Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the She Speaks Conference in Concord, NC (it’s pronounced Con-Cord, not conquered) put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries . It was a time for 650+ women from all over the country as well as other countries to come together and speak, write, pray, worship, listen and have fellowship with other women. Basically it was a huge party for Jesus girls.
I had a fabulous time. It’s taken a few days to digest what I experienced and I will attempt to articulate some of my takeaways and favorite moments.
In no particular order, here are some highlights. . .
The Speakers. I was SO beyond excited that I would be at a conference where not one but many women who I look up to and admire would be speaking. Women like Lysa TerKeurstt, Renee Swope, Luann Prater, and so many others. These are women who just love God and have an enthusiasm that is contagious. It was such a blessing to be in their company.
Listening to Renee Swope’s message Be Careful What you Look Through
The Messages. Both the General Sessions and the breakout sessions were great. I learned SO much. I personally attended sessions about blogging, writing, speaking and ministry but there were so many options, I wish I could have attended all of them. I went to sessions led by Lysa T., Courtney Joseph from Women Living Well, Jill Savage and Lisa Boyd and Amy Bayliss of DIY Ministy, My brain was on overload with so much good stuff.
At Lysa’s The Power of a Story session
The Encouragement. So within the conference you could focus on either a Speaking or Writing track. I was on the Speakers track and that included times where you were put in a small evaluation group. You prepared two messages; one 3 minute testimony and one 5 minute teaching message and then the group would offer constructive feedback. Although it was nerve wracking preparing the messages, my group was so amazing. It was so beautiful to meet 10 other women from backgrounds completely different from my own and hear their stories. They offered great feedback and encouragement.
My Speaking evaluation group. Love these girls!
Liz Curtis Higgs (Lizzie). OMG, she was the speaker on Saturday night and not only is she one of the funniest women I have ever heard but her message was probably one of the most powerful I’ve heard. And she’s a total sweetheart. After her message, which was late in the evening, she made time to personally speak to every single women who wanted to meet her or have her sign on of her books. I stood in line for a LONG time but it was worth it. She signed a copy of her book The Girl’s Still Got it for me.
Lizzie and I
My Roommate. Yup, she’s a highlight all on her own. I had no idea who I’d be rooming with at the conference. A few days before I received her name and contact info and I emailed her just to introduce myself. When she wrote me back and told me a little bit about herself, including the fact that she is a mom to 15 kiddos (YES FIFTEEN), I was both a bit alarmed and intrigued. I had no idea what to expect. Well Sonya surpassed any expectation I could have possibly had. She is the kindest, sweetest, most inspiring woman. She has a love for her children that gives you chills and a heart for adoption (12 of her kiddos are adopted) that will both make you cry and inspire you. AND she’s super fun! We had such a great time getting late night room service and sharing stories over a basket of fries. I love this girl! And I know we will be life long friends despite living on opposite sides of the country.
Me and Sonya (middle) with another new friend Pam on the left
The Connections. In a group of 650+ women that was moving constantly from one speaking session to another, it was hard to connect with everyone. However, I am convinced that God led me to the ones I was able to chat with and get to know. And that it was just the beginning of friendships that I know will be lasting. And the icing on the cake for me was that at the very end of the conference, right before everyone headed off back home, I was able to meet in REAL LIFE (RL) the super awesome Rae Brown (of the Chasing Kite Tails project). She is even more amazing in person as she is online. And I’m so happy I got to give her a real hug.
Rae and I
He Spoke at She Speaks. Friends, I can’t share about the fun, the friendships and laughter of She Speaks without mentioning the purpose, Jesus. I mean that was the whole point of the conference, to gain tools and be better equipped to answer God’s calling on our lives. And I for one definitely heard Him speak to my heart. He is SO good. And He loves us all so very, very much.