12 August 2007

Women of Faith Amazing Freedom Conference

Women of Faith Weekend!

What more can you say?... If you've been before, you know what I'm talking about - if you've never experienced it, you cannot begin to imagine it!
We attended last year for the first time and made sure to go again this year, and we have not been disappointed. As a matter of fact, just when you think it doesn't get any better? ...it does!
This year, we were blessed enough here in Atlanta, to have the world-renowned Beth Moore speak for our pre-conference. And that unto itself was worth every penny spent for the entire conference. There is just simply none other like Beth Moore. She spoke Friday from about 9:00 'till 3:30. It was an amazing day with her. She chose 2 Corinthians 1:3-10 to focus on.

God Offers Comfort to All

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters,
about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.

She explained that it is better for us to find comfort in the arms of our Father (Divine Comfort) than search for our comfort in earthly things or people. He's the only One Who can fill that need for us completely. He longs to give us comfort, so that we may then, pass along that comfort to others. In other words, you will suffer in this life, but as Christians you will never have to suffer in vain. And in our troubles, we will get to realize just how real He really is.

Friday evening, we came back to the conference for the start of the actual Women of Faith conference. First, Nicole C. Mullen (my new favorite now!) kicked us off with some awesome praise and worship. And then Patsy Clairmont got us warmed up for the speakers. A woman who once suffered tremendously from Agoriphobia, who now speaks to MILLIONS every year and is the spunkiest, most out-going of them all! A living testimony indeed.
The next morning, after some more praise and worhsip, we were welcomed by dramatist Nicole Johnson. We missed her last year, so it was good to get to see her this year. Truly gifted in bringing the scripture to life, and entertaining as well.
After Nicole, was Denise Jackson - wife of country singer Alan Jackson. She was interviewed and spoke to the hardships that she and Alan have been up against and come through by surrending their lives to God.
Ending out that session was my beloved Sheila Walsh. Even after all the wonderful speakers and performers this weekend, I believe she's still my favorite. She went through so much at a young age, and now today, she fills others with the hope and comfort that she's experienced over the years.
After break, we got to come back to the most hilarious woman I have ever seen or heard! Anita Renfroe. Author of "Purse-driven Life" and "If You Can't Lose it, Decorate It", Anita was once a pastor's wife and is now a well-known Christian Comedianne. You just have to see her to know how funny she is... she had us all laughing 'till we cried!
Thirty minutes later, in true woman-style, we were crying sadly along with Carol Kent, whose only son is sentenced in a Florida penitentiary for life with no chance of parole. Unimaginable for any mother, I'm sure. And yet, she holds onto her faith more strongly now than ever before. In fact, she's been told that their family inpsires many in the prison every week when they visit and are seen praying together and actually laughing together.
After lunch was Marilyn Meberg. One of the veteran Women of Faith speakers. She's seasoned. She's wise. She's funny. One of my favorite books, as a matter of fact has been "God at Your Wit's End" by Marilyn.
Then, that afternoon, after yet another break and more good praise and worship by Nicole C. Mullen, we got an encore performance by Nicole Johnson. And then wrapped up with the one and only Luci Swindoll. One of the other veteran speakers, Luci is Charles Swindoll's (Chuck, as she calls him) sister. She is very well-rounded, quite talented, and EXTREMELY down to earth! As she says, when life gets tough just "show up and shut up". :) She said she got that from her brother, but it is definitely in keeping with her personality! She's a riot.
So, as you can well imagine, we had a truly amazing time this weekend. I just wish everyone I know could've experienced it... but there's always NEXT YEAR! And if you've never been, I strongly encourage you to check it out next time. It's a weekend you won't soon forget.

To give you an idea of the conference, here's what Sheila had to say, in part:

"I always find it very inspiring to see every seat taken and every woman joining in to worship God. This year Luci ends her talk with a story about...well I won't give it away as we might not have visited your city yet but it is one of the funniest stories I have ever heard. What makes it even funnier is that Luci can hardly tell it for laughing. On Saturday she had to hold onto a pole at the edge of the stage to stop herself from falling over. I looked around at the crowd many of whom had tears rolling down their cheeks from laughing so hard. I saw my friend who is in a wheelchair and facing fresh health challenges. I saw the young Mom I had talked with on Friday whose baby girl was stillborn four weeks ago. All across the arena there was pain and heartache and yet for just a few moments everyone was able to receive the healing gift of laughter. It is so good to be able to laugh. I thought of the Psalmist's words in Psalm 126:2: Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, 'The LORD has done great things for them.' "

~AMEN!

6 comments:

Lyndy said...

Oh my goodness it ALL sounds so wonderful. I have never been before but must make plans for next year. Sounds like you had a truly blessed time.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Hugs, Lyndy

Dianne said...

I am SOOOOOOOOOO jealous! I've never been to this but would love to go. A group of women from my church went, but my mom's birthday was Friday and she was in town Friday and Saturday, so I had to do that. I would have loved to have gone though! I have been to hear Beth Moore when she's been here before and she is absolutely fantastic. I was so motivated and excited when I left her conference. Just phenomenal. I've not heard any of the other speakers you mentioned, but it sounds fabulous and I need to try to go next year! Great post...thanks!

Mom said...

You put it all so well. I enjoyed it again this year, too, but I think I got more "take out" this year. I'm still on a high! What true disciples these women are!! They are living the word of God by blessing sooo many others through the blessings they have received.

Anonymous said...

Wow-what a great summary. I have been trying to share the experience with my family and now I am going to let them read this, too, to see what I am trying to say! It was great being there with all of you and I can't wait till next year! Mellie

jodi said...

I'm glad you wrote all that so now I don't have to. Where is my little linky button...

:)

Michele said...

WoW! Great post Jessica! It was a great weekend. Thanks for letting me tag along! Next time I will stay awake for the Chinese!