Book Sneeze and our family who let us stay with them on Friday night. Of course we had an amazing time, and I'm actually hoping to have some future posts featuring books from the speakers (my favorites were Angie Smith and Lisa Harper). Here's a recap of the weekend:
Of course we got off to a late start, but it really wasn't our faults - Sugar Bear had to work half a day on Friday to make up for time off. So we missed the first two sessions, but we made it in time for the third and got to hear Sheila Walsh talk about forgiveness. Then we had a three hour break, so we headed off to Ikea where we were in such awe that we bought almost nothing, but had an amazing time shopping and eating way too many meatballs.
The next session we attended was Lisa Harper's - she gave a beautiful reimagined telling of the story of the adulterous woman who was brought before Jesus to be stoned - a woman who had been betrayed and abandoned and whose heart was breaking - not just a sinful woman. But Lisa also pointed out that many of us have stones in our hands ready to throw as well. It went well with my post below on Small Town Sinners - there are people at the church we left that I have to confess I have been ready to stone - at least verbally. I think hearing Lisa's message really helped me realize how much I need to lay those stones down.
After Lisa's talk, there was a concert by Natalie Grant, which I was looking forward to - Natalie Grant is one of my favorite Christian musicians - if you haven't heard her sing "Held", you need to listen immediately. It's one of my all time favorite songs. Unfortunately, I had a terrible migraine and we ended up leaving before the concert. Sugar Bear drove us to our aunt and uncle's house where I pretty much immediately crashed.
Saturday morning we got up bright and early and headed back to Philips Arena. Angie Smith gave her testimony (which is amazing) and was hilarious. Sugar Bear and I both loved her message and her personality. When Angie was pregnant with her third daughter, she was told by doctors that the child was incompatible with life and that the pregnancy should be terminated. Angie and her husband chose to carry the child anyway. The baby only lived two and half hours and Angie's testimony of God's presence during that time is amazing.
We also got to hear from Luci Swindoll, who is wonderful. She talked about creativity and the arts, which is a topic that I think it's really easy for Christians to forget about. She also talked about contentment and joy in every moment - I LOVED that! One of my major problems with women's events is that many times I feel like women get together to talk about how awful being a woman is. How hard marriage and motherhood and working and life is and how it's so difficult to be a woman. I don't know about motherhood, but what I want to hear is that life can be good - not that we need to just lean on Christ to make it through each day (although of course that is true) and know that things will be better in heaven (also true) but that things can also be good here on earth and that we can enjoy God's creation. I want to hear encouragement that being a woman can mean embracing life, not that it's just about suffering through each miserable day as an indentured servant to our husbands and children.
Saturday also included presentations from Nicole Johnson, who is hilarious, and a concert by Mary Mary. I'm not gonna lie, Mary Mary isn't typically my thing. I'm much more of a Natalie Grant fan, but we really enjoyed the concert. It was amazing to see so many women filling the arena and praising God, dancing, and having a good time. And while I didn't recognize most of the songs, they did perform the one song that I do love - Shackles (Praise You).
So there you have it - the wonderful sister time Sugar Bear and I got to enjoy, plus some insight into what God's doing in my life right now. I really encourage you guys to look into the conference locations and check them out if one will be near you! It made for lots of laughter and some tears and a really good time of spiritual refreshment.