Diamonds 2022: Connecting With Others That Understand
The Diamonds 2022 Conference happened this last weekend. Like other conferences before, I opened my laptop, kept a journal nearby, and took time to pray. I knew this online event would be encouraging and helpful to those living in pain. It would be a weekend filled with sessions, prayer, worship, and a time to share and connect. The theme this year was "connected." Last year, I had only been an attendee. That is until yesterday.
I spoke for the first time with Diamonds. I shared my struggles of chronic pain, disability, and loneliness. Then how I found a community of others that understood. If someone were to tell me as a young teenager that God would someday use my story through public speaking, I probably would have denied it. After all, I grew up a quiet and introverted young girl. The very thought of speaking at a conference had never been something I pictured myself doing.
But, in this last year, I have learned God can use in our lives in unexpected ways. He has brought me on a journey of sharing and being open about my pain. I'm filled with comfort, knowing that my pain is for a purpose. I only hope to use my words to represent God's grace and faithfulness. As I continue to battle through pain, I want to bring encouragement to you and others.
One of the passages I shared in my Diamonds session came from Isaiah 43:2. This is a reminder that no matter the pain you are facing at this moment, the Lord will walk alongside you. You will never be alone. There is no end to His grace and mercy.
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they'll not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
I'm so blessed to have ended this month by listening to beautiful messages of encouragement and hope. Sharing part of my story was only a small piece of this event. There were messages on friendships, connection, and clinging onto God's truth even in suffering. I am excited to see how this community continues to grow in the future.