I had the privilege of going to Women of Faith in Columbus with my mom and my best friend from high school, Jamie. Mom came up Thursday morning, and we hit the road bright and early Friday. I really wanted to say "bye-bye" to Isaac before we left; however, he was still asleep. Any mother out there knows you never wake a toddler unless it's a serious emergency! We looked forward to this trip for a few months, and it did not disappoint.
My favorite part of the conference was hearing Steven Curtis Chapman. He played Friday evening to round out the night. I wonder if there was even one dry eye in the building. Mom, Jamie, and I knew he was speaking, so we armed ourselves with plenty of tissues. This man has a heart of an angel; he is truly a light to the world. After everything the Chapman family has gone through this year, his faith is unshakable. During his worship time, he briefly shared the story of Maria Sue and how the Body of Christ carried his family through this tragedy. Shortly after Maria's going to meet her Maker, Steven thought he could never play Cinderella at his concerts. Even if he could get through it, he knew it would be too difficult for the audience. His wife said he had to sing this song. I'm sure thankful he did! We know Maria is at the ball with her Prince. Jesus searched for her, and the shoe perfectly fits! One day Steven will dance with Maria Sue, and he made sure to let us know we are all invited to the ball! I hope you'll join!
The speakers and other artists included Sheila Walsh, Sandy Patti, Patsy Clairmont, Mandisa, Steve Arterburn (founder of Women of Faith), Lisa Whelchel, Meriln Meberg (such a funny woman!) and Allison Allen. Every person shared a story about his or her life and what God has done to bring him or her to a place of rest and peace. Each speaker made us laugh and cry. The weekend was filled with insightful teaching coupled with the humility we should have before the Lord.
Most importantly, I got to spend this time with Mom and Jamie. My mom is my hero of all time. She is the most generous person I know. Mom does all she can to help those around her in every possible way. She gives her time and resources to help others be glad in God. I admire my mom's faith in the Lord. In all she has gone through in her life, I've seen her triumph in victory because of the cross of Christ. She knows what it means to have and to lose. She knows highs and lows. She has hurt deeply and loved powerfully. She is my mom, and I love her!
And, Jamie... Wow! She is the sweetest person I know. Jamie has always had a caring heart and gentle spirit. She accepted Christ a year or so before I did and witnessed to me about His love and grace. I remember her talking to me about knowing Jesus personally and choosing to follow Him and be baptized. She was such a dear friend to me even while I was in darkness. We come from very similar backgrounds, and I know Jamie understands me and loves me. I'm glad we were able to spend the weekend together. As a mom of two little ones three and under, Jamie was ready for a break! Although we both missed our children, we rejoiced knowing they were well cared for and that we had time to catch up with each other.
Thank you, Mom and Jamie, for a wonderfully encouraging weekend!