Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thoughts on Women of Faith © 2011

Women of Faith. What does that mean? How do we come to fall into that category? Hmm, fall into a category, that’s an interesting concept, but it doesn’t apply here. Being a woman is part of who we are, part of our assignment from God. Faith is a choice and not something we fall in to.

In this case, ‘Women of Faith is a Christian women’s organization that has been holding non-denominational conferences at various locations around North America since 1996’ at least that is how it is defined according to Wikipedia. But in my experience it is so much more. Attending a Women of Faith (WOF) conference cannot be narrowed down to a simple definition. It is an experience. It is true that part of WOF is the whole ‘getting there’ dilemma. Can we take the time? Will the family survive? What about the expense? Should we stay in a hotel? Who we will go with and on and on. It is no small task to actually get a woman to step out and attend a conference designed solely for her, for 2 entire days. But, when everything falls into place and the WOF experience begins, you will never forget it.

I attend the WOF conference in Hartford, CT. This is significant for two reasons: 1) it is close to my home and 2) it is the closing conference for the season and that makes it really special. This year’s WOF conference had something for everyone. Comedy, drama, psychology, science, music, and of course worship and testimonies. From Shelia Walsh’s poignant bible study and testimony to Ken Davis’ outrageous comedy I cried and laughed until I was near dehydration. As a scientist by education I truly appreciated Dr. Henry Cloud’s presentation of the Law of Happiness and how the science behind happy people so closely follows the reality of Christian teaching. One could say that God’s law is the key to happiness. But we all knew that didn’t we?

One of the favorite things I enjoy about WOF is not only the opportunity to connect with nearly 9,000 women in worship which brings glory to my heavenly Father, but also the obvious connection between the WOF team. As these women share their hearts, their brokenness and their encouragement with the audience, we can observe not only how their stories affect those in the seats around us, but also how they affect their co-team members sitting on the ‘front porch’. I watched as they cheered each other on, were humbled by each other’s talent and wept over their heartbreaks. From April to November these women and men leave their families on the weekend and minister to thousands of women across the country. The production of the conference is timed and goes on without a hitch as the same material is covered weekend after weekend. Yet I see these women weep for each other over material previously presented and I see them bent over in hysterics as Ken Davis kills us with his comedic view on life. I see Henry Cloud choke up as he speaks of the importance of connection. This is the essence of what the Women of Faith experience is - the connectedness. This is where women are touched and encouraged by women who have faith that accepting the love of our Savior is what will get us all through.  I am so grateful to all those who make the Women of Faith experience possible and I am better for having experienced it.