My weekend was spent with 7,000+ Christian women in an arena praising and praying and laughing and crying. And it was amazing. Women of Faith is always good, but this year was beyond great. The speakers were encouraging, wise, and entertaining. The music was just what music should be. The Spirit was moving and the Lord was present. It made me remember once more what it's all about, this life that I live. It has absolutely nothing to do with a clean house or money or what the world thinks of me. It has everything, everything to do with Jesus.
Each person who walked up on that stage this weekend touched my life in some way. I thought I'd share a thought or two about each one.
Patsy Clairmont. Can I just say first off that I love her. She is what my grandma would call "a case." She is a character with a capital "c." There's just something about her, the way she talks and moves and shares, that makes me happy. I found out this week that she was once agoraphobic. You know. She didn't leave her house and had extreme anxiety issues. I couldn't help but think, "there but for the grace of God go I." But to see her now, it's hard to believe that she was ever anything but her amazing, outgoing, fearless self. She spoke numerous times throughout the weekend and I especially appreciated what she shared about overcoming fear and accepting that change can be good. And I had to laugh out loud when she declared her opinion on medication for depression and anxiety: "Pop a pill in Jesus name." Amen, Miss Patsy!
Andy Andrews. I wasn't so sure about Andy when he first got on stage. He ran around while he talked and the poor camera men could hardly keep up with him. By the time he was finished speaking, I was exhausted. But what he said was really, really good. He spoke about being responsible for our choices and how those choices could and would impact our lives. One of the things I came away with from his words was how everything good in our lives comes about because of how we act. And everything great in our lives comes about because of how we act when the going gets tough. I can hardly wait to read his books, especially "The Traveler's Gift."
Brenda Warner. Brenda is a former marine, mother of seven including one special needs child, child advocate and philanthropist who came from nothing and now wants for nothing. Oh, yeah. She's also the wife of Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner. Brenda spoke about overcoming difficulties in life while still hanging on to the Lord. The hour spent with her gave me the impression that she is strong. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. But she knows, and shared with us, that her strength comes from above.
Mandisa. I can't say enough about Mandisa. I saw her first on American Idol. Remember her? She's the one who told Simon that she forgave him for commenting on her weight after her audition. She didn't win American Idol. Which is probably good for her and better for me and all the women who are touched by her at Women of Faith conferences all over the country. Miss Mandisa rocked the arena Friday night. Her voice, her presence, her words move me to tears every time. Her music was a lifesaver during the darkest days of my life. It was literally something I clung to during those days and one of the things that pulled me out of the stormy sea and back onto the S.S. Savior. Still today I will listen to her cds over and over and sing along with hands in the air and heart full to overflowing with His love.
And that, my friends, was only the beginning. I still have Saturday to tell you about. Stay tuned.