Monday, September 12, 2011

peace in the storm: women of faith 2011

on our way back from atlanta, i read the awful news that in indianapolis a stage had collapsed at the state fair and killed several.
my heart ached for my home state
and the following week, Women of Faith was there.

the following week, hurricanes threatened
and in the midst of the storms
Women of Faith was in D.C.

this weekend marked the 10th anniversary of one of the darkest days our nation has ever seen
and in Philly, one of the sites of tragedy
Women of Faith gathered

at first, i was annoyed at myself for not writing up our trip to WoF right away when i got back.

after all, it was an amazing time
great worship
powerful, powerful speakers
and so.many.nuggets to take home from each session

but when the hurricane threatened the east coast and i realized that WoF was basically following catastrophe
i realized there was a pattern

there is NO WAY the people who create the schedule could have planned it this way
it has to be completely Spirit-inspired, God-breathed

because the message of WoF this year
is that GOD.IS.THERE
in the midst of whatever storm you face

it seems to me that it is NO accident
that the circuit they are riding is one where tragedy or storm has hit so close to home...recently.

one of the most powerful sessions to me was Shelia Walsh on friday afternoon, as she said over and over the words of Christ:
"in this world, you WILL have trouble"

i seriously wish i could have written out every powerful statement uttered by each person

from Angie Smith's beautiful story
to Lisa Harper's refreshing honesty
to Nicole Johnson's poignant vulnerability
and Luci Swindoll's amazing presence
to Shelia Walsh's cheeky and glorious presentation

as we got in the car to head home on saturday night
my future mother in law looked at me and said
"there isn't a single moment of that conference that wasn't amazing."

and she was right.
i've collected some nuggets here for you
but i would highly, highly encourage you
to GO
this year, if you can
(because it is POWERFUL, ladies)
but if not,
join me next year
because as soon as this wedding is out of the way?
i'm signing up with the first "spending money" i get

from fridays early sessions

"the safest place to be is where Jesus is"
"He's got a bigger miracle for you than the one you've asked Him for"
- Sheila Walsh

"we have the same power of the Holy Spirit to do supernatural things as Jesus did."
- Steve Arterburn (the *male* founder of WoF) -- i believe this is the statement that made me tweet 'come ON, preach it!'

(clearly friday was *powerful* and what i've written here doesn't even begin to do it justice.  so many moments of realizing just how awesome and powerful our God is!)

and from saturday
peace is not the absence of trouble. peace is the Presence of Christ - Sheila Walsh

If you're going through a tough time, it's not because God's mad at you - Laura Story

in a session where she shared a fairly amazing story about an Angelic visitation and some of her darkest days
"we're walking right into your biggest fear, but I AM coming with you..."
"the Shepherd knows where to find you" 
"you don't clean yourself up to come to your Father"- Sheila Walsh

sharing her story and making us all simultaneously laugh and cry:
nothing in God's economy is ever wasted
The Lord says I can't get you out but I can sit here with you. - Nicole Johnson

(see what i mean? hearing the stories of storms that these women have gone through and how God alone has worked miraculous things through them...well, that's something we can ALL get hope from)

and bringing grace, dignity and beauty to the stage (even in sickness!)
if you enjoy it, you DO improve the world - Luci Swindoll



Brooke said...

sounds incredible!! :)

I had a God thing happen today and I just had to share it with you. :) I've been praying over 2 separate things: that I might have compassion for the poor & that I might use the gifts God has given me to help others.

guess what i just "happened" to discover? habitat for humanity needs budget counselors! God's been teaching me (slowly) that I'm not better with money than others because I'm better - I've just been given more to work with.

i'm so excited about the prospect of giving those same resources to others!!!

Amanda said...

Popped over from your year-end recap. That's amazing how their route coincided with such need! I was gifted free tickets to WoF Over the Top this past October and it was unbelievable. I'm hooked.