A few weekends ago I attended a Women of Faith conference. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did not want a “mountain top” weekend that I could never live up to. I did not want a lecture about all the things I do wrong with my faith. I did not need to feel like a spotlight was on me.
This being an event where Women were the speakers (with a few exceptions) and the voices of reason, this became a weekend of encouragement that I am not the only one who feels the way I feel.
I hate sermons
I hate listening to them
I hate when they are finger wagging
I hate when they take a small part of a scripture and twist it to their message (especially for stewardship)
I just sit in the Choir loft and usually read the whole chapter or book that the sermon is based on.
This weekend I listened to over 10 sermons. That is what they were. God’s message, spoken through the faithful, related to my life, and powerfully true.
Not once did I hate it.
Not once did I say, “ugh, here we go again!”
Not once did I say, “they just don’t get it.”
Not once did I see a finger wag
Not once was I on the mountain
I was in the valley with others in the valley looking for the best way to work this life to please God.
I was not on the mountain.
Several women spoke.
Some of my favorite lines are listed here:
“We aren’t going to be done with the hard stuff until we see the sweet feet of Jesus”
~ Patsy Clairmont
“God is a lovesick parent too…
We didn’t earn Gods love so we can’t loose it…
Loved kids with a lovesick father…
To your kids you are a Shade tree in a stormed world…”
“God has a ram in the bush. Trust and he will make our paths straight”
~ Thelma Wells
“Emotions do not always give you the truth
They are reliable, but they do not tell the truth…
We have to be connected that is how God created us”
~ Marilyn Meberg (I believe!)
“Lord I want to help others!” – Lucy Swindoll
“This is it” – God
This is how I was made and I don’t think any of it was a mistake.
“Crisis is a sifter letting all fall away that doesn’t matter, leaving behind treasure…
The mountain top is thin air, and you have to be still, but in the valley that is where the power is, because that is where the river runs. That is where the work is done…
Be still in the valley and let Jesus fight for you.
We are valley girls” (paraphrased as I listened in awe and tried to type)
~ Glennon Doyal Melton
These women shared life, failures, resilience, love, and hope with each of us.
I am glad I went, I am glad I stood in line, and I am glad I got to see Sandi Patti sing, with her husband and family, because her music is what I grew up singing, and loving, and helped me relate music to my faith, long before Christian radio and the popularity of “faith” in the music world.
I left feeling like I need to own my faith, love God, and trust him. Not be shamed of me or my faith or my beliefs because someone else may argue. They may be Satan trying to tempt me in my deserts of life. Or, they may be lost, and may need to see God through me to believe.
Either way… I have to be me.
That is, I have to let Him use me to do His works in this world.
and so, I did this: I had three more children.