Women of Faith weekend

A few months ago I entered a giveaway for a pair of tickets to a Women of Faith conference anywhere in the US.  I was surprised to actually win, and quickly hatched up a scheme to combine the conference with a visit to my sister Bekah who lives near Sacramento.  When our husbands both agreed to our plot, I gleefully bought a plane ticket ($5 thanks to FF miles) and we began looking forward to a good visit.

Friday morning at the crack of 3:30, John and I were up so that I could get to the airport for my 5:20 AM flight.  We got out the door late—it’s hard to hurry that early! On the way to the airport I realized I’d left my camera battery home, but it was now too late to go back for it.  Yikes.   Disappointing both because of the conference and because my sister had asked me to get some family pictures while I was there.

I decided to see if we could get a battery in Sacramento, and if not, well, the pictures might have to go by the wayside this weekend.  Rebekah met me at the Sacramento airport, and from there we drove to Arco Arena where the event was being held.  She had a little anxiety about leaving her little 10-month-old Gracie for the two days of the conference, but was glad to have been able to leave Grace with her daddy.

The event center  was huge—I later heard there were 10,000 women there—a fact that I’d have to believe judging by the bathroom lines alone.  Even with most of the men’s rooms being converted to ladies’ rooms, the waits for a bathroom were LOOONG.  In a related note, did you know that men’s restrooms do not have purse hooks in the stalls?  Go figure.

Each session generally began with a few songs of praise and worship music—lots of fun.  Then there was a good variety of speakers, all  of whom were a delight.  Humorous, entertaining and insightful.

I won’t try to relay every message of every speaker, but I wanted to share some of the thoughts that are still with me after mulling over the weekend.

Patsy Clairmont encouraged us to wake up each day ready to say three things:  yes, thank you, and no.

  1. Say Yes to the gift of the new day and to wherever God’s leading you today.
  2. Thank God for what He’s given you. (A thankful woman is a beautiful woman.)
  3. Be ready to also say no.  Don’t be guilted into doing things that are time-stealers and things not on the list of priorities that God has for your life.

Avoid being misguided by emotions.  Remember- feelings don’t have brains.  With God’s strength, your mind can win out over your emotions.

We also need to guard our words.  A soft answer doesn’t only turn away the wrath of others.  It can also turn away our own wrath.  Sarcasm—so often and so flippantly used these days– is just anger in a clown suit.  It can produce momentary humor and lasting pain. Offensive words create distance in relationships and destroy the safe haven we can have in our homes.  Guarding our words keeps our home a safe haven.

When we are struggling with anger, sometimes we blame people for our misbehavior.  Really they’re just exposing the deficiencies we already have and that God is already working on.  We need to own our behavior instead of blaming it on others—and then ask God to help us make changes in how we respond to other’s difficult behaviors.

Andy Andrews spoke of the tremendous importance of teaching our children—and especially our sons– two simple things:  to shake hands well, and to smile while they are speaking.  He said that these two things will do more to promise success to our kids in life than a college degree, because they speak of a willingness to reach out and connect with people that is not always seen in young folks these days.  Teach your sons these things, and also teach them to work hard, and they will be successful in life.

Sandi Patty told the story of wanting to be a singer and a dance at Disneyland as a teen, and how disappointed she was when she was not chosen.   She felt like God had said no to the deepest dreams of her heart.  A few years later she ended up singing in the Bill Gaither band, and of course she went on to have a long and hugely successful  career as a Christian music singer in her own right. Way back in her teen years, when she’d been so sure God was saying no to her dreams, he wasn’t really saying no.  He was saying yes to a dream that she couldn’t even see yet, but that was so much greater than her first dream. Has that happened in your life?   I know it has happened in mine.

A touching story was told by Patsy Clairmont about a time when her adult son was ill and near death in the hospital.  She and her husband were desperately in need of comfort and went to a lounge to sit and pray and regroup their thoughts.  She heard singing in the distance, a hymn whose words were an enormous comfort.  She followed the sound to a bathroom.  There a woman was scrubbing the floor on her hands and knees, singing her heart out to her Savior, with no idea that her words were throwing a lifeline to some desperately hurting people.

Then and there Patsy prayed:  God that I might do my work with a full heart and a song on my lips for the joy of your heart and the good of your people.  That is my prayer as well—to be an encouragement and a life-giver with words and actions wherever I go.  I came away from this conference deeply inspired and very much renewed.

~~~

In the midst of all the conference-going  Rebekah and I also managed to visit every camera store in Sacramento, to finally find the needed camera battery/charger combination, because of course I’d left my charger home as well!  Note to anyone who lives in or near Sacramento—Pardee’s is a wonderful camera store/camera museum.   If we’d had more time, I could have spend some serious time—and money—there!

Rebekah ended up going to pick up baby Gracie part way through the afternoon on Friday– the event center had a wonderful mother-baby lounge with big screen TV’s that let you hear all the speakers.  Plus there was easy access to a balcony area where we could sit and be an actual part of the audience some of the time.   I greatly enjoyed the chance to cuddle with my little niece, since I haven’t really had much time with her til now.

Sunday morning I got to attend church with Rebekah and her family, and this afternoon as soon as I get this post up and baby Gracie wakes from her nap, she and I will be going out to rake almonds with Rebekah and her almond-farmer husband Ken, who are at the tail end of almond harvest for the year.  They are hoping to get the last of the almonds off the ground and into storage this week! I will be adding pictures to this post probably sometime on Monday Tuesday, so check back and then you can see my weekend  as well as reading about it!

{ 5 Comments }

  1. It sounds like a wonderful weekend to recharge and spend time with your sister!

    I appreciate your notes from the conference. This paragraph stuck out to me: “When we are struggling with anger, sometimes we blame people for our misbehavior. Really they’re just exposing the deficiencies we already have and that God is already working on. We need to own our behavior instead of blaming it on others—and then ask God to help us make changes in how we respond to other’s difficult behaviors.” That is something I can work on!

  2. Sounds like a great time with sister and her family.
    You questioned the men’s rooms having a purse hook on the door. My sons use the hook to hang their murse from. Also when businessmen travel it is used to hang briefcase or computer bag from. They say when they hang items on the hook, there is less liklihood of them being stolen compared to when they sit on the floor and keeps them cleaner.

  3. Feeling silly for never having really considered the origin of the almonds, I’d like to see some photos of the farm and collection process.

    Thanks for posting the notes from the conference. I’ll have to re-read them when I’m not skimming like I am now. I loved Sandi Patty’s music as a child and considering all she’s gone through since then, I would think it an interesting talk.

  4. I’ll admit I skimmed this, but I noticed what you said on sarcasm and I really agree. It has become so commonplace in our society! I’m trying to use it less with my kids because it is hurtful. And – they’re starting to use it back which is disrespectful (both ways!) and my littler ones can’t tell whether what I’m saying is real or not! That’s when I really noticed it was wrong – I’d say “great job” (or whatever) thick with sarcasm and I’d have this little face look up at me with a smile and I realized I’d given them the complete wrong impression. How confusing for them!

    I’m excited for almond pictures! Do they hand rake all of them? I thought there were machines that did that, but maybe only on really big farms?

  5. Thanks for your notes on the conference! Such good points that you shared. I dislike sarcasm alot and wish I hadn’t used it as much when I was a teen. And the 3 things to do every day is perfect. I’m glad you found the battery – looking forward to pictures, for sure. And spending time with a sister is always precious 🙂