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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ten Miles From The Nearest Sin. . .

Another full day at the Women of Faith Conference. Today I managed to drive the wrong-way on a one-way 3-lane street (thankfully traffic was light!). I was grateful that we were able to find free parking in a small plaza a block away from the Arena, so we didn't have to pay for parking on Sabbath.

These past couple of days have been exactly what my heart needed. Encouragement from like-minded Christian women who just want to share their personal testimony of how God has helped them through similar struggles and difficult times. Even stories of events that hadn't happened to me touched my heart because I could hear the sincerity of the women and I could see clearly how God had come close to them in their time of need.

We laughed, we cried, we sang, they clapped & danced (a little too jumpy for my stoic European upbringing!), and thousands of women listened in silence as God spoke to them through willing people.

It was a cultural experience for me in more ways than one. Generally, the music wasn't exactly my style, a little too much dancing and hopping up and down, but there were several songs that were mellow and heartfelt. The talks were deep and it was amazing to be with Christian women from around the world who were also seeking to know God better.

I was (unfortunately) surprised at how similar to me the presenters were. I've spent too much of my life in a closed system where "we are holier than everyone else," and "we don't struggle, and if we did, we wouldn't dare to share it because then we would be condemned," and "no one else has the truth like we do." It angers me to see the fallacies in these beliefs. The reality is that everyone is on equal footing before God, we all struggle, and there are earnest seekers in every church and every city.

No one is perfect, I know, but sometimes we tend to think we've bought the last tickets on that heavenly train and don't anyone dare to try to get one from us! That isn't what it's all about that. What it should be about is love. Call me liberal, shallow, a saved-by-grace person, but that is really what it is about. It's about God's love, how He shows it to us and how we can be His love to others.

Anita, Marilyn, Patsy, Lisa, Sheila, each of the women who spoke had a deep experience with God and you could see it on their faces and hear it in their voices. There was no judgement, no guilt, no condemnation, no self-righteousness. As I listened to the stories of love and healing, my heart was filled and my soul stilled.

I want to be like them. . .

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