friends with Denise in Bloom, and in time become a contributing writer at Sisters in Bloom. I find sweet friends among the writing team there. And it is Amy Bayliss, one of those Sisters in Bloom, who gives me the life-changing advice and push I need to share my story of how Mercy Found Me.

“You are a domino precious in His sight. Be willing and say yes … be available to be used.” @RichStearns [Tweet that]

Through the random kindness of Erin and Brooke, we become friends. And in time I begin to write for The MOB Society, and later for Team Hope, the team of women who encourage weary mama-hearts at Brooke and Stacey’s place, Hope for the Weary Mom.

In time I figure out who Kat is and find the Hello Mornings community.

And I continue to receive Skype calls and cheerleading from the sweet and generous Kristen Strong.

Because of Lisa Jo, I become connected with (in)courage, leading an (in)couragers group. And I’m honored to participate in the video footage for (in)RL 2013, sharing my passion for community. And in more time, Christin emails me and invites me to write for the Allume blog.

Certainly when I arrived at the conference in 2011, I never anticipated how it would change my life. I never imagined how I’d encounter such gracious and humble women–women and writers without pretense, who display such a pure love for Christ.

His love compelled them to reach out in kindness to even me–a newcomer and nurse who never imagined she’d be a writer at all.

We are dominoes falling into one another, with skyscraper moments ahead.

“Because skyscrapers are moved when dominoes fall.” @RichStearns [Tweet that]

Are you ready for Allume?

Are you standing tall in your domino spot?

Are you ready to lean in and fall, that your life may change another?

As you prepare for Allume, poised and positioned in the exact place God intends, get ready sweet sisters.

Get ready for the divine appointments He has waiting for you.

May you expect them,

Watch for them,

And find them.

And as you do, may we one day see the skyscraper-size impact He accomplishes through each and every one of us.

One smile, one hug, and one conversation at a time.

I can’t wait to see you there!

 

How have you been changed by Allume?

What are you most looking forward to?

 

Photo Credit 

Jacque Watkins

Lover of heartfelt chats and chai tea lattes, Jacque can’t wait to connect with you. Over a decade ago, in the aftermath of an affair, Jacque was found by God’s mercy and changed by His grace. As a Labor & Delivery RN and mama to five, she's a mercy-lover, podcaster of Mud Stories, champion of second chances, and longs for you to know God loves you for you, and will leave nothing unredeemed in His time. You can connect with Jacque at her blog, or on TwitterFacebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

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  • http://joyfulmothering.net CHRISTIN

    I am so glad to know you and call you friend. *Thank you* for walking across the room and talking to me that day at Relevant. I am so thankful for your courage because you are a gift in my life. <3 xo

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Your words bless me so… giving thanks for you even now … And may many find the courage to walk up to one another and connect, and may our lives and the lives we write for be richer because of it! xoxo

  • http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/ RO ELLIOTT

    Jacque…do you remember you offered me an extra ticket??? I was so new to the blog world…I had no idea you were offering me gold…and probably because of my fear I said thanks but no thanks…I did not even pray about it…I wonder sometimes if I just plain missed it…but God knows and maybe He will bring it all back around….I am not even blogging right now…but I would still love to meet you and others face to face…if I never really thanked you for your most kind offer..a million thanks for you kind gift .

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      That offer my friend … pure selfishness for the longing I have to meet *you* face to face! And if I had one ticket again, this day it would be yours! I can not wait until God orchestrates a way for me to hug you tight, drink hot tea, and talk with you for a long, LONG, time …xoxo

  • http://memyselfandmercy.blogspot.com/ MARY BONNER

    My sweet friend Jacque…we didn’t meet until Allume 2012 and I loved you right away. I didn’t know anyone in 2011 either, but sat at dinner with Brooke & Erin. I love you my mercy friend and this post is a lovely illustration of what God can do…hugs. See you in 5 weeks!!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Sweet mercy friend, FIVE weeks … soon and very soon!! I CAN. NOT. WAIT! xo

  • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

    And all because of Twitter and a blogging conference… Beautiful to hear what God can do! Thank you for sharing.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      I’m so thankful to have met you last year Gretchen … to have found your writing and your site which help this fledgling tech-challenged girl SO MUCH. It *is* so beautiful what God can do, and what He’s done includes you! Sending hugs from afar!!

