Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Women of Faith

Women of Faith Imagine

Last Weekend I had the priviledge of attending Women of Faith's Imagine conference. By far, receiving free tickets in exchange for a review on my blog is the best thing that has happened to me since blogging. I would probably have written about the conference anyway. It is my 9th or 10th conference and I have never left disappointed. Each year I walked away blessed, encouraged, and challenged. It is truly a refreshing weekend.

I won't blog at length on the notes from each of the speaking sessions. I will say I was really blessed by these women's authenticity. These women are on the stage with a story to share not because they are perfect or have led perfect lives, but because they have found a deep intimate relationship with God having walked through darkness and pain. We all like to escape pain, but even in my own life if I really look back through my most meaningful moments, many of them have been wrought with struggle, grief or pain.

It is good to know God uses our pain, our losses, and our mistakes for his glory. It is good to know that what Satan means for evil GOD redeems and means for our good.

I could literally give take aways from each session and I feel overwhelmed with where to begin. It was just that good. I guess Sheila Walsh's story is the one really stuck out to me. She lived her life afraid of ending up in a psych ward like her father. She lived her life trying to be perfect because she didn't want to disappoint God as she felt she had her earthly father. Her perfectionism led to isolation and ultimately to her greatest fear actualizing. She had a mental breakdown on national TV and ended up in a psych ward. Talking of that she said, she felt God say that yes, she would walk through the gates of hell, but that he would walk with her. She was scared and she was alone. It was 3am in the psych unit and she was awake. It was at 3am a man she believes to be an angel visited her and simply placed a stuffed lamb in her arms and said, "Sheila the shepherd knows where to find you."

Profound- he knows where to find us, even when we are surrounded by pitch black darkness. He will leave the 99 and find us. When he finds us he doesn't chastise us for wandering off or for getting lost, he "gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart" (Isaiah 40:11).
I ordered a stuffed lamb off amazon and am delivering them to a couple ladies that attended with me. Life is hard. Sometimes it is scary and I cannot guarantee that I won't face my greatest fears no matter how hard I fight for control and safety. It is a blessing to know that if God allows those greatest fears to be actualized, he will walk with me, he knows where to find ME even if I can't see him.

Seriously, if you get a chance to go to a women of faith event- take it. You will be blessed. The music is great, the speakers are authentic and real...and as an added bonus they all have a nice sense of humor;) I love that the speak to women in all stages of life, whether single or married, moms or not moms. They speak to women's hearts and help us push on to live a life God intends for us. It is not a life we envision or plan, no indeed it is far better than we could ever imagine.

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