Girls’ Conference at Beaverton Foursquare.
I really love to volunteer my time and gifts. I don’t know now many gifts I have, but I do have a heart for girls. I love to pray with them and encourage them. I’d like to share with them every mistake I’ve made and protect them from making the same. In the last five years, I haven’t been able to volunteer like I’d like. It’s been a loss with which I’ve had to reconcile. So, when the girls’ youth pastor decided to host a Girls Conference, I immediately wanted to be a part of it. A PART OF IT… I’m off topic, but check out this photo. I saw this sign at Home Depot the other day. I had to take a picture of it and send it to my friend. We both like grammar…
Anyhoo…I’ll be vulnerable here. I wanted to speak at the conference. I’ve never spoken at anything before, and had no reason to believe I would be given a spot, but the first step in anything is to take the step, so that’s what I did. It’s kind of who I’ve learned to be, in order to go in the direction of victory. So, I made that bold request. I didn’t get the opportunity to speak, but I did dedicate that Friday night and Saturday day and evening to the conference.
It is so much fun to be where God is. Who wouldn’t want that?
The age range was 12 to 25. There were girls from our church, other churches, and no church. There were girls who enthusiastically worshiped God and girls who sat back with cell phone and social media in hand. The worship was with Tiffany Thurston, someone with whom Beaverton Foursquare is very familiar. The music was soulful and moving .
The guest speaker was a woman named Havilah. Havilah and her sister (they are twins and minister together) spoke plainly with humor and sincerity to the audience.
Havilah highlighted many issues young people face, but an overriding message for the girls was that we have a CHOICE. Whether it’s a choice about who we spend our time with, our thought patterns, our decisions, we all have a choice. Romans 12:2 says: “Do not be conformed to this world, but continuously be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.” To be a child of God, we should desire to transform our minds, so that we will know God’s will.
Havilah shared more scripture that supported our ability to choose our life, rather than to accept what is handed us. For girls who face the influences of media every day, or friends who take from us, rather than give to us, or relationships that feel good, but aren’t good, or any number of pressures this generation faces, this message was one worth hearing, and for many, it may have been life changing.
Our girls’ youth pastor is full of energy and excitement. On opening night she danced on stage and lip sang to I’m All About That Bass, by Meghan Trainor, with whom I’m obsessed. I love her fun 50s touch and unapologetic message. Before long, most of the crowd was dancing and singing along. Then there was the sweet transition to Tiffany Thurston as she moved us into worship. While Meghan Trainor is great, nothing beat our hearts being lifted to the thrown of Jesus as we sang, Oh How He Loves Us So.
Michelle (our youth pastor) reminded us that we are sisters in Christ. That as sisters we are to support each other and lift each other up. It was a good and necessary reminder. I hear girls all the time throw around words of affection. “I love you!” is expressed often with enthusiasm. Those words are fun to say and to hear. But when rough times fall on us, and the commitment that comes with those words falls short, it’s hurtful when our fellow sisters don’t come through. Sitting next to us at church, walking the halls at school, and even at this conference were people who are hurting. Whether it’s a physical hurt, fighting for their life, or emotional pain caused by any number of things, we don’t have to look far to find a sister who needs us.
It’s easier to look to an organization who needs a volunteer, possibly because it’s a way we can give without a personal investment. But God’s word says in James 2:14-17:
“What good does it do, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but does not prove it with actions? This kind of faith cannot save him, can it? Suppose a brother or sister does not have any clothes or daily food and one of you tells them, “Go in peace! Stay warm and eat heartily.” If you do not provide for their bodily needs, what good does it do? In the same way, faith by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead.”
Talking of sisterhood and support and encouragement is easy for us to buy into. We all like the idea of it. But when it’s hard, do we do the hard thing? It takes intentional obedience to look at that girl who is sitting alone, walk over, and ask her how she’s doing. We’re girls. That’s pretty much all it takes! Obey, and see what blessings you receive when you support your sister, even when it’s hard or scary or uncomfortable.
The evening ended with prayers. Tears flowed. First prayers for physical healing, then prayers for broken hearts within broken homes. My own heart hurt for the brokenness that was evident by the look of sadness and pain in the eyes of some of the girls. My tears flowed, not for myself (hallelujah!), but for these kids who are being pulled in so many directions, and who feel so much is out of their control.
And it’s true. So much is out of their control. But this weekend was a time to show them that what is in their control is their relationship with the one and only creator, who gives us power and strength to overcome. There’s a saying that Attitude is everything. Everything, including our spiritual walk.
1 Corinthians 1:5-8
“For by him you have become rich in every way—in speech and knowledge of every kind, while our testimony about the Messiah has been confirmed among you. Therefore, you don’t lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus the Messiah to be revealed. He will keep you strong until the end, so that you will be blameless on the Day of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.”
He will keep us strong, if we set our eyes on him.
While my volunteering days are few, this was a lot of bang for my buck, and worth every hour I spent.