Women of Faith

For months my friend Missy and I had tickets and planned to go to WOF in Omaha in August. Having never been, I had no idea what to expect. I think, though, in hindsight I had this vision of WOF being like my yesteryear experiences at youth camp as an adolescent. I envisioned I (we) would experience raw emotion and certainly would shed some tears.

Missy & I being "dropped off" at WOF by our Husbands. We were blessed to stay at the hotel that is actually attached to the Qwest Center by a sky walk.

I was surprised. Missy, too. This is good because otherwise I would feel like a nut job~like it was my fault WOF wasn’t what I expected. Don’t get me wrong…..there was PLENTY of wonderful things experienced during the two days~it just wasn’t what I expected thats all. Not that this is bad. It just is.

Worship.I was hoping (counting on) experiencing amazing worship. WOF has a 4-person worship team. They were charismatic and had beautiful voices but their “organized, intentional” criss-cross the stage movements reminded me of watching cheer-leaders. Honestly, I think the real challenge for me was that the team sang to all pre-recorded music. I’m a band girl. Give me a good band during worship and I’m on fire. I actually put this on my comment form that I turned in. I think this is why I really enjoyed Mandisa and Amy Grant’s concerts because they had live music accompany them. I felt like a kid during Mandisa’s concert when everyone opened up their cell phones (so they were lit up) and waved them in the air.

Mandisa was so "fun"-yeah, that is a good word for it...."fun". Here she was jamming barefoot!

Sandi Patty was amazing as I mentioned in this post. In reference to the whole worship experience, what happened while Sandi was singing and signing at the same time is what I think I yearned for. While Sandi was singing, God was literally palpable in that arena. His presence was soooo strong. I’ve second-guessed myself since WOF and am as I am typing this very instant, too that perhaps it was all me. Perhaps my heart wasn’t open enough during worship to truly “feel” it. Maybe it was all me and had nothing to do with the WOF worship format/presentation.

Amy Grant. Ahhhhh, amazing. This was her first WOF. I had mixed emotions about her before her concert. She hurt my feelings when I was a teenager. Ha! I know how odd that must sound but when she crossed over from Christian pop to secular music my heart broke. And, then she got divorced and that cinched my hurt feelings. Ridiculous, I know. I had (have) no right to put her on a pedestal prone to standards above the rest of the living, eating, breathing people of the world. But I did. No more, though. Now that I am old enough to think back to when she crossed into the secular music world I now believe it all happened for a purpose. God used Amy in such a way to introduce Christian music to the secular world because think about it…..it is nothing now-a-days to hear a Christian song on a regular plain ol’ radio station. This used to not be. I think Amy Grant played a huge role in this. Did you know she is the one of only 2 Christian singers with a star on the walk of fame?

And, she was so for real. If that even makes sense. During her concert between songs she would kind of talk to herself, even saying at one point “Ya all can talk amongst yourselves you know”. And about her divorce….I think WOF was good for her, too! Right before her concert there was a skit about a 9 year old girl who’s parents divorced and their lives “went on” but she was stuck in the middle. Amy actually commented during her concert how this struck her, saying that when she got divorced her girls were only 9 and 6 and she said she realizes now how true that skit was. Both she and her ex’s lives went on (remarried, etc) while the girls were stuck and pulled in between still. When she was done she came back on stage for an encore and while singing invited Sandi Patty up to sing with her. Sandi’s mic wasn’t working so they had to share a mic. It was totally impromptu and fun. Afterwards, the WOF hostess (as they refer to her) said that it was the first time Sandi and Amy had ever sang together and that they weren’t even going to charge us extra! Too cool, it was.

Sandi and Amy together....for the first time EVER

So, the jist of my WOF experience thus far centered around the live music, no surprise to me. My favorite speakers were Patsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews. Knowing nothing of these two prior to WOF, I had no expectations what-so-ever but I LOVED them both. And, learned from them, too.

Andy was hilarious. Full of ADHD, the camera crew had a hard-time keeping up with him. Some of the things I took home from Andy:

  • Good things in our lives happen because of how we act. Great things will happen because of how we act when things are unfair. All too true.
  • There might not be a lot of jobs out there~but there is a lot of work to be done.
  • Today I will choose to be happy. I will choose to be grateful. It is more tough for seeds of depression to take hold of my heart if I make these choices.
  • He talked about different dialects that we all have as men and women. The puppy dog, kitty cat, canary, goldfish. He goes into this more in his book, The Noticer which I very much want to still read. I think Adam is a puppy dog and a little bit of a kitty cat. He needs to be told he is a “good guy”-that he does “good” for us but he also likes to be loved on (meow). I’m kind of like a goldfish. Please keep my water clean and straighten my castle occasionally. I don’t need a whole lot of touchy-feely lovin’ but I do like me a nice clean house!
  • He challenged us to smile while we talk. He challenged us to do this 90 seconds everyday in the mirror.
  • Greet each day with a forgiving spirit. Forgiveness is a decision; not an emotion. Your emotions will follow your decisions. This is tough for me~I think I’m good at forgiving but not so hot at forgetting…
  • Do not let your past control your destiny
  • There is a big difference between a choice and a mistake. “I’m sorry” will work when you make a mistake but “will you forgive me” are the only words that will work when you make a bad choice. 

