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Deeply Rooted Mag Goes to the Pursuit 31 Conference

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Words by Dianne Jago // Images by Desirea Still

I had an opportunity to attend the Pursuit 31 Conference this year and represent Deeply Rooted at the awesome vendor market they had. I knew this was a conference for Christian creatives desiring to use their gifts for the glory of God. I knew I wanted to spread the word about our magazine and direct women to an awesome resource they could bring home with them. But I didn't know how much God would use this conference to pull layers from my heart and draw me closer to Him.
The conference is held at Winshape Retreat in Rome, Georgia, every year. It's a bit off the beaten path, but this makes it a place with zero distractions. The on-campus rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the food is wonderful. (Did I mention that the founder of Winshape was also the founder of Chick-fil-A? The food was tasty!)

This was our booth at the vendor market. It's always so neat when you can see a product in person and we were grateful for the opportunity to showcase our products alongside some other really awesome vendors.

Everything about this conference is focused on cultivating a space for attendees to grow in their walk with God alongside other sisters in Christ. Karen Stott, the founder, opened the conference by saying something to the effect of, "I have a secret. This conference isn't just about photography. It's about Jesus." Though there were a lot of opportunities to refine photography skills or learn about building a profitable blog, the underlying theme was building a heavenly kingdom rather than focusing on our kingdoms here on earth. 

There was such a wide variety of session topics, but they all tied back to the same message: above anything else in this world, there is joy to be found in Christ. Renowned photographer Mary Marantz was so transparent and talked about removing the lies that have a hold on us. Popular Disney blogger Casey Wiegand shared her beautiful testimony about how dependence on God has led her to where she is. Another well-known photographer, Katelyn James, passionately spoke about how above everything else we are called to reflect Christ in all that we do, and Bianca Oltroff, chief storyteller of the A21 Campaign, exhorted us to keep running the race for the glory of God. Throughout each day there were several speakers to hear from, several times of prayer and worship, breakout classes to study topics with in a more intimate setting, and small groups at the end of the night to get to know other women at the retreat. 

There were outdoor dinners, fabulous giveaways, styled shoots, nightly bonfires, s'mores galore, unlimited coffee, the list goes on and on. There was beauty, there was comfort, but beyond all of that there was depth. The women making this conference happen really have a heart to draw women closer to God, and they do a fabulous job providing an environment of making that happen.

I walked into this conference with the expectation of directing attendees to our magazine and sharing an awesome resource with women, and I left this conference transformed. It was great meeting people and introducing them to our magazine, but it was awesome watching God do a work in the hearts of every woman that attended. I encourage you to check out the Pursuit community through their Facebook page and Instagram feed. You can also purchase your 2015 Pursuit Conference ticket. (Act quickly because they are already sold out of on-campus tickets.)

Lastly, this video by Tre Creative does a beautiful job summarizing the experience with Pursuit. It is such a good watch. (You can spot me and our vendor booth at 3:07.)