Well, I’m in love.

[I know. You’re hoping it’s a boy. And at some point, I’m hoping that too. Patience, grasshopper. 🙂]

Today I’m talking about Girls of Grace.

I’ve done a poor job of recapping the last few events well- Eden Prairie, Grand Rapids, and Spartanburg, but let me assure you, it was not for a lack of enjoyment. Here are some posts I’ve written about GOG… I mean, I haven’t totally blog-ignored the experience. 🙂

But today, as I think back over the first six events of this Girls of Grace season [our season is just like a school year, July – May], there are just some things I want to share. Being that Saturday in Spartanburg was our last event of 2012 and we don’t convene again until February in Nashville, I’m feeling all sentimental. Classic Annie.

And since I’ve sat here for forty minutes typing and retyping the same post, not sure how to tell you everything I’m feeling without taking up 2,000 words of your life, I’m going for a list.

[No, it’s not an impressive literary feat with well placed transitions. Sorry. A list is low on the totem pole of good literature. I’m aware.]

What I’ve loved about Girls of Grace. Ready? Let’s go.

1. I love how we feel like a family. I mean, I am for sure the new kid on the GOG block, but it amazes me how the speakers, bands, crew, and staff all feel like my people. I’ve been a Point of Grace fan since I was old enough to make my own mix tapes, and now those three women are really dear to me. And when we all sit around in the green room before, during, and after the event, we talk about real life and connect and it means a lot to this girl who loves her some friends. For a group of folks who only see each other twice a month, about four days a month total, we have got a good thing going on.

2. The bands and speakers. I am so impressed each weekend with the bands that join our little family. Group 1 Crew won me over for realz in July, but since then, I’ve also come to LOVE For King and Country, Britt Nicole, Sidewalk Prophets, Rush of Fools– not to mention Point of Grace and our worship leader Meredith Andrews.

[And I am ALL giggly that my gal Jamie Grace will be with us in Dallas! EEP!]

And the other speakers? Man, they are good. Amber Lehman, Constance Rhodes, and Chris Wheeler are some of the finest co-workers I have ever had. I’m grateful for them.

3. The staff and crew. I’m not gonna get sappy here, but I could. I love the people that are behind the scenes every weekend, and working tirelessly all during the week, to see that many young women get the best experience possible. It is inspiring to watch them work, knowing that I get to be a part of what God is doing through them. And? I like being friends with them. So that’s an added perk.

4. I love riding the bus and sleeping in a middle bunk and having all my friends trapped together for a lot of hours … and I am not afraid to say it.

5. Zondervan. My publisher is a Girls of Grace sponsor and it is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen God do- how He put together me and GOG, then me and Zondervan, then Zondervan and GOG, and then all three of us. It’s happy.

6. The girls and moms we meet in every city. It is such an honor to get to meet and speak in front of all of these women- young and old. During Meredith’s first worship set each Saturday, I stand in the back and watch as lots and lots of girls pursue Christ. And I say things like, “Uh, God? Why do I get to be here?” Because I feel unworthy and blessed and grateful.

7. God always shows up. He just does. Every Saturday. No matter the city. In some way, I leave each event different than when I got there. He shows up for the girls, and He shows up for us too.

I could keep going. I seriously could. Girls of Grace is just such a sweet spot right now for me personally and for my career and my passions. I am just beyond grateful to be a part. It is perfect? No. Does everything go exactly right every time? Nope. But I am always glad to be there.

Always.

I put up an album of some of my favorite Girls of Grace pictures from 2012 on my facebook page if you wanna check them out. And the spring gets super fun when we head to Nashville, Atlanta, Dallas, and other cities that are still secret. 🙂 And if you’re like, “Man, this event would be AWESOME in our town!” just pop on the GOG website and tell them!

So that’s how I spent my weekend- in Spartanburg, SC with over 1000 teen girls and their moms, working with some of the best people I know.

Also? I slept until 1pm on Sunday and when I woke up, I said, “Well played, Downs. Well played.”

How was your weekend?