It is difficult to sum up the incredible time at Sistas 19 over the weekend.
There were plenty of tears, amazing speakers, much laughing and bonding with others and hearing God speak. I had never been to the Sistas conference in Auckland (a Christian conference for women) but Lisa Harper was speaking this year and I wanted to take the opportunity to meet her. It was an amazing weekend listening to inspiring women about God, worshipping our Creator, catching up with friends and making dreams come true.
The mornings started at 6:45, leaving the hotel at 8 to catch a bus and arrive at Conference by 9:15 - 9:30am. At 9:30pm we hopped back on a bus, arriving back at our hotel some time after 10 and rolling into bed before 11 to do it all again the next day.
We had a treat with incredible women of God inspiring us to love louder. Love ourselves, our God and His people.
On Friday and Saturday we heard from the energetic Christine Caine. She is a fire-house of passion for God's word, God's world and His lost and broken people. She talked about people not being made to experience shame as in Genesis 2:25 it is written, "... they knew no shame" This was before the serpent, before the fall, in complete relationship with God. If you want to hear more about Christine's thoughts on shame check out her book 'Unashamed.' It's a goodie.
Several of Christine's thoughts really stuck with me. The most pertinent being ...
"When you tell a generation that they come from nothing, they mean nothing and are going nowhere, they will grow up believing it."
Others included, "Don't elevate what others say about you above what God says about you." "If we don't get it that God loves us then the world won't get it either."
Christine talked about how so often in this day and age we look but we don't see. She used Facebook as an example saying that we scroll on through people's stories looking, looking, looking but not actually seeing. She talked about how more people would like a picture of her with a salad than seeing the news that 16 people had been rescued from slavery through her organisation A21. I was struck by both the sadness and ridiculousness of this fact. In response I am taking a 1 month break off Facebook on my phone. I hope this will continue further than this and that my free time will be filled with reading God's Word and loving others.
She also shared a story of a person drawing a stickman on a whiteboard and saying, "This stickman has as much ability to understand you as you have of understanding God." A great reminder that we are the created not the creator and that our ability to grasp the God of the universe is profoundly limited.
And of course there was the vivacious Lisa Harper who had us bending over in belly laughs and crossing our legs in hysterics with personal stories of vulnerability expertly interwoven with hilarity and spiritual significance. Once again there are many pearls of wisdom that Lisa shared, most of these were amongst wonderful stories or explanations of scripture.
Lisa spoke of God not being mad at us but mad about us. "With one glance of your eyes you captured my heart" - Song of Solomon. She encouraged us to 'poke out' for Jesus and help others to grow their hearts bigger (her daughter Missy's words).
In between speakers I spent time with Mum and several of my friends who had also made the trip up from the South Island. It was such a pleasure to journey with them all through the weekend. I also had the opportunity to see a friend who had served at Watoto while I was there (in a different town.) It was great to catch-up on life and future plans.
I still have a lot to reflect on and digest after a busy weekend. I'm so glad I made the effort to attend and I look forward to seeing how God continues to direct the future while living in this moment of now.