Women of Faith. For Christian women it's a household name, right? I'd heard about it. Read about it. Assumed it was like a girly-girl, hormonally imbalanced, over-sized support group accented with "contemporary" music, light humor and perhaps some female-themed sermons. "Over The Top" but not exactly in the best way. I was more than a little worried about spending 2 days with 1000's of women who were mostly strangers to me, crammed into plastic fold-down seats with emotional turbulence abounding.
I carpooled with a carefully chosen friend, one with a scientific, practical mind and not given to dramatic outbursts. We entered the arena along with a throng of women who were eagerly greeting each another, chattering, hugging, shrieking, laughing, taking photos, group hugging. You can imagine. I found myself smiling and calmly engaged on the outside, overwhelmed and scribbling details furiously on the inside. Hair. Jewelry. Perfume. Matching shirts. Embellished chef's hats. Pink tiaras. Women. Lots of women. 5 minute countdown.
House lights down. Stage lights up. Worship team bringing life and energy to the simply decorated stage. Creatively arranged music (produced for women's voices - thanks for lower keys!) was interspersed with speakers Patsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews. I first heard Patsy speak at Recreate 11 in Franklin, TN. This woman is a gifted and colorful communicator, a true lover of words, with a solid Biblical basis undergirding her hilarious, masterfully woven stories of her well-lived life. Andy Andrews probably deserves an entire blog post of his own. He was constantly in motion. Not like poetry. Like a whirlwind. I had read "The Noticer" when it first was published. Always imagined what the author must be like: southern; well-spoken; southern; funny; from the south; clever; southernly; intelligent. I was glad that his real-life voice matched his writing voice. His constant motion was somewhat distracting to me and at times I lost his main point because he tended to suddenly take a rabbit trail to the left or right, but his wisdom, his love and respect for life and family, and his gift of storytelling made me a fan.
After lunch, there was a Q&A session with Patsy and Andy answering questions from the attendees. This was probably my least favorite part of the weekend. I found myself somewhat frustrated with the advice they gave. Or maybe I was frustrated with the advice they didn't give...oh please don't tell me I've become an "armchair counselor!"
As quickly as the morning session had begun, the afternoon session was over. We filed out of the arena, suddenly ravenously hungry for dinner and de-brief time. My heart was full, my mind was spinning, I wasn't sure what the evening session would be like, but I suddenly knew that I had been inexplicably drawn in to this over-the-top entity called Women of Faith and I had to see what would happen next...
[I was given 2 free tickets to this event in exchange for this blog review...thanks BookSneeze!]