Beautifully coifed hair. Perfectly painted lips enveloping toothy smiles. Women I've never even met greeting me as they walked passed. It made me VERY uneasy. The first time one of the women smiled at me, I turned to look over my shoulder to see to whom she was smiling only to realize no one was there. She was smiling at me. You see, in my line of work, if someone is smiling at me that means they've pulled one over on me, and I don't like that at all. It makes me want to dig deeper and find out what their smile or smirk means. By day, I investigate insurance fraud. I have for 14 years now, but God with His sense of humor has called me to minister to women. I get paid to make people cry, and here God gives me women who cry for no reason at all and at the drop of a hat! So two years ago when I attended my first She Speaks Conference, I was completely out of my element and paranoid. All these smiling women…what on earth?!
What possessed me to go the first go around? I was feeling completely inept and inadequate in the role God had called me to fill, and my longtime girlfriend Lee Merrill convinced me this is where I needed to go. She was right. Even in my uneasiness, I absorbed so much information, knowledge and treasured friendships I have to this day. I primarily focused on the Women's Ministry Track and was so encouraged. The tools I learned during the conference I utilized the next year leading the women's ministry at my church.
Last year, I was so blessed to go to the conference with my mom. I combined the women's ministry track and the speaker's track. The speaker evaluation groups made me want to come back again this year. My leader said my teaching was anointed, and I was overwhelmed. I really want an opportunity to develop this aspect of my ministry and the giftedness God has given me.
One of the many blessings I received last year was at Table 11. Women from around the country with different reasons for being at the conference coming together to share meals – they are my Table 11 Sisters. Since the conference last year, we have kept in touch through Facebook and Facebook's e-mail. They have prayed for me and encouraged me. I have prayed and encouraged them, and now, four of us are meeting in a couple of weeks for a mini-reunion in my hometown. We are so excited to see one another in person.
You know the funny thing is last year, I was one of those smiling ladies who was greeting people as I passed them. And while I may not have had beautifully coifed hair, I was becoming more aware that I was seeing more of these women's inner beauty. I desire an opportunity to continue growing and becoming a better equipped leader, speaker and writer, and this scholarship will be my opportunity to attend.
If your desire is to write, speak or lead, I would highly encourage you to check out Proverbs 31 Ministry's She Speaks Conference. For more information, please check Lysa TerKeurst's blog http://lysaterkeurst.com/2011/03/she-speaks-scholarship-contest-2011. There is also information about the scholarship contest for which I am applying.