So two weekends ago I got to enjoy a free weekend at Women of Faith in exchange for reviewing the conference for BookSneeze.
It was a great lineup of speakers. Two I had heard before, but several I hadn’t.
- Patsy Clairmont is always a hoot and such a spitfire. She shared about her son’s recent health struggles and their faith during that time. Her main points – prayer matters, people matter, change can be good.
- Marilyn Meberg talked about how desires aren’t evil or wrong (unless they cause us to sin) but some just won’t be satisfied until heaven.
- Lisa Welchel (Hello, remember “Facts of Life”) was fun to listen to just because I grew up watching that show. She talked about her difficulty in finding adult friendships and reminded us that we need to be wise and look for flawed people who don’t put on appearances – these will be “safe” friends.
- Sandi Patty shared some of her early “getting started” story and talked about how sometimes our dreams don’t come true because God has a much bigger or better dream in mind.
- Hometown girl Brenda Warner (wife of Cardinals ex-quarterback Kurt Warner) was there and, because we were in their hometown, Kurt and several of the kids were in the audience. I had heard some of their story before and it was a good reminder that our circumstances don’t determine our character. I have to say that one of the highlights was during the closing segment when Brenda brought Zach (their 21-year-old son who is legally blind and has brain damage due to a tragic childhood accident) up on stage and read a letter from him to us. It was beautiful and there was not a dry eye in the house. I looked to see if I could find the text of it somewhere but I can’t.
As I mentioned earlier, it has been 11 years since I was last at a Women of Faith event.
To be honest, it wasn’t what I remembered, or expected really. My memory may be a little fuzzy but I remember making notes. I remember hearing things and thinking “Wow, I want to jot that down.”
So I took a notebook, prepared to jot down whatever “fresh word” I got. I never got it out of my purse.
The event WAS fun. There was some pretty great worship. I mean heck, Mandisa, Sandi Patty & Amy Grant were all there. How could that not be great? (Amy Grant looks fabulous by the way – hasn’t aged a bit.)
And the speakers were good – there were good stories, some laughs and some “encouragement”. But I definitely did not feel like I left a “Bible Study” or even a “church message”. Which is okay, just not what I was expecting.
There were two things that really bothered me.
The first happened Friday night during Brenda Warner’s talk. She was telling about her first marriage during which Zach was accidentally dropped by her husband at the time. She talked about the time in the hospital and her faith and then she relayed how one night her husband turned to her and told her he was in love with another woman. Brenda said she left right then and there, and never looked back. What she said is not what bothered me, nor is what she did. What bothered me was the loud cheering and clapping that ensued immediately afterward in a “you go girl” kind of moment.
REALLY? There are thousands of Christian women gathered in a stadium and we’re going to cheer someone on for walking away from her marriage? Sympathy, saddness. These are the reactions I expect, not cheering. Again, I’m not judging what Brenda did and OBVIOUSLY there is way more to the story than that, and she did not share the details (nor did I want them). But the audience’s reaction based on that snippet of info made me SAD.