Honestly, I don’t know how to summarize Restory. I’m still a bit numb afterwards. This usually happens to me after a big event–I get sick and numb. And I am both today as I write this. When I pour myself out, I have little left in the aftermath. My dear family tells me to rest, and I heartily agree, but then the mountain of work piles before me, and I can’t seem to slow down. So prayers appreciated as I transition back into civilian life. 🙂
But all in all, wow. God did something unique and amazing in our midst. I’m at a loss for words.
I don’t have the final tally yet, but an estimated 275 folks were there. Here are some of them:
So far the biggest piece of feedback I received from the evaluations is this: “We needed tissues in the bags!” The stories were amazing, friends.And they brought forth (good) tears.
Leslie Wilson did an amazing job at emceeing the event. She was purposeful, a great communicator, and funny too. (of course).
If you’d like to listen to one of them, Chris Burkley has been featured on the Restory Show here. He shared about the loss of a child in the most gospel-centric way I’ve heard. If you’d like to see the website they put together about Baby Asher, click here.
Hope Harris shared about her journey from militant lesbian activist to finding her identity in Jesus Christ.
Vonda Vestal shared how her children helped her understand God’s love, and how He helped her find peace in the aftermath of abortions.
I shared my story, too. I talked about healing from the past, overcoming the lies we’ve believed, working through relationships that are pesky, and how to move forward, bringing your story to those who need it.
My friend Gina Cooper led the worship, and I’m so grateful she did. This picture below is one of my favorites from the event because it features Gina, and the girl on the right with left hand raised is me. The worship connected me to Jesus in a powerful way. We started the conference in worship, and ended it that way too. Keyboardist Bob Singleton also WROTE A SONG for the event. It’s amazing, and I can’t wait to sing it again in church.
I don’t have enough thankful words to share how amazing the volunteers were. There were dozens of them, doing registration, food, prayer, and managing the book table. Thank you Single Life from Lake Pointe Church! I’m grateful. I’m thankful, too, for the sponsors, Williamson Foundation Repair, Animal Hospital of Fate, and Dr. Saundra Dalton, who graciously donated bookmarks and books. I’m also grateful for Dr. Ralph from New Zealand whose contribution truly helped get the conference off the ground.
We had folks come to the conference from all over the world. Our Life Group did an amazing job of hosting and taking care of all our guests. A few came from Oklahoma. Sylvia came from Colorado. Ayla came from Michigan with her two children. Doctor Ralph flew from New Zealand just for the conference! And Bile (bee-lay) and Esther are from the Ivory Coast. Many of us had dinner that night to celebrate our new international Restory family (sans Sylvia).
Some Initial Feedback
The feedback on the evaluations was nearly 100% positive, with some saying it was the best conference they’d attended. I’m so so grateful! My hope is to bring Restory to YOU–wherever you live. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in being a liaison for Restory.
Here are some initial comments about the conference.
From an online watcher, Roger:
My wife and I watched the program together. It was amazing. Thank you so much for allowing us that privilege. You and your speakers touched me deeply. It helped me refocus on what God wants me to do with the rest of my life. I was honored to hear the stories and see the work you are doing and the work God has done in your life. Thanks again.
My friend Richard sent an email from Geneva to praying people around the world right before the conference:
She is taking a big step this morning running the first Restory conference to directly minister to people with a broken past. I am part of her prayer team and it has been a journey of faith to make it to the start line. There are around 300 people signed up and as I was praying just now i felt just a wave of God’s deep compassion for the people who will be gathering there. I felt like God wanted to bring significant breakthrough for people who are weighed down by there past, so would you pray?
Elaine attended in person:
Just want to thank you so much for the blessing to attend your conference Saturday. I had never heard your testimony before and it broke my heart. But you are an overcomer and, as you said, we are all a mess. I am crying right now as I write this email.
From Bile (Ivory Coast attendee):
Hi Mary , I liked your seminar on restoration . God bless you for the beginning. that Jesus opens you the doors of nations so that you may be the lamp that illuminates the brokenhearted . thank you to your friends who received us like little princes. Nous (we) are in Maryland waiting for our departure on Friday for our country. Thank you for everything.
How You Can Experience the Conference:
If you’d like to experience all the stories from the conference, I’m leaving the Indiegogo campaign open. Simply buy a VIRTUAL TICKET, and I’ll send the video files as soon as they’re mastered and finalized.
This whole adventure started a little over a year ago when God whispered the word RESTORY into my heart. That turned into this website, the Restory Show (second season started last week!), and this conference. My mastermind group had a key role to play in January when they suggested I do the conference and crowdfund it instead of waiting for someone to want it. This was part of the word SUBTRACTION God gave me this year–to subtract the gatekeepers from my life.
I was hesitant. Another crowdfunding campaign? I don’t like asking for funds–it’s humbling and stressful. But that campaign enabled Restory to happen, that and an extremely generous church who lent a building, expertise, and so much more.
I realized in the midst of this that community is so important. I’m simply blown away by my life group at church who really became the hands and feet of Jesus to our out of town guests. So many from our group volunteered, stuffed bags, made bookmarks, and encouraged me through prayer and consistent friendship. My daughters took pictures and helped in so many ways. Patrick was a backbone for me during all the tedious detail work (not my strong suit). Ty and Sally and Brandon and Denise at Lakepointe truly, truly gave of their time sacrificially. The success of the Restory Conference rests on the shoulders of those great saints. I’ve simply been along for the ride.
I look forward to understanding fully someday why God asked me to do this conference. I have no idea whether Restory will go to other states or nations, but I am convinced that the conference was a life changing blessing to those who attended. We had at least 50 people there who attended on 100% scholarships, thanks to the generosity of several people. Many of those who couldn’t afford to go had difficult, painful stories. It made my heart sing to know they were there, worshiping God and receiving the messages.
In short, I’m blown away. Grateful. Humbled.
And even though I feel small and sick and tired and numb today, I am sitting here with gratitude overflowing my heart.