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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Day I Met Beth Moore

So last Friday I met Beth Moore.  In person.  I hugged Beth Moore.  And I had a conversation, albeit 90 seconds or less, with Beth Moore.  In person.

My bestie called me this afternoon and was all like, "How in the world did you get to meet Beth Moore??!!"  So here's the story.

I've participated in Beth's Bible studies, group teachings and telecasts for over 16 years now.  I attended one of her Living Proof Live events in New Orleans about 14 or so years ago.  And I've facilitated several of her studies.  The very first study I did as a student was "To Live is Christ."  I absolutely loved it because the book of Acts is one of my very favorites in the Bible.  That was also the first of her Bible studies that I facilitated.  

My absolute favorite Beth Moore Bible study is "Believing God."  That one was originally introduced as an online study.  It came at a pretty low point in my life so I immediately signed up.  There weren't any women's Bible studies at our church so I was thrilled to be doing another Bible study with other women, even though it was an online community.  I didn't know it at the time, but that study was so on point for my life at the time, and God spoke through it to the depths of my heart that really pulled me out of a lot of junk.  I can still remember the principals from that study, and I go back to it often.

The most fascinating study of hers I've done is the Daniel study.  And I truly "studied" the most in that particular one.  Up until that point in my life, I always thought of the book of Revelation as "off limits" to me, meaning I would just never understand it or figure it out.  Well, I was wrong.  Granted, there is MUCH I still don't understand, still don't know, but I realized that Revelation was just as much for me as the rest of God's Word.  I did that study with two stay-at-home-momma friends.  We'd get together once a week to discuss our lessons and listen to the CDs of Beth's teaching while our babies played.  Mason was a year old at the time.

Several of her studies I simply did by myself.  I bought the student book and then her teaching on CDs as opposed to the DVDs.  I've not always been at a church where women's Bible studies are offered so this was always the perfect option for me if I couldn't find a friend or two to join me.

The last study of Beth's I did was the Psalms study.  I actually did it twice because I later facilitated it.  But not long after that, I started going to BSF so that became my primary "Bible study" the last five years.  I haven't done the Esther or Thessalonians or James studies.  But up until Esther, I've done them all, some of them more than once.

I frequent my local Lifeway bookstore often, especially during VBS season.  So it was earlier in the summer that I realized Beth was about to release a novel, her very first work of fiction.  I was immediately intrigued, but then I got really busy and kind of forgot about it.  Three weeks ago I received a flyer in the mail from my store inviting me to attend a book signing and meet Beth in person.  Sign me up!

I thought long and hard about my decision.  I really wanted so badly to go, but I just wasn't sure.  I knew I'd have to take the children with me, and since I've never been to a book signing before, I wasn't sure how it would work or how long it would take.  But I figured it would be awhile.  The flyer sat on my counter everyday for three weeks.  I finally decided to go.  I knew I would probably regret it if I didn't.  The book signings were limited to Houston (because that's where Beth lives) and Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  We aren't far from Houston, and the setting of her book is actually New Orleans!

To make it a bit more interesting, we had invited Mason's friend over to spend the night last Thursday night.  They've been buddies ever since we started Sequitur last year, but we'd never had him over to our house before.  So now I was going to have not only my three children but Mason's friend, too, to meet Beth!  Welcome to the family, kid!

When we woke up Friday morning, it went a little something like this:

"Hey kids, I'm gonna take you to Area 51 today.  And we'll go eat lunch wherever you want.  But first you have to do some school work.  Oh, and we're also going to meet Beth Moore."

Of course, they had no clue what I was talking about or who Beth Moore even is.  At one point, Mason asked to go to the water fountain, which was on the other side of the store from where we were.  He walked right behind Beth.  When he got back, he whispered in my ear, "Mama, is that lady famous or something?  There are a ton of people taking pictures with her!"  So when he asked me what she was famous for, and I told him, he said, "Oh.  So she's not like an actress or anything."  I mean, she did have a little cameo on War Room!

What I really should've said was, "We're going to go sit at Lifeway for TWO HOURS while Mama waits for Beth to sign her book!"  Yeah, I'm pretty sure Mason's buddy is NEVER going to want to come over again!  Ever!

