Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Pearl Event ~ Atlanta 2013

Morning Glories!

I am going to do my best to capture in words and these beautiful photographs, (all shot by the amazing Paige Knudsen) what the Lord did last weekend. But let's suffice this to say, I'm not sure I can capture in words or fully articulate everything my heart wants to write.

I will say this.

Heart explosion.

God truly poured out and blessed and did the unthinkable and unimaginable.

This weekend was a spiritual marker and milestone that is permanently carved on my heart.

It was a huge turning point for me personally and I am just so incredibly grateful.

I want to share the words and pictures here with you all today, but what I really hope to do by sharing this, is actually inspire you to pursue your hearts' desire. To encourage you to believe in yourself. And to motivate you to be courageous and to be obedient to your calling.

There is something deep inside the well within each one of you that only you can do.

It is the reason He created you.

Sometimes in life, I think we can tend to believe that if we are called to do something- it won't be hard.

And when the hard things come, we question everything, including our purpose, and we may even want to completely give up or we allow fear to take over and it just absolutely paralyzes us.

Push through.

Because what is waiting for you on the other side of all of that pain and suffering and all of those really hard things lies the very reason He created you. 


It may be really, really difficult at times.  And it will involve facing your fears and it will involve taking some risks and sometimes some really big ones. 

Be willing to be a fool for Christ.  

Be willing to lose your life to find it. 

Be willing to invest in what God is invested in.


I spend my spare time investing in people. Because that is all that matters to Him.

That is the heart of God.

Investing in His people is the way that I worship the Lord.

And the return on your investment is immeasurable.

Last summer someone really special invested in me. She also took a huge risk on me.

Karen Murray.

She is the director of the women's ministry for Mountain Park First Baptist Church near Atlanta, GA.

This is the first time that Karen brought in a speaker from out of town. It is also the first time another church/ministry has partnered with me and invited me to bring The Pearl Event to their church community.

I am still twirling from this weekend. My heart is still singing....

Karen and her amazing team of women did everything. They organized and decorated and planned for this day for months. They made all of the food to bless the women with on Saturday. They served and loved and prayed and gave of their time and used their many gifts and talents to make this day possible.

Thank you to every single one of you!!!

I drove in and brought the pearls! Karen and her team did the job of twenty people. Honestly.

I know how hard it is and how much work it is from experience and to have another ministry want to partner with you and take that on, just so they can invest in God's people.....

There are no words big enough.

Y'all. You don't even know.

I will never be the same again.

Beautiful Karen Murray.


You are a precious vessel of God's love and His goodness. Thank you for using your life to bring Him honor and glory. Thank you for investing in me and for believing in me. Thank you for such an incredible opportunity. Thank you for the months and months and months of planning and worrying and hoping and praying and organizing and orchestrating every, single detail for this day.
I am completely overwhelmed and awestruck by you and your beautiful heart to serve.
I am forever grateful to you beautiful friend.
There are no words big enough.....

Karen and her gorgeous daughters, Claire and Chandler.

I wish I had all the right words to describe what it feels like when someone comes alongside your
God dream. And when someone invests in you and believes in you. 

Especially when it involves taking a huge risk with that investment.

It is a gift.

Karen and Paige Knudsen are long time friends and Paige connected the two of us last summer.

I wish I could also find the words to describe what it feels like to have a special friend who believes in what you are doing for the Lord and wants to help connect you to other ministries.

That is also a gift.

I am so incredibly grateful to both Karen and Paige.

For the last 8 months or so I have been a nervous wreck worried about this past weekend.

I wanted God to just be God and do what He knows how to do best. I prayed my heart out for months for Him to do just that. I prayed that I wouldn't disappoint God and I also prayed that Karen and Paige and the precious women helping with the event and the ones in attendance wouldn't be disappointed either.

Glory to His name.

He absolutely poured out His love through so many vessels, in so many ways last Saturday.

I want to thank every single one of you who also prayed for this event. So many of you encouraged through texts and phone calls and emails and blog comments and Twitter tweets and Instagram comments!! I cannot thank you all enough.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much your encouragement has blessed me!

Thank you...

