More than likely, this post will be the first of a few posts. I have a lot to share.
This past weekend, Hannah and I attended, “Women of Faith: The Imagine Tour,” in Atlanta, GA. We had a great time together, just me and my pre-teen.
Speakers for this weekend were Sheila Walsh, Steve Arterburn, Lisa Harper, Lisa Story, Luci Swindoll, Nicole Johnson, Angie Smith, Natalie Grant, and a concert by Mary Mary. By the way, did you know their names aren’t Mary and Mary? I didn’t.
Sheila Walsh and Steve Arterburn were the featured speakers on Friday. I really appreciated all that Sheila had to share. She put more emphasis on the word of God than any of the other speakers. Over and over again, she said, “Spend time in God’s Word,” or “Just go to His Word.” Speaking of our beauty, she said, “There is nothing on this earth that will make you more beautiful than the word of God.” She also shared that she begins each day with Psalm 143:8, “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.” Doing so reminds her of his love and where she puts her trust each day. Hannah and I, as we shared our notes that evening, agreed that was one of our favorite take-aways from the day.
Steve Arterburn spoke for two sessions before the evening break. His talk focused on relationship walls, doors and boundaries. His was a very practical talk. He shared some of what he’d been through the last 6 years, specifically the pain of his divorce.
I’m not sure why, but several things he shared made me a little uncomfortable. Maybe I’m just not used to hearing a man talk like a woman. I (and 6,000 other women) know things about him that we probably wish we didn’t know. I certainly didn’t need to know of his issues with low testosterone. REALLY?! Or that he “gave up the dream of a BMW for the thrill of a BM.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
It wasn’t all ridiculous, though. Most of it I was glad to hear. He reminded me to practice contentment and gratitude. I’m also glad that my daughter heard some other things he had to share about relationships with men.
Mary Graham moderated a helpful Q & A time. Audience members asked some tough questions, and Arterburn and Walsh gave some great answers.
Here are some pictures from Friday (when I was allowed to take my camera into the arena). I’m sorry there aren’t more of the speakers, but I sat to take notes while they talked.
Saturday was a FULL day! In addition to Sheila Walsh, Nicole Johnson, Luci Swindoll, Angie Smith, Lisa Harper, and Lisa Story joined the line-up.
I’m going to be honest. As we were preparing for bed Friday night, I asked Hannah, “Do you want to sleep as late as we can or do you want me to set the alarm for 6:30?” She voted we skip the first session. I didn’t argue. I had been up since 4:30 that morning.
So, while the women in the arena were listening to Lisa Story and Lisa Harper and Sheila Walsh (again), Hannah and I were taking our time getting ready, enjoying a yummy breakfast together, and checking out of our hotel room.
Sheila Walsh. This time she tied several scriptures together to encourage us to be honest with God. It was all very good. She referenced a few Greek words and brought out one interpretation of Romans 8 that was new to me. It was insightful, and I’d like to study it more. During this session, Walsh asked some tough questions, and I’m still thinking through them.
Usually, Nicole Johnson plays a character in an original drama performance. But this year, Women of Faith attendees will be privileged to hear her as herself. Her story was quite emotionally moving as she shared how God has taken her broken life and remade it into something beautiful.
Angie Smith was hysterical. Her comedic timing and self-deprecating humor were delightful! (After Nicole and Sheila, I really needed to laugh). I also appreciated her casual, unpretentious style. But the jokes ended when she started talking about how Jesus was with her through her heart-breaking experience with daughter Audrey Caroline. Her family went through (is still going through) an intense time of suffering, but she testified that Jesus was faithful and so very close to her during it. There wasn’t a dry eye in the arena.
Luci Swindoll encouraged us to try new things, do what we love, listen to music, lean into life.
The speakers closed the conference with a 3 minute summary and visual representation of their sessions.
Hannah and I had a great weekend!