I went to the Women of Faith Imagine event in Milwaukee at the beginning of the month. I had never been to one of their events before, but had vaguely heard good things about it. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I’ve been to more than my fair share of conferences (seriously, being on staff with a large missionary organization leads to a lot of good conferences), but I wasn’t very familiar with many of the speakers, so I didn’t really know what I would be walking into.
When I was given these tickets (thanks BookSneeze!) I knew immediately who my first choice was to go with. My friend Jess was one of my first connections when I started college. She was my first bible study leader, one of my closest friends, the first person who discipled me. I got home from summer project just in time to be her personal attendant at her wedding and our love of Starbucks and Jesus has bonded us through the years since then. Her 3 little boys have become my wedding dates & dance partners and when I go visit them, they want to play with me 24/7, sometimes limiting the actual adult conversation time that Jess and I get! So despite the fact that she had a 2-month old baby, Jess was totally up for a girls weekend. Plus she had a couch that I could crash on for free! 😉
Friday was the more low key day, but it was the day that Dr. Henry Cloud spoke and met me right where my heart was at. I’ve read plenty by Dr. Cloud before. Being on staff with Cru, I’d learned a lot from Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life and How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth, so I was excited to hear him in person.
He talked about happiness, giving & monkeys (ask me if you want to know more about that one!) and it was all really good stuff. Seriously, that is one intelligent man. But when he started talking about endings, he had my undivided attention. A few of my favorite quotes were:
There is always a letting go before a getting to.
The season is past, but we can’t move on because we are holding on to something that has died.
Stop making what is abnormal normal! Believe that what God has planned is possible and normal for your life.
Jess even commented at the end of that session that there was a lot of good stuff in there for me. I feel like those were things I needed to hear. For a while I was holding on to something that was dead in my life. God has something new for me to learn and I was too busy trying to hold on to what I knew as a good way to invest my life. And it is a great way to serve & grow & minister. But it was not the right place for me.
But I didn’t want to let go. It felt safe (despite being really hard!) and I felt like it gave my life meaning. I loved what I did and I totally believe in the mission & vision of the ministry. But it was not what God had for me. I learned a lot and I grew a lot, but it was for a season. And I was forced to face that.
Do I have any idea what’s next? Nope. Is that scary and hard? Yup. But I am trusting that God has something for me. And that it is amazing and beyond what I ever could have imagined for my life. So I am going to believe that whatever it is will be worth it and that it will become my new normal.
Pray for me on this journey. Pray that I find something to pay the bills with and that I find the place that God can use me in. If that is the same thing, great! If not, then I’m going to keep seeking Him for how I can be used for His glory.
Trust me when I say that the women who spoke and ran this conference did an AMAZING job. Funny how it was the one person who wasn’t a woman on stage spoke the words I so needed to hear. 🙂 I’m glad Dr. Cloud was there and I already ordered his book Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward! You’ll probably be hearing about it in the weeks to come. Thanks for a great weekend Women of Faith. I will definitely be coming to see you all again!
p.s. check out this video of Natalie Grant singing It is Well. This isn’t from the Milwaukee event, but you’ll get the idea! One of my favorite moments from the weekend!
Disclosure: BookSneeze provided me with two free tickets to the Women of Faith conference of my choice in exchange for ad space on my blog and two sponsored posts.