On Being Relevant

photo by Beth Kanter

It has been a year since I first heard about the Relevant conference. It was one of those events that you read about and your heart leaps, the kind of thing that just feels like a fit. I wanted to go. These were my kind of people. I waited eagerly for the information to be released on the 2011 dates, thinking perhaps by then my writing endeavors would be such that I could justify the expense of traveling from Texas to Pennsylvania.

My heart leap turned to a heart thud when the dates came out. The first day was our daughter's tenth birthday. After a moment of disappointment I let go and lived on. I really didn't think much about it after that. I understood it was not for me. Sometimes God makes things simple.

One day in September, a week or so after the fire, I was driving around town, doing errands and answering my children's questions about the changes in our community. In the midst of talking about the fire relief efforts, the word relevant came into my mind.

I thought of the conference, and the blogging friends who I knew were going, and almost immediately those faces were replaced by the faces of friends here who have lost so much. Again confirmation.


The word echoed in my brain.

Relevant means "pertaining to the matter at hand."  And I ask myself, what is the matter at hand in my life?

I love this, love that God knew long ago that where I was going to be relevant in late October 2011 was at home with my birthday girl.

At home where I could still go to our Homeschool Distribution Center. Where I could talk with friends who are fire survivors and continue to find ways to replace the books they lost, and just listen.

At home to pray with my husband as he makes important decisions.

At home to see my youngest ride a bike without training wheels for the first time....

... and be on the receiving end of this victory hug....

Being relevant means being present to the need for now. It means paying attention to where I am.

And living in the right-now means I don't make rules about the future. Maybe some day I will go to a blogging conference. Maybe not. If I am going to live a relevant life, I have to be open to what is most needful at that moment, when it comes.

Alas, I am not only not able to see into the future, but also am woefully inept at making decisions for right now, so I really only one have one option: to seek God constantly. To dwell in His presence.

Only by living in His will can I ever be truly relevant.


  1. "Being relevant means being present to the need for now." Love this definition! You are a wise mama!

  2. You're making me cry, Patti. This was my first year to hear of the conference. Looking at the speakers and topics, I feel like I missed out by not being there.

    But my relevant needs of the moment are at home too. I had a friend whose dad died Friday night, and he came over Saturday to tap into my "writing skills" (ha) to help him write the obituary for his father.

    Could I have done anything more relevant than that this weekend? God knows. He always knows.

    And He knows if we're supposed to be at the conference next year or not! :-)

    And He knows how to send us the uplifting messages that our friends heard at the conference--they will get the word out to us, the exact things we need to hear.

    Isn't it wonderful to have such a God like we have? I'm overwhelmed.

  3. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thanks for this one.

  4. I love that you put your daughter first :) You have a sweet looking family!

  5. Your words have made me smile this morning Patti, thank you.

  6. Your post totally fits your blog title! Thank you for the reminder to dwell in the Lord and enjoy where He has you right now.


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