Well, so ISNA was a blast. I loved being back in my old stomping grounds in DC. I didn't stay at the convention hotels (which was a mistake in that I wasn't immersed in the ISNA atmosphere, but which was also great because I wasn't immersed in the ISNA atmosphere and was in my DC 'home' instead), and I missed like half of the lectures and everything. The few lectures I did get into, though, hit me at the right moment with the right message. The psychologist who was a main speaker at the MSA session, 'Fighting Depression with the Light of God'. Imam Khalid Latif (I'm sure I've misspelled that, forgive me), who spoke on singlehood and the questions of a single believer and how we live that life with the words that were so right-on that I started to cry. Tears just ran down my face.
Alhamdulillah. It was the answer to a prayer.
I came very close to doing some things that I really WANTED to do, even though I knew they were things I oughtn't do. And so, because I knew that I was open and vulnerable, that I was tempted to that 'just do it' attitude, I prayed. Y'all, I prayed long and hard. I made sincere dua'a with faith that it would be answered. And above all was the fervent desire to be protected from doing what Allah does not will for me, and that my dua'a be heard and clearly answered.
Every time I go to ISNA or a similar event, I'm reminded of both my similarities and my differences. I cover, but my dress isn't modern fashionista or Arab or Desi in origin. I'm a young convert, but this is my tenth year as a Muslim (can I get an alhamdulillah?)/. I speak Spanish... but not quite so good at the Arabic, and my Urdu is practically nonexistent.
But I know. I believe. I Believe. I have been given the gift and the blessing of faith. I have been able to pray my way to obedience and to independence. Dua'a is truly my weapon, and it has ALWAYS been answered. It is the most precious blessing I have, to see the will of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala worked in my life through my family and friends and even just occurrences that might look, from the outside, like random. I know.