Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Last weekend I went with 18 women from my Bible study groups to the Women of Joy Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. What a joy-filled, Spirit led experience of renewal we had! We lifted our voices in praise with Charles Billingsley, Michael W. Smith, and Steven Curtis Chapman. Four joyful women of God shared their inspirational and often humorous stories of faith. Each one lifted our spirits and encouraged us to move forward in our faith journey with hope and perseverance.

Sarah Palin urged us to find the desire of our heart, our God-given passion. Reminding us to use our passions, she said to look for sign-posts that encourage us. Then she shared that as she trained for a marathon, her teenage son Track left notes of encouragement every few miles. “You can do it!” “Way to go, Mom!” These “signposts” kept her going forward.
“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1
She also shared that her special needs son Trig changed her world and taught her real compassion. As Trig wakes up each morning, he rubs his sleepy eyes and applauds. Sarah noted that’s what our Lord wants from us. We should begin each day and applaud God. “Thanks for this day! Whatever is to come, you’ll be with me!”
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Becky Tirabassi, an author, speaker, and Life Coach, shared how the power of prayer has affected her. Becky described prayer as God’s Stimulus Package. Let’s think on that. A stimulus is something external that encourages activity. Prayer is an internal stimulus that encourages us to act. What a marvelous takeaway message! Sober for 32 years, Becky has spent one hour a day in prayer for the last 26 years and for many years has read the Bible through each year. She shared story after story of how these spiritual practices changed her life and made her a new creature in Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! “ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Anita Renfroe kept us in stitches of laughter as she shared the humor of being a mom. Described as “this generation’s Erma Bombeck,” Anita laughingly told of her life as a pastor’s wife and the day-to-day issues facing women today. Her William Tell version of everything a mom says to children in the course of one day is a classic! Check it out on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0ZpuA8_YYk.

Liz Curtis Higgs, a favorite of my Bible study groups, provided the culminating talk of the weekend. Author of the Bad Girls of the Bible series, Liz brought a message of love and acceptance. She reminded us that God loves us as we are. He made us in the same way he made creation; he made us and said, “It is good!” He has lavished his love on us.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1
He made us unique, in his image, and for his pleasure. God thinks we are each beautiful and he desperately wants us to agree with him. Liz encouraged us to jump in front of the mirror each morning and say, “Ta-da!” In the United Kingdom “ta” is a thank you and “da” is short for Father. When we say, “Ta-da!, we are really saying, “Thank you, Father!”

We left home as 18 friends and returned as 18 closer friends in Christ inspired and energized (and I must say well-fed! Is it wrong to want Kentucky Derby pie every day of your life!)

I hope you too will be inspired to begin each day with prayer, Bible reading, applause to God, and a hearty “Ta-da!”


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