God met me. Prepared me. Touched me. At Women of Faith.
The Imagine event was amazing. Things that struck me:
- Wave upon wave of women. Young, young women (with newborns), white-haired grandmas, and every age in between: more women than I’ve ever seen in one place at one time!
- All the women looked like nice people–like someone I would like to become friends with!
- The speakers were people. real. like you and me.
Facts: During the day on Friday it was general admission seating: we chose good upper seats. The worship team led before sessions: not my kind of worship, but it was ok:) Some of the music was too loud, especially where we were sitting on Saturday.
Mary, Mary and Natalie Grant performed. If you like these performers, you would have really enjoyed this–you got to “know” the performers: Mary, Mary (two sisters) talked, sang and shared for awhile, and Natalie Grant gave a mini concert Friday night (we left before this). There was a very funny comedian named John Branyan–I would love to hear him again.
Getting to Know the Speakers and Performers
Speakers were Sheila Walsh, Dr. Henry Cloud, Luci Swindoll, Angie Smith, Lisa Harper, Nicole Johnson, and comedian John Branyan.
Some of the speakers and performers had their children with them! Which allowed you to see them as “real people” and get to know them a little. When the music got too loud, I walked in the halls surveying the product tables, and I bought a T-shirt that said “Imagine!” (you could buy the speakers’ books, CDs, etc.) and buying good things to munch on (how long can you smell that popcorn before you buy some!).
Lunch was provided both days with the purchase of your ticket. This was handled with amazing smoothness, and was a tasty lunch of a sandwich, good piece of fruit and a cookie with bottled water. Saturday they ran out of the boxed lunches (we were late because we were praying), and they gave us vouchers to buy our lunch. There were vendors selling other food, if you preferred that. Lines were long, prices high, and you could not bring any food or drink into the building with you. Your bag/purse was looked through at the door.
My Friday impressions: Here’s what God spoke to me:
We can be involved in so many activities, circles, more and more, that nothing gets the attention it needs. (Dr. Henry Cloud) I need to concentrate on the 20% that is “life”–what will bear fruit. The rest is a distraction. Profitable, good. But we need to focus. I need to get rid of the “distractions” that are keeping me from what is best! There are seasons: beginnings and endings. Allow God to prune me. Into what would the Lord have me pour myself, and how can I cut away what is robbing me of being all God would have me to be for His glory? Habits, time-wasters, even “good” things, but not the best.
“Some of us here have asked God for a miracle. But, does God have a bigger miracle in store for us? Jesus knew she’d been healed (the woman with an issue of blood), but wants to give her a bigger miracle than the one she’d come for! He tells her, ‘Daughter, go in peace.’ She has inner healing, not just outer healing.” (Sheila Walsh)
(Friday was very good, but it didn’t move me like I expected. A little too much psychology for me, but Saturday made up for it!)
Friday Evening: After a fantastic supper at Cosettas, one of my favorite restaurants and within walking distance of the Xcel Energy Center, we returned and found our reserved seating for Friday night and Saturday–Wow! We were in the Club Deck, companion seating. This seating was truly a gift! This was where my friend and I were able to quietly cry and pray together after the session without feeling awkward or interrupted. These seats are reserved, I was told, for companions of those in wheelchairs. The birds-eye view was incredible! Our assigned seats were in a roped-off area ten feet away from any other seating, with five plushly padded, movable chairs, no one sitting in three of them. It was very dark during sessions, and hardly a soul was in the other area either, so part of the time, I sat with my feet up on one of the free chairs:) We did a lot of walking during these two days! It was nice to have a lot of room! There was an attractively-decorated Women’s restroom literally around the corner. Never crowded. Go any time you want. To appreciate this properly, picture 15,000 women all needing to use the restroom at the same time! (They had to make every Men’s bathroom in the center into a Women’s, except 2.)
God Arranged the Whole Thing: A Testimony
I knew from the first moment I won these tickets that, for some reason, God wanted me at this event. When I was chosen by Booksneeze to attend and review the event, I knew that God had arranged it. And He also chose the person to go with me.
I asked about six other friends first because there was no way I thought this dear friend would be free to go, (on a weekend for 2 days?) that her husband would want her to be away at this time of year (it is very busy for them), and that her health would allow it (she has the beginning of Parkinsons). But, God. He closed the door on the others attending, and in answer to my prayer, directed me to invite her. It was definitely a “God-thing” when her husband said yes immediately to her going, and she was very excited to attend. On Friday, as I saw her visibly moved at times listening to the speakers, I thought, “Maybe it’s for her that I’m here.”
Little ways God moved:
- He reminded me to bring specific Hymn and quiet music CDs that would prepare our hearts and allow for sharing on the drive to and fro.
- He gave us the most gorgeous fall weather–I don’t like driving at night, especially in bad weather.
- He protected us: there was a massive bag of leaves completely blocking my way in the middle of a narrow 2-lane road as I drove to pick up my friend, just all of a sudden there–if I’d been distracted even a little (doing my makeup, on my cellphone or fiddling with music–anything) I’d have had an accident. There was another car approaching from the other side just at that moment. I was able to come to a complete stop, go over off the road and go around it. Praise God for His safety!
Day 2 Over the Top
The transparent testimonies of the speakers touched me in a way I can’t describe.
God led the speakers to speak specific words and sentences and tell things from their past which dealt with parts of my life that only God and I know. He used them to speak to my heart–it didn’t matter that 15,000 other women were listening, He was speaking to me, and me alone.
I felt that He was sitting beside me with His arm around my shoulder and holding my hands, and looking me in the eye, sharing with me what I was going to need to know for what was coming. I’ve had the feeling of being prepared for something around the corner for awhile now, but even more so at this event. Here’s what He told me:
“He is with you in the storm–Jesus Christ was right there with me. You won’t go through the storm alone.”
This was the testimony of Angie Smith, who shared the story of their family as they loved their little unborn daughter and how she affected their life and faith, though she only lived a few hours after birth. He will be with you in the storm. This He has already taught me. He has been there with me in the storm. I’ve been through life-threatening storms…ovarian cancer…and other storms… losing my dad, miscarriage…but now God seemed to be saying, “There are storms ahead.” With the words of this speaker He also gave me assurance that He would be with me in the future as He has in the past.
Something you should know about me: I am leery of emotional experiences, and don’t like when people try to make me feel like crying (I am an emotional person, and I cry easily). I don’t like when I think that they’re trying to make me think it was “God,” when really it was just emotional manipulation. If that’s all Women of Faith had been, I’d have been really turned off.
But, as my friend said,
“I don’t subscribe to experiences (I’m too prone to be that way anyway) and I’ve learned they don’t mean much, but…God was there Saturday. He was there. And I just couldn’t stop crying!”
We were blessed to spend time praying privately in our little separate seating area, praying and crying, after one speaker on Saturday. God moved us in a mighty way.
Though I was not sure what to expect, and went with an eye to see both the good and the bad, the Women of Faith Imagine event was an amazing experience. I’m so grateful to have won the tickets from Booksneeze. If you get a chance to go to one of these events, I encourage you to pray about whether the Lord might want you to go. Though each event is different, I believe the Lord will speak to your heart, and you’ll come away encouraged.
BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are completely my own and were not influenced in any way by receiving the tickets free. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html:“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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