Last weekend, I attended the Women of Faith Conference, and brought a friend, for free. So before I divulge the details of the fun, worshipful, refreshing, and convicting weekend, I want to thank Booksneeze for partnering with Women of Faith to give bloggers the chance to go in exchange for at least two blog posts about it, one before and one after. I can tell you right now, I don't think I can fit all I learned into one post, so today I'll tell you about day one, sessions 1 and 2.
|Tara and me, being very excited about the conference about to start|
The first session started at 10:00 am. After worship and some introductions to the speakers, Patsy Clairmont took the stage. She challenged us to start every day with three words. First, with "Yes." Yes to whatever God has planned for us that day. Yes to His schedule and timing. Secondly, with "Thank you." Thank you for another day. Thank you for all of His blessings. Thank you, even during the tough things that some days will bring, because they are opportunities to glorify Him. And thirdly, "No." No to people and activities that divide our attentions from what is most important. No to Martha business, and Yes to Mary attentiveness.
|The stage |
She talked at length about our emotions. Sometimes as women, we feel enslaved to our feelings and we let them control us and dictate our behavior. Patsy said, "God has equipped us with a will that is stronger than our emotions." We can choose to listen to truth over what our emotions are screaming at us. We can choose to believe the truth of God's Word and what He says about us, and other people, regardless of how we might feel.
Patsy finished with three truths:
- Life is messy. No one has it all together. We are all broken people with messy lives in need of grace.
- People are textured. When we think we really know someone, we might be surprised. We need to realize that people may be hiding hurt or brokenness that we are unaware of, and they need our mercy and compassion.
- God's ways are mysterious. His ways are so much higher than ours, we can't understand why He does what He does a lot of the time. But we can trust His character, and believe that He does have a plan and no suffering is wasted.
We took a break for lunch, and I was pleased to discover that we didn't have to pay for lunch after all. Every one got a free boxed lunch, and the leftovers were donated to an area shelter.
|Notice the WOF label on the water bottle :D|
When we came back, Andy Andrews spoke, but I didn't take any notes, because he was kinda all over the place... literally. The entire time he talked he paced all over the stage, running up and down the stage stairs, up and down the aisles, and back and forth in front of the stage.
But basically, he told his life story. He lived a normal life until the age of 19, when his mom died of cancer and his dad died in a car crash. Soon he was homeless, and through the influence of a man named Jones, started reading autobiographies. Soon he was hooked, and while he was homeless, he read over 200 biographies. He determined a set of seven principles that guided the men and women he read about, and began implementing them in his own life. Now, he has written several novels in which the characters apply these principles, and he is a motivational speaker who encourages audiences to apply the principles to their lives.
He also talked about investing in yourself. I think it was one of his principles, but he talked about the importance of reading. Reading invests in our mind, because it increases our knowledge and wisdom. Investing in ourselves makes us a better contributor to society.
I learned a lot from session three, so I'm going to save that for another post. But at some point during session three, there was a Q and A for Patsy and Andy. The questions and their answers were so enlightening, I wrote them all down. I'll save some of them for another post, but the first question was related to the first session: "How can you make your will stronger than your emotions?"
Patsy replied, "It already is!"
She explained that many times we don't realize it, because we haven't exercised it. Our will is like a muscle, and the more we exercise it, the stronger it becomes.
Whether we are refusing a fourth piece of cake or a self-deprecating thought, our will is already stronger than our emotions, and we need to choose to use it to say no.
That session ended at 3:30, and we had a break for dinner, until Session 4 started at 7:00. Tara and I walked down to TGI Fridays, not realizing that the Diamondbacks were playing the Giants that night. We had great seats to watch the warm up!
Tara and I had a great discussion during dinner, and since we still had plenty of time before the next session, we kept talking and walking. Tara was surprisingly energetic after eating, so we spent the rest of our time walking around the block and then doing laps around the concourse. I was SO full after my wonderful meal at TGIF, I would have been perfectly content to sit in our seats for an hour and let my food turn to fat, but it was good for me to get in my exercise for the weekend!
If you go to the Women of Faith conference, I highly recommend going with a friend.
Not just because they'll encourage you to exercise, but because when you discuss the messages with someone else, you learn so much more!
I loved Friday night. Session 4 started with all of the speakers giving a short introduction. We'd already met Patsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews, and we were introduced to Mandisa, Marilyn Meburg, Sandi Patty, Lisa Whelchel, and Brenda Warner.
|Lots of People!|
Deborah Joy Winans performed a hilarious skit about all the roles we play as women.
|We sang several fun songs about being women :)|
She opened a suitcase and pulled out a prop for each character role we play, such as Wendy the Workaholic, Charlotte the Chauffeur, Linda the Love Slave, and a peppy exercise girl, accountant, soccer mom, and psychiatrist whose names I don't remember.
We were also privileged to see Tim Hawkins,
since the Phoenix event was the only one he could make. Both Tara and I laughed so hard that we almost threw up, that's how funny he was! If you need a good laugh, look him up on you tube. My favorite parts of his thing were the thesaurus prayers, bedtime prayers, and his dance to "Party in the USA." If you ever get a chance to see him live, do it!
The Women of Faith tour partners with World Vision, so we got to watch a video of a beautiful true story about an ordinary woman who decided to start sponsoring a little girl at a Women of Faith Event. This woman corresponded to this girl and then with her young mother. They were able to help this single mother start a business, send her children to school, and journey from hopelessness to hope. When World Vision gave this woman and her husband a surprise trip to visit the family, I don't think there was a dry eye in the place!
Probably my favorite part of Friday was worshiping with Mandisa. I loved her music before, and I'd been inspired by her weight loss journey and blog, but seeing her live was so much better. Her talent is mind-blowing, her joy contagious, her worshipful heart inspiring.
When I got home, I made a list of my "takeaways" for the day:
1. Say "Will you forgive me," more often.
2. Plan to invest in my personal growth.
3. Face my fears to overcome them.
4. Realize that all my choices and actions matter.
5. Realize that Brian and I are both broken, and I must take responsibility for myself.
6. I need to build Brian up more, making a conscious effort.
7. I will pray about when God wants us to have children.
8. Write to sponsor child.
Over the next few days, I'll tell you more about how I came to those conclusions.
To end today's post, what do you think about saying Yes, Thank you, and No every day? How would your life be different?
Have you used the Refuse, Replace, and Repeat strategy before? Do you believe that your will is stronger than your emotions? Why is it hard to exercise our will and not obey our emotions?
Do you invest in yourself? Why or why not?
Labels: Faith, healing, health, investing in self, Mandisa, Mental boundaries, Overcoming Fear, Patsy Clairmont, Spiritual Growth, Women of Faith Conference, Worship