Ok, I have a HUGE confession to make. I never attended a Women of Faith meeting before because, well to be honest, I thought it would be a lot of “fluff” and no real substance. This past weekend forever changed that, along with SO many other things!
But the story starts way before I left for the WOF conference in Washington DC. One day, as I was sitting at a stop light and watching the other drivers go by I thought “geez these people all look so unhappy”. Several stop lights later I happened to catch a glimpse of ME in the mirror and I though “wow, I look just as unhappy as everyone else!” This wasn’t something new, it was just getting harder to hide.
I had been unhappy for quite sometime. But even worse, I’d lost my joy. Then anger (ok, rage) became an issue. Things were spinning out of whack. More and more of life’s demands and the needs of others had taken their toll. I was floundering, drowning in a sea of meeting the needs of everyone around me, while literally dying on the inside.
The night before I left for WOF I had a conversation with my husband. Ok, it was more like my last nerve snapped, and he stood and blinked at me as the last sentence rolled off my tongue. “I am completely unhappy, and as far as I’m concerned at this point, my coming back home after this weekend is totally optional.” Yeah…pretty heavy conversation.
Any-who, I arrived at my friend Donna’s house late Thursday. Our original plan was that she’d meet me in DC after she got off work on Friday. However, that had changed and I was going it alone Friday and she’d join me Saturday. So I took the metro into DC, found my front row seat and sat alone…not a single person sat on that front row…just me.
The morning speakers were Sheila Walsh, and Dr. Henry Cloud. Interesting enough, each – in their own sessions, talked about happiness and joy. Sheila had a great quote that I scribbled down “When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, THEN you will be begin to change.” Then she sang a phenomenal version of Amazing Grace.
Then Dr. Cloud spoke and he was explaining about stress and how it affects our minds and bodies. He gave the illustration of experiments that had been done on monkeys (back before PETA). He said scientists would place a monkey in a locked cage and begin to bang and clang and flash lights and just do all kinds of crazy things to make the monkey freak out. Then they’d check it’s stress level hormones (yep they were through the roof). Then they added another factor. They placed a second monkey in the cage with the first monkey. They still did the same crazy stress test, but the monkey’s stress level hormones were cut in half, just because there was another monkey to share the stress. He said people are the same, no matter what we’re going through if there’s SOMEONE, ANYONE to share the stress with you it’s easier.
So Henry then said “turn to the person beside you and ask, baby will you be my monkey?” I turned to look at that row of empty chairs…no monkey for me…and that sucked.
But you know what, I laughed. I laughed more in the past two days than I have in ages. Sheila and Henry were both wonderfully witty, and insightful and sharing Gods love and His love all the while.
All of the speakers were wonderful, and funny and full of God’s word, and wisdom. Even better, they were each transparent. There was no churchy “I’m all that, I have arrived” going on with these gals (and Henry Cloud and Ken Davis). The worship team was incredible! Mary Mary ROCKED DA HOUSE on Friday night. You haven’t seen anything until you see Luci Swindol getting down to Shackles! Natalie Grant….wow, that’s the only word that even comes close….WOW!
Each song, each speaker, said, did, sang something that spoke directly to me. Nichole Johnson’s session impacted me the most, hands down. There was an “ah-ha” moment when I realized where the rage was coming from. I realized I have some areas that were broken, that weren’t “reset” properly. It’s time for those areas to be addressed.
I got my joy back. WOOT!! Happy will take longer, because it involves others. Here are some of the quotes that will stick with me for years:
“Let all the idiots in your life take care of themselves!” ~ Henry Cloud
“The bigger the trouble, the faster you run home (to God).” ~ Shelia Walsh
“Enjoy your life, because nobody told you that you can’t."~ Luci Swindol
“Humor is a gentle way to acknowledge human frailty.” ~ Ken Davis
“Life’s greatest value is often found in its broken pieces.” ~ Nichole Johnson
“All addiction is ultimately a dysfunction of worship.” ~ Lisa Harper
I received two free tickets to Women of Faith for review purposes. I received no compensation for my review and the thought and opinions expressed here are strictly my own.