The signing was from 11:00-12:30.  We got there about 10:45.  One of the store workers met me at the door and handed me a ticket with a number on it.  He explained that they were going to call everyone up in groups of 30, and we would then line up according to the number on our ticket.  I was in group three.  I was really excited about such an "organized" and "easy" and "fair" system.  I went ahead and bought my book and directed the kids to the kids' section to hang out.  Even though it wasn't 11:00 yet, it was obvious that group one and then some had already lined up.  And it was a LONG line.  I had my number.  I knew I was in group three.  So there was no reason for me to stand in that line.  I went to the kids' section and sat down with the girls.  The boys were entertaining themselves.

Sure enough, they called group one at 11:00.  I showed utmost restraint and stayed in my spot on the floor.  I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  They finally called group two at 11:45.  So by this time we'd been there for an hour.  The kids really were doing great, all things considered.  But, do the math.  If things continued like they were, group three wouldn't be called until 12:30.  I though briefly about leaving.  I was beginning to feel so guilty that the kids were just sitting there trying to entertain themselves while I was waiting for 90 seconds with Beth Moore.  And Ellie was about to hit meltdown mode.  I was trying to read books to her, trying to have fun with her.  But she would have NONE of it.  I tried to see if Seth could come get her, but that didn't work out either.  So we just sat.

Around 12:15, I started hearing some of the ladies saying that Beth wasn't going to be able to sign everyone's books.  It also seemed like group three should've been called.  I decided to go ahead and get in line, regardless of the group I was in or the number I had.  What I didn't know was that someone their "organized, easy, fair" system had failed, and I could've been in line a long time ago!  Most of the ladies in front of me either had numbers greater than mine or no number at all!  So I stood there and waited.  Some were still saying that she wasn't going to sign books after 12:30.  I knew that if that were the case, my book would not get signed.  But, fret not.  It's Beth Moore.  Besides, I'd been there since 10:45, and I had my ticket, and, being the rule follower I am, I'd done exactly what they'd told me to do in order to meet Beth!

At 12:25, one of Beth's staff members came through the line and told us that Beth was indeed going to stay as long as it took to sign our books.  Not only was she signing books, she was taking pictures with each and every lady, too.  I really didn't think she would do that considering the amount of time it would take.  She was on a tight scheduled because she had to be at the Lifeway store in New Orleans later that afternoon for another signing.

At 12:45, it was finally my turn.  Beth gave me a big hug.  Y'all, Beth's staff was phenomenal.  One of them held your purse so it wouldn't be in the picture.  One of them immediately took your book and quickly opened it to the page she was signing.  Another of them took your phone for pictures.  I didn't know until I later looked through my pictures that she not only took a picture of us looking at the camera, she also took candid shots of me actually meeting Beth.  (And why are my eyes closed?!)

She asked to meet all of the children, and she shook each of their hands.  She insisted on another picture with all of us (even though Ellie was NOT at all cooperating).

She signed my book.  And I wanted so badly to say something to her, something she would remember, something that would encourage her, something that would let her know how much her ministry has meant to me and impacted my life.  But I didn't want to say anything, you know, STUPID.  I mean, I'd been thinking about it for THREE WEEKS.  And, I obviously don't really have a shortage of words (why is this post so long?!).  But I didn't. know. what. to. say.  I'd also told myself to smile normal and tame it back a bit.  Fail.

She signed my book, and as I was walking away, I told her "thank you" and that I wished God's greatest blessings over her.  Lame, I know.  The lady in line behind me had already begun making her way towards Beth so I really didn't even think Beth heard me.  

While I was herding corralling guiding my three children plus one towards the exit, I heard Beth say, "You keep on doing what God has called you to do!"  She said it in her "you know what I'm talking about, and I mean it" voice (if you've ever heard Beth teach, you know that voice!).  I really didn't think she was talking to me.  My back was to her.  I turned around anyway, and she was looking right at me.  She nodded her head at me and then quickly greeted the other lady that had already walked up to her.

You keep on doing what God has called you to do!

Huh.  

I'm so glad the children were with me because I really could've just cried right there in that store in that moment in front of everybody!  But I didn't.  Those precious children waited TWO HOURS for their mama to meet Beth Moore and get her signature.  But I know for a fact now that it really wasn't about that at all.

You keep on doing what God has called you to do! 

And, Beth, if you're reading this (who am I even kidding?!!), thank you!
   

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