Friday, August 19, 2011

Women of Faith: encouragment & growth

I've been putting off this post. Not because I don't WANT to share everything about Women of Faith with you all, but because I don't know how to put it into words. I love conferences, let me just say that. I love women's conferences! I love being around crowds of people - and even more so when they are all worshiping God with me. So,  needless to say, this was a great weekend for me!

I had never heard of 90% of the Women of Faith team - excluding Amy Grant and Lisa Whelchel (which I didn't know was her name). However, was I in for a treat! Speakers Andy Andrews, Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, Lisa Whelchel; entertainers Sandi Patty, Katherine Everrett, Mandisa, and Amy Grant all had wonderful truths planted in to my heart over the weekend. I wanted to share some of those tidbits of truth with you (sorry this may be a long post and these are not necessarily direct quotes).

Patsy Clairmont

- That mystery (the mysteriousness of God) is so nice when we run in to things bigger than us. How true! I know that even when I don't understand things or when life gets rough, God has a plan and it's good.
- the things that aren't up to par, we think we need to hide but those things can help others see God more fully in our stories and give them hope. As a mom this is so true. I've talked about it numerous times with numerous moms. We all know those women who are so put together, whose kids are so sweet and polite, and who has the prettiest house/clothes/vehicle. It's tough when Wonder Woman makes you feel like Under Dog. I try to be as real as possible (today I even confessed to a few of my MOPS friends about how, if my kids learn cuss words, it's from me. I don't mean to teach them (and so far God's earmuffs have been on my children, but I struggle with cursing).
- when you hide things, it takes so much energy that you have no time for interactions. The same is so very true for worrying/anxiety/guilt/anger. When you trust in God and truly let Him take on your burdens, life is easier, even in the midst of storms and tribulations!
- if you are loquacious or given to verbiage - in the name of Jesus Christ, shut up. Proverbs 17:28. This is me. Sometimes I just talk without listening to myself or filtering. I've become better at it but I think we all need to remember this sometimes.
- emotions don't have brains, so why let them direct us? God gave us a will that is more powerful than our emotions and allows us to do things we don't want to do or that are hard. I have a hard time with emotions. If I'm in a bad mood, I'm in a bad mood. I'm not saying (and I'm sure Patsy wasn't saying) to fake a good mood, but don't let your emotions run your life! You can choose to be joyful!

Andy Andrews

- Success is slow; failure is slow, too. These things don't just happen. Andy went on to say that we really need to be careful of what we're absorbing, even when we're not paying attention. This made me think of my children - music that they listen to, shows they watch. They may not necessarily be "bad" but are they good? Are they true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable?
- Forgiveness is a choice, not an emotion. Emotions follow choices. Forgiveness and trust are not the same! Forgiveness is about the past and about us; trust is about the future and about them.
- There is a big difference between a choice and a mistake. Mistakes are accidents and I'm sorry will cover it. With choices, a "will you forgive me?" will cover it. I have been using this carefully with my boys! I want them to know that things happen and we can't control them, but we must take responsibility for things we do control.
- Andy talked about this man, Jones, who mentored him growing up. Jones was a noticer - he noticed little things in people's lives that made a huge difference. It made me realize that Moose may have this gift! He notices inconsequential things now but I can use that bent to help him find his path.
- if you find yourself not knowing what to do, do something. God feeds the birds but He doesn't throw the worms in the nest!


Lisa Whelchel (she could totally be my best friend!)

As a SAHM she felt very isolated and alone (been there, sister) but even after having play groups, she was transparent but not vulnerable with friends. She told us lessons in friendship by sharing her mistakes (some of which, I've made myself).
*choosing a best friend - and telling them
*sharing everything with someone (who shares, also. She shares your secrets with everyone else)
*hired a friend (counselor) and learned how to be a good friend
- be grateful of what a friend gives you without any expectations; pay attention to that person's capacity for friendship
- have more than 1 friend
- be wary of how someone talks to you about others; she'll talk about you to others in that same manner
- identify safe friends (run from Wonder Woman/Supermom because there is no such thing as perfect. That's a standard she's put on herself and will hold you to)
- my favorite thing she said is this: imperfect is another word for real. Amen!

Sandi Patty

- you release weight because if you lose something, that means you want to find it. ha!
- We put labels on ourselves but God wants to peel away those labels and put His own on: lovely, enough, priceless, etc!

Marilyn Meberg

- we think our restlessness (our cravings, desires) will be satisfied here but it won't! Only God can satisfy our cravings. Something I so very needed to hear (and remember now, as we've been house searching and a deal didn't work out for a house we truly wanted). I know that I want a home here on earth but I need to keep in mind that it's not the be all end all. Heaven is a place where you have it all!


Katherine Everrett

Wonderful rendition of The Invisible Woman (found here but dramatized by Nicole Johnson).

Mandisa

So wonderful to see her praise God and worship with her. It just reminded me to have fun and take off my Shackles.

Amy Grant

I loved hearing her live. I loved hearing "Better than a Hallelujah" in person. I loved that she allowed the Spirit to move her to play a song they hadn't practiced.

Not that all of these women (and man) weren't wonderful, but know that I have more tidbits from some because they spoke more (not just to my heart but in general). I highly recommend this conference for any woman who needs strengthened, who needs a girlfriends weekend, who needs poured into. So wonderful.

One more thing to add. My family is sponsoring two children through World Vision - who had booths set up all weekend. I cannot wait to see where this takes my faith, my love - everything. We're still waiting on the name/location of one of our little ones (we requested a special needs child), but our other child is H Squirt from El Salvador. This little boy shares a name is our younger son (obviously H Squirt isn't his real name but I'd like to protect his privacy too), but also El Salvador is special to our hearts. When we worked in Virginia with foster boys, one of our sons there was from El Salvador, too. Please check out the World Vision website and pray about sponsoring a child or two of your own.

My only complaint is that the books and CDs (etc) were kind of expensive. I understand people make their livings off of these, but shoot - for the cost of a ticket, can't you have one item that you give out to people who attend? At least have a poor person's packet (they sometimes put packets together so books are "cheaper" but you're still spending more money than a box of diapers). That and parking was $8 per session (although in some lots - not the one I was in - there was $12 all day parking Friday).

Thank you so much to Book Sneeze for the wonderful seats. I had an amazing time with my best friend and my little sister. I didn't take any pictures the whole weekend - oops, but you can check out my IRL and blog friend Erin's blog for a few pictures of me and her recap of the weekend!

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