The Glorious Breakfast Buffet! Oh my word! An entire team of amazing women spent the day before and the day of preparing and serving all of the Pearl Girls! Thank you all so much for your extraordinary kindness and for all of the love and time you each spent preparing for TPE!! 

This is Bonita, who is affectionately called "Bon-Bon" by everyone:)
She is an absolute sweetheart and created the most wonderful and thoughtful
gift basket for my hotel room.  I was blown away by the generosity and kindness of the women's ministry at this church!

A huge thank you to beautiful Libbie Ballard here and to Dr. Paul Ballard, Senior Pastor of MPFBC.
I cannot thank them enough for trusting me and allowing me this opportunity.
I was blown away by the hearts of the members of your congregation and the women on
the ministry team who served and poured out God's love to so many women Saturday.

I am forever marked by this day in the most profound ways.

So grateful to the two of you!!

This is Cherish from Southern Soulmates! She is absolutely stunning in real life!!
I was so excited to finally meet her after years of connecting through the blog world.
So grateful she drove in for the event and spent the day with us! Thank you so much for your love and support and encouragement over the years Cherish! I cannot begin to properly communicate how much it has meant to me or how God has used you to encourage my heart again and again. Thank you....

Another precious woman who joined us Saturday!

This is the awesome praise and worship team from Mountain Park First Baptist.
They blessed us so much with their incredible giftings! 
Thank you all so much for using your gift to bring glory to God!

The event was held in their beautiful fellowship hall. They fed this group breakfast and lunch and I am still just blown away by the extraordinary kindness of MPFBC!!

Y'all. Look how gorgeous these girls are!! 
Paige wore the most darling polka dot dress and cowboy boots and pearls! And look at how beautiful these college girls are!! I may have almost fainted from the prettiness factor from the four of them!   The three adorable girls in this photo with us drove from Miami and spent some time in nearby areas for their spring break and then attended TPE and then drove 9 hours home Sat. night! Blown away. We could not stop making a fuss over them. :) Thank you girls for spending the day with us!

This is Ginger! She made me laugh with real tears! She was so much fun to meet and talk to and we also discovered that we are from the same small home town! I went to high school with her brother!

Another precious woman who blessed me so much on Saturday. It is incredibly humbling when women whom you've just met, open their hearts and tell you their story. So many of us spend our lives trying to hide our past, cover up our mistakes and live a buttoned up and heart protected type of life. These women in attendance this weekend gave me so much courage. When you share your God story, you give other people permission to share theirs. Truly.

Sharing her incredible story. Courage poured out like an offering.....

This is Charity! "Cha Cha" as she is lovingly called in the blog world.  Y'all. I love this woman so much. Her heart for Jesus and for God's people is the size of Texas. She loves in action and in word. She is so genuine and so true and has been a faithful friend to me in the midst of some really difficult things in my life over the last couple of years.  She is a prayer warrior and an intercessor and a woman of her word. She drove in to spend the day with us and as soon as I saw her Saturday, my heart was filled with gratitude and peace. I love you beautiful friend!! Thank you for being you and for being such a source of His love in my life. xoxo

There are so many others I would like to acknowledge and thank too but I need your pictures! If you e-mail me your photos, etc. I would love to add and update them to this post as I receive them! 

KK and Bevy are two special bloggers who spent the day with us too. Bevy even flew in for the event!

KK attended the very first Pearl Event in 2009 in CT.  It just blew me away to have her join us again for this one and to bring Bevy along. They are precious, precious vessels of love and joy and goodness and I was overwhelmed to get the chance to see them Saturday! I love you girls!!

I need you all to email me your pictures and I will add them to this post!!

I am so incredibly grateful to you Paige.
I love you and I am so thankful for your friendship.
This weekend was such a spiritual and personal turning point for me and I am so overjoyed that you were such a huge part of this milestone. I am so grateful that we can talk about everything under the sun and never miss a beat. Thank you for investing in me. Thank you for believing in me and this event. Thank you for loving me in spite of myself. Thank you for teaching me by example, what it means to love and sow and serve and give and prefer others over yourself.

I adore you.

(I wish there were more pictures of us to share!! I am sharing this one of you and Cha Cha because I love it so much!)