  • http://www.dominicandkristin.blogspot.com KASMITH03

    Reading this and I am covered in chills!! I can’t believe it is a month away and I am actually attending as a newbie!! Can’t wait! :) Such an encouragement this post was this morning!!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      One month! And we can’t wait to meet you Kristin!

  • LARA SADOWSKI

    Oh, Jacque, I am sitting in my office, and tears are welling up!! I have been reading your blog, and your story and your love for our sweet Lord fills my heart to overflow. I pray that I get to meet you and hug your neck. I am not really new to blogging, but because of my two-hour daily commute to work, I have made my blog really lonely by not writing in it. Well, all that changed on September 16th when, after a lot of prayer, I quit my full-time job so I can be at home. I will be working on my copywriting business, First Prize Writing, at home as well as nurturing my other “baby” blog Courageous: Standing Up for Christ, Conservatism, Culture and Country. Most importantly, I get to take care of my hubby, my stepson and our home much better!! God is GREAT!

    Boy, I do not know how to write a short post. :-) Time for more coffee. Allume, come quickly!! Have a blessed day, y’all!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Lara! How exciting for you to get to write more :) I am looking forward to a big hug and getting to meet you there!!

  • GUEST

    Love all the God moments!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Me too…me too!

  • http://www.livingjoel225.com/ CHRISTINE

    “Lean in and fall.” These words were just what my soul needed after the last few days. (And, at Allume, if someone you’ve never met almost knocks you over with a hug, you can be pretty sure it’s me.)

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      And Chrisitne…I can. not. wait. I’m poised and ready for you, with a huge hug back you can be sure!

  • http://beautifulinhistime.com/ APRILLE {BEAUTIFULINHISTIME.CO

    I so needed this today Jacque! So much.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Oh Aprille, I so love what you’re doing, how you’re writing and sharing, and vulnerably chasing after God’s heart! Whether you have a list anymore or not, I can’t wait to meet you and give you a gigantic hug, friend!! xo

      • http://beautifulinhistime.com/ APRILLE {BEAUTIFULINHISTIME.CO

        Thank you so much. That means the world! you were on the handwritten list of people I wanted to add to my roster, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for you and rushing you when I see you! lol

  • http://mindyrogers.blogspot.com/ MINDY ROGERS

    STOP IT! Now I want to go more than ever! How I love hearing about warm and welcoming women of God who hold each other up <3

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Isn’t it amazing how beautiful it is when we function in the way He made us to, to cheer each other on and ooze out His love? It is such a gift to hold each other up like that!

  • http://www.amylearns.com/ AMY TILSON

    From one connector to another – I love this so much. It’s amazing how the small and what seems to be random can have so much impact, over years of our lives. There once was this girl on twitter who asked if anyone would send her an invitation to Pinterest. Another girl answered and asked, how do you say your name? ;) Hugs in a month!!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Oh Amy! I had forgotten that! You know what’s so crazy? When I recently participated in the #startexperiment with Crystal, they assured us they’d pair us girls with girls and guys with guys…but because they thought my name represented a French guy, I got paired with a guy. {sigh} But on the bright side I crashed Crystal’s group and got to hang with her the whole time, so there! God knew!! Thanks for reminding me of that tweet exchange…can’t wait to see you!

  • BECKY DAYE

    I will miss Allume this year! I am continually amazed at the community of women that God has brought together. It is lovely!!! Can’t wait to read posts from this year’s Allume!!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      And we will miss you…I love reading how everyone processes the weekend too, it’s so fun!

  • http://www.gettingdownwithjesus.com/ DUKESLEE

    This is just so cool. I loved reading down and seeing this happy weaving of faces — some that I’ve met, some that I’ve yet to meet. Thank you, Jacque, for sharing the beauty.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      And that is what it is, isn’t it. Just pure beauty, and I’m so thankful! Can’t wait to meet you and the other Jumping Tandem/High Calling ladies I adore!! xo

