Recently, I attended the BELONG Tour in Loveland, Colorado – basically a dream come true; all of my favorite speakers coming together at the same time! To say that I was excited would be an understatement, I was like a giddy school girl. I’ve read these women’s books, follow their blogs and like their posts on social media, and now I finally was getting the chance to see them in person.
The BELONG Tour is a nationwide 12-city tour featuring some pretty amazing ladies: Patsy Clairmont, Jen Hatmaker, Angela Davis, Sharon Irving, Shauna Niequist and Nichole Nordeman. Over two days, thousands of women from all over come together to worship, to laugh, to cry, and to exercise (yes, you read that correctly).
Following our inner giddy school girl spirits, my friend Rachel and I decided to make our BELONG Tour trip a girls’ weekend – saying goodbye to our husbands and children for a whole 24 hours to focus instead on ourselves and our friendship. I’ll admit that this weekend couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Both Rachel and I wear A LOT of hats and in the midst of all the busyness of life, we were searching for a time to take a deep breath and exhale. When I walked into the BELONG Tour, I truly felt like this is where I was supposed to be spending my weekend.
Sharon Irving opened up the event with such life-filled music, also shout out to the band for being fantastic! When Shauna Niequist introduced the speaker lineup, it was apparent that the speakers were more than six experts brought on stage together, they were six friends gathered to chat about life.
Patsy Clairmont took the stage first and you could clearly see that she possessed something really special. Patsy might be farther along in her life journey, but there is nothing slowing her down. She is wise, funny, beautiful and likes to wear brightly colored undergarments. She reminded me of the importance of having women in your life who are a few years ahead of you that you can look up and be friends with. If you don’t have a friend like this yet, I highly recommended that you find someone like Patsy in your life!
Sitting next to Rachel, we continue our weekend long “exhale” as we listened intently to Angela Davis. When Angela began to talk, a buzz came over the building. Her energy was almost tangible! Somehow, she was able to combine exercise and teaching in an unexpected way. There I was, with Rachel by my side, doing squats and punching the negativity out of my life! We marched and received love and grace. I absolutely loved being able to get my body moving all while learning more about Jesus.
Next up was Jen Hatmaker (My inner school girl was so excited!). She can write and speak to the hearts of women all while tying up a complex message with comedy. I kid you not, if I wasn’t sore from the squats, I was sore from laughing after Jen’s talk. I’ve been reminding myself daily that “fear is NOT the boss,” something that Jen was able to remind all the women at the BELONG Tour that day.
Shauna Neiquist also reminded me that God created me, just the way that I’m supposed to be. Her talk spoke to the crowd. Speaking how each of the thousands of women present were individually created with certain gifts and talents and that no one else can be you, was humbling and empowering all at the same time.
The next speaker who took the stage truly captivated me so much so that my notebook pages where left completely blank. I was so much in awe of her storytelling abilities that my eyes couldn’t be taken off of the stage. Nichole Nordeman confessed that she was nervous to step away from the piano and instead be speaking, but her words were so beautiful, and her message touched me deeply. In the words of Jen Hatmaker, Nicole truly did not let fear be the boss of her on stage that day!
If all of that weren’t enough, Friday night ended with a concert by Johnnyswim. Swoon might be the only word I have to describe how I felt listening to this husband and wife duo. Prior to attending the BELONG Tour, I hadn’t heard of their music, but I’ll admit that it’s been on almost constant repeat since getting back from Loveland.
All six women came together on stage at the end of the event. They shared kind words, laughs and hugs. It was honestly an amazing thing to witness and it reminded me of the kind of friend that I want to be to Rachel and also to the friends and family I left back at home. I can say with 100% honestly that the BELONG Tour was fantastic. I left feeling uplifted, rejuvenated and more on fire than when I walked through the doors only a day before. Seriously, if you can go next year, do it! I’ll save you a seat next to me.