Women of Faith hit Philadelphia this weekend, and I couldn’t have been more blessed by the timing of this conference. School had just started back up for me, and I was feeling empty. Physically, mentally and mostly spiritually. I can make excuses all I want but to be honest, I wasn’t putting time into my relationship with Christ. I have been solely focused on my job, my schoolwork, reconnecting with old friends, and it was causing me to slip into old habits.
My mother works for this company so let’s just say I know the ropes, I have gone to these conferences several times before, I hear about them at the dinner table, and on the phone when I’m at school. I’ve seen the ins and outs of this, so going into it this conference almost felt routine to me. But it wasn’t. My mom traveled to me to see Women of Faith, it was in my city. A city have I claimed my home now since I fell in love last January. I had never been to this event, never been with this group of people (My roommate and her family, as well as a close friend). This was different and I couldn’t have been more excited.
Here are a Few things I learned from this weekend:
1. I need to make peace with my thighs. Anita Renfroe, a fabulous comedian sang a hilarious song about making peace with the most hated part of a women’s body. It’s so true, we have to stop pointing out what we don’t like about ourselves. So in honor of this event I bought a pair of pants.
2. Make the next right step. If you want to make the next change in your life, you just have to ask God to help you make the next right step. Sometimes we make things entirely too complicated because we are so focused on the end result we are seeking and we miss steps 1-99. Each step in the right direction makes a huge difference.
3. Shame doesn’t define you. Since I have been being honest I will say this. I let my past haunt me. I carry my shame around with me because its all I know. Sheila Walsh spoke on shame and how it can paralyze you. She said that we are “happy to help others out of their dungeons just to go back and lock ourselves in ours”. It is so true. God doesn’t look at you and see shame. He sees the person you are becoming, the person he made you to be. Let the past be.
4. Forgiveness. Matthew West shared a gut wrenching story about the power of God’s forgiveness during his concert. It tore me apart because if this woman could forgive the man that killed her daughter how can I hold a grudge against a friend from years ago who betrayed me? God, is the jury and the judge, and he has called us to forgive, even our worst enemy. It is hard. But by the looks of it, it’s completely rewarding.
5. Don’t go to God because you want what you think He can give you. In the mist of bad circumstances, don’t lose hope in the goodness of God. He didn’t promise constant ease and happiness. Don’t lose hope when you pray for something and it doesn’t happen. That doesn’t mean God isn’t working, as long as you are on this earth his work in your life will not end.
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6.Run, if your massage therapist leads you to a yurt. (Ask Lisa Harper).
7. The Devil on his best day can’t take you out on your worst day. YOU ARE STILL HERE. Armor up. This is a spiritual battlefield. God is your shield. Miracles are possible because everything is possible with God.
8. Be beautiful and intelligent, and quickly get off that donkey. There’s a story in 1st Samuel 25 about a woman who listened for the word of the Lord, Abigail, and responded. I highly suggest reading the entire story (let’s just say its a good one.) We have to be swift in our responses to the opportunities God gives us. But before we do that, we have to be intelligent and listen for those opportunities. And her swiftness off that Donkey got her the man.
9. Be Silly. Let loose, stop worrying about what people think.
10. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. That really encompasses it all doesn’t it? There is no shame in love. There is no condemnation in love. The devil cannot be in love. There is not hurt in love. There is forgiveness in love. There is peace in love. There is hope in love. God is love.
After this conference, I had the pleasure of visiting a youth group from the Week of Hope camp I was involved with this summer. It was a blessing to go to their church and surprise them. Love on them, and truly see how God can bring His people together.
What a blessing to know such amazing individuals!
This weekend was truly a whirlwind, and I am going into this semester Revived, and ready for the highs and lows that come ahead. I feel firmly planted in the plan God has for me, and rejuvenated in the Spirit. God is good. God is so good.
To check out what Women of Faith is about click here