Patsy Clairmont is amazing. She is a hoot. She started out our first day and told us that she likes to think of herself as “not weird but rather a limited edition”. LOVE IT! We are all limited editions after all. Some of my favorite highlights from Patsy:

  • We make the most drama for ourselves.
  • Knowing=knowledge; while Living=wisdom.
  • Change can be good. Word.
  • Put boundaries on your emotions so your feelings don’t unreasonably rule you. A fool vents all her feelings. A wise woman holds them back; keeps her boundaries in place.
  • Harness your thoughts. My mind can create a problem that isn’t there. “Refuse the negative thoughts in the name of the Lord”.
  • Do not be a defensive person.
  • It is safe to be still and know that He is God.
  • Remember to control your words. So true, isn’t it? Words can hurt.
  • We are never too old to take steps towards maturity. I, for one am going to be taking steps FOREVVVER.
  • Fear has friends: anger, guilt and shame. If you are fearful the others will occur. Guard your heart against fear! This reminds me of the fear-tension-pain cycle I teach in Births R Us. The more fearful of the labor process we are, the more tense we will be and therefore, the more pain we may feel.

The WOF hostess was Lori Robertson. She seemed really sweet but also very scripted and not very charismatic. And, I love me some charisma! I think one of the main things I need to remember about my WOF experience is that they (WOF) are trying to target multi-denominations. It takes all types. While I, personally, do not enjoy worshipping from a hymnal there were (for sure) some women there that do, etc. It kind of reminds me of during Amy Grant’s concert there were some ladies behind us that wanted us to sit down. It frustrated Missy and I because we were there to party! Party with Amy Grant! Sitting was the last thing we wanted to do.

Marilyn Meberg and Lisa Welchel also were speakers. For some reason I didn’t feel very connected to Marilyn and Lisa. I did more so to Lisa only because I know her, I think. Blair, from Facts of Life, it was fun to see Lisa in person. And, she truly looks the same as I remember from the show!

My girl Missy & me...

The one thing that really bothered me about the conference was that they really didn’t have an alter call. It wasn’t until the second day an hour and a half before it was supposed to end that they talked about salvation and asking Jesus into your heart. They did the whole “pray this prayer with us” deal and then announced where the room was that we could go to if we needed prayer or wanted someone to pray with us for our salvation. An hour and a half before the END of the conference. I sooooo wish they had that room open and had announced it throughout the entire two days because I am sure-I KNOW– there were women there that probably needed it. I received a follow-up email from WOF saying that 747 women checked the little box saying that they asked for Christ to come into their heart for the first time during that prayer. IMAGINE how many more women could have been reached if there was an alter call or if they had at least had the prayer room open earlier! I was disappointed and bummed about this.

There you have it. My WOF experience. There were some fabulous moments, for sure. Will I go back? Well, that is a loaded question! Initially on the second day while visiting with Missy I actually said I didn’t think I would but God has other plans for me, folks. I was the sole recipient-the ONLY winner- of two tickets for life to WOF. I’ve never won anything! At first I thought-oh my goodness it is my lucky day~I should go to the boats and play craps (since the boats are literally right next door to the Qwest Center). Quickly I thought, no….that isn’t very Godly. Ha! Then when I filled my tank up with gas on the interstate on the way home I thought~I should buy a lottery ticket (I am lucky right now!) but again, I decided~not Godly so I didn’t! 😉

So, yes….I will be going back to WOF. And I will be able to bless others, too on the years that I cannot go. Because, obviously God wants me to go back…As always, He has plans for me and who am I to argue with Him?

2 thoughts on “Women of Faith

  1. Very interesting write-up, Shana. I KNOW WHAT YER SAYIN’ on the canned music. That drove me up the ever-lovin’ wall at WOF. Of course, my style would have been different from other’s styles, like you said, so it probably would have been impossible to please everyone. And like you, I didn’t like the overly rehearsed jigs they did. I mean, I get needing some order to things, but it seemed so phony.

    And I just want to say, regarding the alter call: do NOT EVEN WORRY ABOUT THAT. I am 100& confident (I think…) that no other women would have come to the Lord, had they done more. The thing is, I don’t think God works on our schedules. It is a miracle to me ALL THE TIME that ANYONE comes to the Lord just because there is an alter call. Like… what are the chances? Is it for real? Was it just based on emotion? Will it “stick”? Know what I’m saying? Do I? I guess I’m saying that God calls each of us towards Himself all the time. And when the time is our time, HE makes it happen. No matter what. Whether it’s during at alter call at WOF, or a month later as we’re reflecting on it, or whether we never go to WOF and we find the Lord beside the condom machine in a truck stop bathroom in a moment of desperation. God wasn’t taken by surprise at the lack or presence of alter calls at the conference, and I know His stuff happened when it was supposed to. So rest your sweet little head, lady, and don’t give that another worry. God is always calling. People are always answering.

    I do think it is so telling of your soft heart and wonderful nature that your critique of WOF had not only to do with what YOU wanted, but that you actually CARED about the hearts and souls of all of the other women there. You are awesome, so totally awesome, Shana.


  2. I hear what you’re saying, Rachel….I DO wish they had at least had a prayer room open because I bet a lot of women would have beneifitted from it; but you are correct….we are called to God when we are called to God.

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