My daughter and I had an interesting conversation earlier this week. It centered on a conflict she found herself in over her church’s encouragement of the women to attend Women of Faith and her realization that in this season of life she needs people who will offer her more Scripture and insight into God’s Word.
Women of Faith is an amazing ministry event for women of all ages. I’ve attended one two-day event in the last decade, and find that the time of year the event rolls around is often a strong deterrent to attending the conference. My one experience with them prior to this year prompted me to purchase a membership and sign the women of our church up for another conference the year that God moved us from that small Baptist community to the much larger non-denominational Gateway Church. I did not attend the conference that year – giving my ticket to a friend who had received a diagnosis of breast cancer just months before our departure.
My daughter shared that she was conflicted about attending when she wanted to also attend a young women’s retreat offered at the same time of year through Gateway Church. When I asked her why she did not want to attend Women of Faith, she shared how she was interested in growing deeper in God’s Word and the flavor of the Women of Faith speakers seemed to be more testimonial than teaching on Scripture. I was impressed with this young woman’s heart, who yearns for the deep things of God and understood her concern.
I encouraged her to do what would be most beneficial to her. Then an unexpected blessing came my way in the form of a VIP pass to the Women of Faith One Day event this weekend in Dallas. I attended the power packed seven hour event and found myself blown away. Angie Smith, Christine Caine and Andy Andrews shared deeply insightful messages packed with Scripture and a strong prompting to allow God to transform your heart and mind, heal your pain and wounds from the past and move forward into your destiny and calling. Each speaker complimented the one before and the message resounded with the hearts of the women attending today.
To top it off, on the way to the auditorium, I missed my exit for 75 and ended up taking a detour driving in circles around Deep Ellum for 20 minutes trying to find my way to the Southern Methodist University campus where the event was being held. Before I got lost I was talking to God about the day when I asked, “God, would you save me a seat on the front row? Not because I deserve it more than anyone else, but just to let me know you are with me today and you have something special in mind just for me.”
When I arrived, women were packed in the foyer of the small auditorium facility. I was running a few minutes behind the doors opening which had not been my plan at all. But, still I knew I would sit in a good seat.
I found my way down a side aisle to the front and asked an usher, “Where is the VIP section?”
She smiled and said, “Anything that is not reserved in the first five rows.”
I walked down the third row to near the center of the auditorium and sat my things down in the last of four open seats in the second before the “Reserved for Staff” signs began.
God had saved me this seat. To my surprise, when the music for worship started the speakers walked in and I found myself directly behind Christine Caine, Angie Smith and Andy Andrews. 🙂
God is really sweet, isn’t he? During one of the breaks I had the opportunity to visit with a top level woman on the Women of Faith team and she asked me to make sure to connect with her.
There was this moment, during the conference, when Angie Smith asked all the mothers who had lost children to stand up. I would say a little more than a third of the women rose to their feet at that moment. She honored us in such a precious way and God really came down and ministered to some deeply wounded hearts at that moment. When we were sitting down, Angie was acknowledging how she had prayed for us and the word she heard from the Lord was “Mercy.”
As we sat, a woman visibly grieving and weeping cried out something to Angie that undid us all. We would later learn she called out, “My daughter’s name was Mercy.”
I ran into that sweet woman during the break and asked her if she was the one who cried out. She said yes and shared that her loss had only been a month prior. My heart ached for her as I felt the pain wash over me that she must have felt. I hugged her tight and told her I would keep praying for her as I felt the pain she was expressing in my own heart. And for God to so sweetly affirm that He knew what she was feeling by sharing her daughter’s name with Angie. Oh Lord, Your mercies truly are new every morning.
I heard another story of a mother who had lost a 2 year old daughter and the ministry that had been born out of her loss. Blessings and Butterflies. I realized that the Lord had ministered to a few of my bereaved friends through this woman’s ministry while I was attending a local support group during the first few years of my grief journey. How amazingly small our world really is simply amazes me.
Well, I don’t know if there is more that I can share except – if YOU have the chance to attend one – It is worth the price of admission. I didn’t have to pay it but gladly will next year. Visit their website: www.womenoffaith.com to learn more about these One Day events and when they will be coming to a city near you!