Tuesday, March 6, 2012

PAO Conference

The last weekend in February Patrick and I were in Orlando, Florida for the Professional Athletes Outreach Conference. Patrick and I had first heard of PAO 2 years ago, way back when he was still with the Steelers. We opted to not go to the conference then because we were just dating and didn't know if it were appropriate to go if we weren't married. Only now do I know it totally would have been, and so badly wish we would have went! Last year we were singing a far different tune and couldn't attend because we were so busy with our wedding being just three weeks away. In reality, we could have really used an extra dose of Jesus in our lives then with all the stress going on with the wedding. But bygones are bygones...what matters most now is that we finally made it and we will do everything in our power to never miss again! WOW! What a weekend! Patrick and I learned so much about how to live out our lives as Christians...it was awesome! 

The weekend consisted of a series of preachings from some pretty big time preachers. I didn't know who they were prior, but I know who they are now and their words will forever resonate in me. The most influential speaker to me was Dr. Tony Evans. This man has the ability to take one small verse (Psalm 128) from the Bible and bring so much truth out of it and literally open the eyes and hearts of all those listening. He spoke on this one verse not once, not twice but three times and each time I learned more and more. It was like he was peeling back the layers of an onion. Never was it repetitive, but always revealing more and more truth.

Dr. Evans taught us all something that is so crucial, and that is the fact that a change starts with each and every one of us as an individual. If I'm in the right place and living a God centered life then Patrick will be more likely to be doing the same, and vice versa. When we have children, they will see this example we have set for them and learn from us and carry that out in their lives and continue this chain onto their mates and children. If we all made the decision to change and put God at the center, just think of the kind of world we would be living in. Pretty awesome thought right?! One of the lines of the verse says "Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, and your children like olive plants around your table. " Dr. Evans explained that an olive plant becomes an olive tree over the course of 15 years and if that plant/tree is nurtured correctly it will produce olives for over 2,000 years. Relate this to us and our children and think about the legacy you could be leaving behind...pretty amazing right?!

The conference wasn't all heavy though, there were a lot of light moments that brought laughter to all and one of those moments was when Christian comedian Marcus D. Wiley took the stage. I found this one clip on youtube that got us all laughing pretty hard...

During the afternoons there were breakout sessions where attendees could choose which lecture they wanted to go to. There were sessions on reading the bible effectively, managing finances, touchy subjects in parenting exc. On the first day Patrick and I split up and he went to one on tackling conflict in a relationship while I learned about how to forgive in life. We then shared our newly gained info with each other. On the second day we opted to stick together and went to the workshop on different personality types. We learned that we aren't exactly polar opposites...but are different enough...It was interesting!

There was also an awesome group of singers at the conference, one of which was William McDowell. He is currently up for a Dove Award for his hit song "I Give Myself Away"...Do yourself a favor and listen to this beautiful song and let it challenge you to live out the words! We are all so guilty of saying "This is mine" in life, but really it's all HIS! We are all His! We are all so guilty of living a "Me Centered Life" instead of a God Centered Life...admit it, you know it's true. I loved hearing this song each day...beautiful message and truly inspiring...

At the end of the weekend the sacrament of Baptism was offered as a public sign of fellowship and three of Patrick's teammates and their wives/fiancee received the sacrament. It was awesome to watch and be a part of!

The entire weekend was just such a blessing. I feel so renewed in my faith and so close to the Lord. I know it will take effort to sustain the closeness, and I'm prepared to do so. A relationship with the Lord is like any other relationship in life, it takes effort to keep strengthening it, and it takes time spent together to grow closer. Cherry on top is that He always forgives :-) How sweet is that?! I'm so excited and proud to have "given myself away" and I can't wait to see how He uses me in His works! 


  1. What personality type did you guys find out you have? I'm an INFJ! :)

  2. Glory to God! I have goosebumps. Keep running the race with endurance and perseverance. Love you guys.

  3. that's so awesome Maggie! Miss you guys and hope to get to spend time with you soon!