I love the True Woman Conference and have attended all four of them, starting in 2008. The penetrating, God inspired words of the speakers, the times of worship and prayer, the fellowship with like-hearted women always encourages me and stirs something deep in my spirit.
The Saturday morning panel discussion is one of the lighter sessions of the conference as laughter mixes in with practical applications of the biblical truths we've heard about throughout the weekend. The women on the panel, Holly Elliff, Carolyn McCulley, Karen Loritts, Kay Arthur, Mary Kassian, and Dannah Gresh are wise, empathetic, and REAL. And the panel moderator—that Bob Lepine—he's amazing! Handsome, witty, and charming . . . I could go on and on. Oh, and incidentally, I happen to be married to him. Ahem . . . moving along.
We received lots of wise counsel, and insight into the hearts of these influential women, who are on the same path of pursing godliness as those in the audience.
Kay Arthur started by encouraging us to make the home a priority, but to remember that God is God—He is our top priority, not our children or husband.
Several of the women spoke about marriage and the challenges we face in that key relationship. Mary Kassian says that we are to live according to God's design and that need not diminish or change our personality . . . we become more of who we are meant to be, when we submit to the Lord through our husband. She also said that submission to our husband's leadership becomes an issue when I'm rebellious toward God. Kay Arthur reminded us that God puts us together in marriage and that doesn't negate who we are as a person.
Bob asked Holly Elliff, a pastor's wife and mother of 8, how she does it all. There was laughter as she replied, "I don't!" She spoke much wisdom, borne from years of walking with the Lord—Listen for and respond to the Holy Spirit. Seek Him moment by moment. Surrender. Take the next right step into obedience. Her words were such a helpful reminder, for all us, myself included—He is who we need, every minute of the day.
Karen Loritts shared a few thoughts about forgiveness and rebuilding trust. One thing in particular stood out to me—because we are forgiven much (by God), we don't have the right to NOT forgive someone who has offended us, or evenly wounded us deeply. She also reminded us that it takes a lot of time to rebuild trust—things may not get back to "normal" quickly.
In talking about our daughters, Dannah Gresh encouraged us to begin teaching our girls at a young age about modestly, purity, and serving—don't wait until they are young teens to guide them in forming godly values. In parenting our daughters, Mary reminded us that we are to be MOM, and not "buddy-buddy, girlfriends" with our teens. So true, so hard at times.
Carolyn McCulley spoke about the value of being distinctly feminine, not just in the home, but in the workplace and in our churches. She encouraged us to look for ways to practice submission, prefer others, and lift up those around us. Whether single or married, we are each born female and made in the image of God—we have the same destination, just a different roadmap.
Closing the session, Bob asked for words of advice as women are going back home, to the Real World. All the women had wise words, but I most needed to hear this: Take in Truth. Anchor myself to the Truth. Speak God's Truth to myself. And finally, sit with God each morning and come face to face with the Truth. Amen!
Thy Word is truth . . . John 17:17b . . . I love you, Lord!