  • http://kriscamealy.com/ KRIS CAMEALY

    Oh what beauty. I still remember how generous and kind you were when you introduced yourself to me at the newbies gathering that first night ;) this is a lovely recap and reminder about how God orchestrates all of these things. I won’t be there this year, but I know it will be amazing!!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Haha! I remember I actually bounded across the room yelling out your name because I was so nervous and finally so excited to see YOU…my friend, someone who I’d already connected with online. I love how special that was too. Thanks for not thinking I was weird for tracking you down :) I will really miss you this year but I so understand. God is going to do marvelous things through Refine and my heart just smiles at how He is providing and calling and how you are walking in all He’s prepared you to do! So sweet! xo

  • http://www.alifesurrendered.com/ MICHELE-LYN

    This was beautiful. You, your heart is so beautiful. <3

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      And you. You bless me so. Thank you for being my friend. Your gentle and tender spirit is such a gift. Remembering our sweet time at Declare and looking forward to SEEING you soon!!

  • http://www.handmedowngrace.com/ JESSICA HOOVER

    I get every word. Such beauty pouring out and onto all of us. Thanks for writing this and reminding us that there is no one too big or small to be a part of this wonderful community of grace.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      “There is no one too big or small to be a part of this wonderful communtiy of grace…” YES! YES! YES!

  • MISSINDEEDY

    Jacque, the beauty of the connections you made at Allume and the strength you drew from them is a gorgeous thing to read. It makes me excited all over again to be attending for the first time this year! Thank you for reminding us that we will have lots of opportunities to meet not only people we read and admire, but to form lasting bonds with those we may only have tweeted with up until that point. Love this!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Thank you so much :) And that IS exactly what it will be…LASTING bonds, faces and voices to the avatars you’ve known, and I must say, there isn’t a whole lot sweeter than that when it comes to friendships from Him…kindred hearts beating for His cause, loving one another in the flesh. You are going to love Allume!! Can’t wait to see you there!!

  • ELIZABETH

    Jacque, I look forward to meeting you in Greenville at Allume. Your words hear make my heart beat with happy anticipation. This is so rich with layers of love and fellowship, a gold embossed reminder to save the date deep within the corners of our hearts and souls. Love hearing more of your blogging journey too.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      And Elizabeth, I, look forward to meeting you! And if you see me before I see you, just track me down and tell me so!! xo

  • ALIA_JOY

    What? I didn’t know about all those connections. Love this so very much. I just spent time with Annie this last week and she is the best kind of friend. And these other ladies, yes, world changers each.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Isn’t Annie the best??! I am so glad you got to know her. We bonded as newbies together in the most marvelous ways and I continue to be amazed at the encouragement and joy she brings to every heart that crosses her path. I am better off for knowing her, just as I am for knowing you! What a gift to call YOU my friend too, and I can’t wait to not only see you in a few weeks, but watch what God will do over the years with our willing and surrendered hearts. For His glory alone! xo

  • LOGAN WOLFRAM

    I love everything about this…and it’s all so true. 2011 Relevant was my first year ever attending a blogging conference, and now somehow by the crazy ways dominoes fall, here I am running the thing now. God has bigger plans for us all….and most of them we’d never even have the audacity to dream! Proud to partner with you in Kingdom my friend!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Isn’t it so true?!! And I think you are right, God’s plans for us are SO much more beyond our ability to understand…so much so that if He were to tell us ahead we may never ever believe it, or worse yet feel paralyzed to complete it. But He guides and directs and equips our surrendered hearts for Kingdom change for His ultimate glory alone. I am so blessed to be a part of this amazing community and as we prepare our hearts before Him for all He wants to do, may His will be done, may He be glorified, and may. the. dominoes. fall. and skyscrapers be moved is my prayer… xoxo

  • http://beckykeife.blogspot.com/ BECKY KEIFE

    Jacque, this stirs something deep in me. What an amazing testament to God’s divine love and grace and continuous working in all things for our good and for his glory. Thank you for sharing. I long to be embraced in such a way as this, for God to use the words he gives me to impact others. I’m learning to be faithful in the steps he gives me and patient in waiting for his timing. One day I’d love to be the new girl at Allume, too. Blessings to you as you encourage, inspire, and connect new friends with the same love and grace first extended to you.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      I can so relate to that longing to be embraced and to be used by God, you are not alone! Thank you for your sweet and kind words, and I am standing with you to believe in the dreams God has given you and in His perfect timing to fulfill them!! xoxo