This was my first Apologia Live conference and the second such conference that Apologia has done. Apologia Live is the inspiration of Rachael Carman, wife and mother of seven. Rachael and her husband Davis own Apologia.
I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it was designed to be a retreat for homeschool moms, a place for them to come for refreshment, renewal, refocusing and a reminder of why they do what they do. I have been to many homeschool conferences that were designed to do the same thing. However, nothing prepared me for how beautifully this event fulfilled its mission. In fact, in all my years as a speaker, I have never been to a conference for which I was to speak that ministered to me as much as those attending the conference. All I can say is, "WOW! God truly made His presence and purpose known, and touched everyone's life in a powerful way."
This year's theme was Stand Strong. I was blessed to sit among the women and hear from some amazing women, such as, Elizabeth Smith (HSLDA), Zan Tyler, Debra Bell, Rachael Carman and Sherri Seligson (author of Marine Biology). What was truly astonishing is how all the messages we spoke wove into every other speaker's message, resulting in common threads that were repeated throughout the conference - namely that God will Stand Strong on your behalf, no matter how you have struggled, failed, messed up and failed again. He is just waiting to bless you and your children.
As a homeschooling mother, I sat in wonder, thinking, "Oh! If only someone had told me that when my children were young! How this message would have transformed my homeschool." I also sat in awe, pondering some of the powerful words spoken into my life with messages I needed to hear today. Elizabeth taught on prayer and renewed my commitment to pray over my children and their struggles. She also taught me that I should always ask God what to pray, instead of just assuming that I know what the specific issue at hand really is and how it needs to be tackled in prayer. Sometimes God may lead us to pray in a different way that will get better results. Debra Bell was so powerful in her message of grace, her message of hope for God's purpose and plan for our children. She spoke of how homeschooling is not just best for our children, it is best for us, personally, and for our marriage and family. It is God's best for our entire lives. Zan gave powerful words of hope on the redemption of God, reminding us that He longs to bless us, to open doors for our children and usher them into the amazing blessings He has in store for them. Sherri reminded us that God uses our weakness, and is actually able to work far more effectively when we aren't the confident, got-it-all-together homeschool mom that we all wish we were. Rachael did a beautiful job of wrapping it all up, highlighting stories of the mother's in the Bible that dedicated themselves to raising their children just as we are. My favorite was her portrayal of Hannah who gave her child up to fulfill God's call upon His life. One day, we will do the same with all of our children as they begin to find and pursue the purposes to which God has called each of them. I could have listened to each one for days.
It was so wonderful getting to chat with each of the women, counseling some one-on-one, praying with them and hearing their stories. It wasn't about curriculum, as most homeschool conferences are, it was about them and building them up to stand strong in the journey ahead. It was a true ministry to these women.
Apologia Live will be expanding to other states each year. Next year, they will be back in Baltimore and also Atlanta. I know there are other cities planned as well. They are hoping to get to California soon.
If you are needing refreshment and renewal...Apologia Live is where you will get it!