Monday, October 13, 2008


Usually, Christian women's conferences are what I find to be mildly annoying. They tend to be shmaltzy and hokey, more of a "Let's have GIRL TIME" theme than "Let's have GOD time." And let's just face it, being in a room that has reached estrogen critical mass CAN be overwhelming!

I'm not saying that said conferences are BAD, but I AM put off when Truth is watered down, God is presented as cutesy and glittery, and the deity of Christ is squealed about rather than revered. Such was my trepidation in signing up for the True Woman '08 conference, but when I saw the lineup of speakers I suspected that shmaltz, glitter, and squealing would be minimal.

Oh my goodness, it was SUCH a good conference. It was encouraging and inspiring as one would expect, but it was also in-your-face and deal-with-your-sin-NOW. Over the past couple of years, God has been showing me and Matt that in order for us to function how He created us, sin has to be dealt with. On a regular basis. It's what is continually attempting to separate us from Him, and how can the created approach the Creator with this huge wedge in the middle? And how can the Creator form His creation if said creation refuses to budge the wedge? It is humbling to realize the depth of sin that exists inside myself, namely pride, fear, selfishness...those are only the highlights. But I digress.

John Piper was the keynote speaker on the opening night, and I loved how he summed up and presented the purpose of True Woman: Wimpy theology makes wimpy women!! If we accept a watered-down gospel, how can we truly realize God's purpose in creating woman and the role she plays in displaying His glory? Masculinity and feminity belong at the center of God's purpose, namely, Christ's dying on the cross to abolish sin and be united with his bride, the church, revealing the profound mystery of "two becoming one flesh," as symbolized by marriage. (BTW - I took copious notes - these are Piper's eloquently stated words, not mine!) Essentially, true womanhood is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of the His Son in ways that would not be displayed if there were no womanhood. Women have a specific role and purpose in the Body of Christ and in marriage that is so much more than physical or biological.

The rest of the conference - which gave so much to chew on I'll have it tumbling around in my head for months - addressed dealing with fear, suffering, and living an intentionally countercultural lifestyle (essentially, culture says it's all about me, God says it's all about Him!). Each speaker was humorous, humble, transparent, open about her struggles, and displayed every walk of life - married, single, kids and no kids. There was no shmaltz, glitter, or squealing - just women who are thirsty to receive Truth and display it in their homes, families, churches, workplaces - wherever they have influence. Good stuff, man. Good stuff.

The group with whom I went was a ton of fun. We stayed in a pretty sweet hotel, ate at PF Chang's, and laughed a LOT. Unfortunately, I returned with my cold being worse than when I left, so here I am at home today on the couch rather than at work. If I were a new mom with a newborn baby, I sure wouldn't want a nurse waltzing in the room who is hacking and coughing all over the place.

Hope you all had a great weekend! Apparently my readership has increased from three to about five, maybe six. That's pretty exciting that people will actually sit and read my endless thoughts. Later!


Sara said...

nice! can I go with you guys next year?

The Smith Family said...

Wow! Sounds like an excellent conference. Thank you for taking the time to give us a little glimpse. Please write more on what some of the other speakers/topics were write wonderfully and I'd love to hear more.
Love you so much and so very proud of the beautiful Godly woman you have become!
ps I recently found that little gold bracelet you gave me when I was your confirmation sponsor 16+ years ago:) So Sweet!

The Dowling Clan said...

Jenny, so glad to hear GOd used the conference to continue to help you see your sin, which in turn helps us to see how much we need a Savior.
Linda Dowling - saw your blog on the Smiths other sights