Over the Top!

There’s only one way to describe last weekend’s Women of Faith event in Spokane…over the top! I joined two of my dearest friends, Mary and Judy, in Spokane. Our friendships span more than 30 years. Since our birthdays are in late-August and early-September, we have our annual birthday party–and what better way to celebrate than at Women of Faith! Being together with friends is an over the top experience in itself.

My special Women of Faith friends, Mary & Judy

But then add the day-time session on Friday with Patsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews, and you get an unbelievable mix of humor, truth, and inspiration. Patsy reminded me to say “yes” to God, to practice taking responsibility for my behavior, and to grow up. Andy’s enthusiasm was contagious as he raced around the stage, up and down the stairs, and into the audience, proclaiming there’s huge hope for making different choices in our lives. I never imagined the variety of tunes that could accompany the words to Amazing GraceGhostriders in the Sky, House of the Rising Sun (sung like Elvis), and even the theme song from Gilligan’s Island! Who knew? I love Andy Andrews and his big heart for people!

Brenda Warner topped off the day with her inspiring story of God’s faithfulness to her as a single mom with a special needs child, and how her mission today focuses on loving babies with severe disabilities. Music with the Worship Team throughout the day and Mandisa’s concert Friday night lifted 7,000 women to a beautiful place of praise and worship.

When I thought it couldn’t get any better, Saturday came with a full day of over the top music and messages. I learned that Women of Faith has helped sponsor more than 160,000 children with World Vision during the past decade. What a testimony to Women of Faith and the thousands of women of faith who have responded to help these precious children.

Sandi Patty sang “We Shall Behold Him,” and tears flowed down my cheeks without apology– an over the top moment of inexpressible praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Lisa Whelchel spoke about friendship. Patsy told about her son’s illness and how she learned that change can be good. Deborah Joy Winans brought powerful truth with her dramatic presentations and a reminder to “drop our rocks” of judgment toward others. Marilyn Meberg explained why we always want more…God has placed eternity in our hearts. A concert with Amy Grant made the weekend complete for me. I remember listening to Amy’s music when I was a brand-new Christian in the early 1980’s, and how her music encouraged me back then. It still does!

Women of Faith is much more than an “event” to attend with special friends. It’s more like a reunion. The Porch Pals are friends we’ve come to know and appreciate and love through the years. Luci Swindoll came to Spokane and joined the Worship Team in singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness,”  even though she’s speaking at the Imagine event. She didn’t have to be there, but seeing her touched my heart–like seeing an old friend.

I hope you have an opportunity to experience an over the top weekend with Women of Faith. I’d love to hear about your experiences!

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Thank You, Women of Faith!

When I walked into the Spokane Arena two years ago, my emotions caught me by surprise. Music sung by the Women of Faith worship team sounded like I had stepped into a heavenly dimension. I grabbed for the Kleenex I had stuffed into my purse. I hadn’t expected to feel this way. Just being there was God’s incredible gift for me.

Only a few weeks earlier, I had resigned myself. Our budget was stretched to the limit. I couldn’t join my friends from church who planned to attend Women of Faith. I swallowed my disappointment and managed to smile while Mandy, our group leader, told about the upcoming event.

I smiled because I knew what was in store for each woman who was going–the time of her life! My mini-pity party lasted only a moment. How could I feel sorry for myself? I’d already attended Women of Faith several times. My friend, Judy, took me the first time as a birthday gift.

She knew how much I needed encouragement. My life was unraveling. I had almost lost all hope. My husband’s alcoholism had nearly destroyed him and our marriage. When I took my seat in the Key Arena in Seattle, surrounded by thousands of sisters in Christ, I felt overwhelmed by the power of God’s presence. The Women of Faith speakers touched my heart. How did they know that their messages were exactly what I needed to hear? The music infused my tired spirit with refreshment and hope. I wasn’t alone! I could step out in faith once again.

I smiled as I listened to Mandy’s enthusiasm. I remembered how far God had brought me since my first Women of Faith experience so many years ago. By His grace, healing had come to my heart, and miraculously, to my husband and our marriage. I smiled with gratitude. I would miss being there, but I looked forward to the next time I could afford to go.

God had a different plan. Mandy called a few days later. She explained that a friend wanted to pay my way to Women of Faith in Spokane! My un-named friend had bought a ticket, paid for my share of the hotel room, and even included spending money. All she asked was for me to write her a note, telling about my experience. No problem!

I’m still not sure whose generosity made it possible for me to be blessed once again by Women of Faith. All I know was how humbled I felt knowing that God wanted me to be there.

I pray you’ll also be able to experience Women of Faith–maybe in Spokane. I’ll be there!

I’m a Women of Faith blogger!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be blogging from Women of Faith later this month.

I’ll be attending the WOF event in Spokane, WA on 9/16-17 – are you going? (Let me know so we can plan to meet!).

Here’s a preview video:

Have you ever been to a Women of Faith event? What did you think? Do tell!