Women of Faith Celebrates 20 Years of Ministry in the Final Conference Tour

by Lynn on September 26, 2015

Women of Faith

Alas, my sister and I have attended our last Women of Faith conference. For thirteen years, we’ve set aside four days in September to join 10,000 other ladies in a packed arena for a weekend of spiritual refreshment. But sadly, this is the final conference tour for Women of Faith.

Women of Faith

The conference started in 1996, with just four speakers; Barbara Johnson, Patsy Clairmont, Luci Swindoll and Marilyn Meberg. Shortly thereafter, Sheila Walsh and Thelma Wells were added to the speaking team, as well as dramatist Nicole Johnson. Originally designed to fill a void in women’s ministry, Women of Faith quickly outgrew the church venue, and was soon filling arenas across the country. Additional guest speakers like Lisa Harper, Jennifer Rothschild, and Christine Caine, and musicians like Natalie Grant, Nicole C. Mullen, Sandi Patty, and an all-female worship team, added variety to the conference.

Women of FaithWe began attending in 2003, while both recovering from thoracic surgery after being diagnosed with catamenial pneumothorax. That conference was called the Great Adventure, and we certainly needed that kind of perspective while navigating through the medical challenges we faced that year. The following year we attended Irrepressible Hope, and then Extraordinary Faith, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Freedom in the subsequent years.

Women of Faith

As we struggled through multiple surgeries, and then journeyed down the difficult road of cancer with our mom, we found that for us, the conferences had become a special sort of provision from God. Each year we attended, the messages pierced our hearts with just what we needed to hear. The speakers shared their own stories, which were both heart breaking and inspirational. Some had struggled through difficult illnesses of their own. Some had lost spouses or children. Others had suffered abuse and abandonment. And still others shared the horror of their own self-inflicted prisons made from the consequences of their poor choices. Shared from honest hearts, their stories resonated with those of us attending. I think one of the most important truths we realized was that we were not alone. We sat in an arena with thousands of other women who had the same hurts, disappointments, and trials that we had. Knowing that your issues are not unique to you, can be liberating and allow sisters in Christ to come along side in support. And that’s just what the speakers focused on. They showed us how we can take the problems and baggage we carry in life and find freedom by laying it all at the foot of the cross.

Women of Faith

Another truth that Women of Faith really focused on was the great extent of God’s love for us. In our world where human love is frequently based on how valuable we are to other people, it is difficult for me to understand how God’s love is not based on who I am, what I do, or what I don’t do. Because conditional love is the type I see in the world around me, it is hard for me to visualize what God’s love for me looks like. This year, one of the speakers asked, “If we could truly grasp the depth of God’s love for us, how would that effect how we live today?” How indeed!

I have learned so much from these ladies, and at times, laughed so hard that no sound came out of my mouth! While all of the presenters had wisdom to share, the ladies of the core speaker team are particular treasures!

Women of Faith

Patsy Clairmont has such a talent for weaving Biblical stories like those of Elijah, David, and Gideon, into modern issues in order to illustrate God’s continued faithfulness. I especially loved her retelling of a famous missive: “Now Jezabel sent Elijah an e-mail that read: I’m. Gonna. Gitcha!” From Patsy I’ve learned that like Elijah, God knows when I am overwhelmed by circumstances. He will faithfully provide the resources I need to continue the journey he has set out before me.

Women of Faith

Sheila Walsh has a transparent and honest heart, and she points me to Jesus every time she speaks. I have shed more tears during her messages, because she so accurately expresses what we’re all feeling. From Sheila I’ve learned that my past doesn’t determine my future. God will take the broken pieces in my life and make them into something he can use for his glory. Not a single tear is wasted in God’s economy.

Women of Faith

Marilyn Meberg has such wisdom, which she shares with compassion and love. She is also one of the funniest story tellers I have ever heard, and her quirky sense of humor is just priceless. From Marilyn, I’ve learned that when life goes sideways it isn’t because I didn’t have enough faith or I didn’t pray hard enough. The outcome of a situation is not my burden to carry, but the enemy will often use this lie to discourage me. My job is to be obedient and God will handle the rest.

Women of Faith

Luci Swindoll has the gift of finding joy in every circumstance. Even when confronted with trials, she chooses to face life with optimism. Her friendship with Marilyn and the crazy adventures they’ve shared together have been hilarious. My favorite story was when Luci described how she navigated a jeep through a field blindfolded while Marilyn told her where to drive! From Luci, I’ve learned that because God has shown himself to be faithful, he can be trusted with the outcome of each circumstance in my life. Instead of being afraid of the future, I can see life as an adventure because Jesus is already there.

Women of Faith

Thelma Wells has a genuine love for people and is grounded in the Word of God. She has overcome adversity by leaning on his promises and immersing herself in prayer. From Thelma I’ve learned that while I may face impossible situations, nothing is impossible for God. He is all powerful, loves me with an everlasting love, and will work all things together for my good.

Women of Faith

Nicole Johnson has a real insight into human emotions and such a talent for dramatizing them in a very transparent way. Her sketches have moved me to tears, and sent me into fits of laughter. From Nicole, I’ve learned that I am not invisible to God, and that I am not defined by the labels other people put onto me. God loves me and values me.

In the midst of our own medical issues and those of our mom, the conferences provided much needed encouragement. We were reminded that God was still there. He had not forgotten us. Just as Jesus healed the women with the issue of blood, God would meet us where we were. The messages had such an impact during those difficult years, that we included some of those insights in our book Held by God.

Women of Faith

I am sad that Women of Faith is completing its final tour, but grateful for the speakers and musicians who gave of their time and talents to minister to all of us for all of those years. We have been blessed, and have learned what it means to be daughters of the King! We are seen, we are known, we are LOVED!

If you’d like to be a part of the final LOVED tour, it continues in selected cities through February 2016. The conference is also now available on DVD if you can’t attend in person.


On the journey toward Home,

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