One of the areas that I am most passionate about ending and changing is the heartbreak that is homelessness. So many people right here in our country are faced with this crisis each and every day. The Atlanta Mission has a project called "My Sister's House" where they offer a 286 bed facility for 1 year to 18 months, a long term treatment program to women and their children and where they pour into these women and teach them the word and life skills and so much more.

I met some of the women who have benefited from My Sister's House project this weekend and
I thought my heart was going to burst wide open. Truly. God is being glorified in this place and through the many hearts who work through the Atlanta Mission. I was honored and humbled to spend the day with some of the women whose lives have been changed drastically through this program.

If you would like to find out more about how you could sow, serve or give to My Sister's House in Atlanta, Georgia, you can contact them here.  The director of the long term treatment facility is Vicki Blount. They also have a shelter side and that Director is Bob Van. You can reach them both through the website and through email or phone. I know it would bless them tremendously.

I pray that you are blessed by sharing about the outreach of The Pearl Event.

I hope it encourages you in some small way to use your life to bring glory to God by investing in His people.

The return on your investment is immeasurable and life changing, heart exploding and filled with joy unspeakable.....

Love you so,



paige said...

there are days that settle in and stay put in our hearts.
from friday afternoon through saturday afternoon is that day!
i know you have no idea how special you are to me.
i know you have no idea how much you lift up & encourage those He places in your path.
i know you have no idea just how much you are loved & adored.

so proud to call you my friend!!
love you dearly ruby, or pearl, or skeeter or sister, or blondie or mama or whomever you answer to...

Charity said...

Oh sweet friend, you were fully walking in His purpose for your life this weekend. I love seeing you doing what you are called to do and so thankful to have been apart of it. I wonder if I will ever feel that I have had enough time with you.....most likely not on this side of heaven. Love you BIG.

Cherish @ Southern Soul Mates said...

This was beautiful, Sibi, just like you. You are indeed a real pearl, no imitation where you are concerned. You are radiant and alive for God and it is evident in your words and your movement. Finally meeting you was an answer to prayer and one of the most delightful days of my life. God is the definitely the Great Orchestrator. Paige did a wonderful job capturing the details of the event. Loved every moment. xoxo

LLH Designs said...

Sounds like God showed up BIG time! I love it when He shows off His glory and goodness like that! Your heart sounds very alive. xoxo!

Tiffany said...

sibi, just reading your words and looking at your sweet face and the others I know how special you are!

I truly hope to hug you in person one day! you probably don't remember but you wrote and prayed for me a year or so ago and it meant so much - thank you for doing what He has called you to do and for encouraging us to do the same.

Love to you!

KK said...

My dear, sweet, precious Sibi,
What a joy and blessing you are!
Saturday just blew me away. I Loved every minute of it. You just radiate God's grace and love. You truly have a gift and I feel so honored to be able to watch you, not once, but two whole times, glorify Him with it. It was so powerful to hear your words and to watch you love on and pray for everyone there. There is not a selfish bone in your body. Please know that I am praying for you and the whole Riffer family that God may bless y'all like you have blessed all those you come in contact with. XO, KK

Jenny Beth said...

oh sibi!! how I dearly hate that I was not able to attend this event. looks like you ladies had such a wonderful and incredible time. so glad to hear everything went so well. and I fully believe jesus has called you to plant. Plant people, my friend, in the firm foundation of our heavenly father. thank you for your ministry and all you do and for listening to the calling he has given to you and your life! without a doubt in my mind, I know the one day when you meet jesus in heaven he will truly be saying, you have done well good and faithful servant, you have done well!
love you to the moon!

Sheri said...

Sounds like everything was just perfect. I wish I could have been there - the photos are beautiful and I can just hear you ministering to these women in your sweet voice. Bless you sweet friend. xo

julia rose. said...

I'm a new follower thanks to the beautiful Cherish, who featured The Pearl Event on her blog today! I am SO incredibly excited I found you. This post warmed my heart to no end and I am in awe of how moving God is! Seeing women come together like this, sharing the Word, and following His purpose is a joy unlike any other! Thank you so much for sharing.