Women Wake Up to What is Possible
“Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you that I’ve not grumbled, been greedy, unkind or overindulgent. I’m very thankful for that. But God, I’m about to get out of bed now and I’m going to need a lot of help. Amen.”
Ah, have you ever felt like that as you woke up to a new day? Sometimes we wake up happy to start a new day, or maybe realizing the day is going to bring challenges and we’re going to need help.
But sometimes we’re not so awake spiritually, cosy under the comfortableness with what has become normal. Maybe normal means only attending Sunday service and then not really thinking about it much during the week. Or it could be that we have never really learned how to do Bible study on our own, or we feel like our prayers are always they same and don’t get past the ceiling. Perhaps we feel like we’re supposed to serve in some way but we’re just not quite sure how. What does it mean to wake up in those kinds of situations? The first weekend in May 150+ women from many diﬀerent IBC churches had the chance to explore that thought.
The plenary sessions and the four seminars of this year’s IBC Women’s Conference were all around the theme “Wake Up to What is Possible” and oﬀered practical steps each of us can take to have a little less spiritual slumber and little more thoughtful activity. Jessica Hermann (IBC Bonn) explained Bible study methods and helped women use them right away. Diana Anton (Bucharest, Josiah Venture and Lifesprings International) shared God’s invitation to reach out to those around us just as He has reached out to us. Andrea Wood Schmitz’s (ICF Oberusel) seminar on spaghetti and spiritual gifts might have been a little heavy on the carbs, but it was a great explanation of how our growth in understanding and using our gifts is not always straight and direct. Often it is a bit more messy and intertwined with our own perspective and excuses, input from others, and God’s point of view. A deep dive into Psalm 51 led by Sandy Chadwick (currently in Denton, Texas, but previously in several IBC churches) encouraged women to pray through the broken places in life and recognize God’s mercy.
Uplifting worship led by Nicola Münster, Wendy Penggu, Neshi Mavani (IBC Bremen) and Naldy Veldhuis (IBC Eindhoven) started and closed each plenary session. The main studies were led by Naty Tully (IC Bucharest) who challenged women to recognize their circles of influence, the unending resources in God our Father, the opportunity to intentionally choose joy, and the exciting responsibility to share with others the hope for eternity. The healthy reminder that we need to wake up to the fact that change starts with God’s work in our own lives wound through all of the sessions.
Apart from study times, free-time activities oﬀered a great way to wake back up to group fun and fellowship post-Covid. A bonfire and s’mores, crafts, games, walks in nature, and impromptu coﬀee/tea chats let women mingle and catch up in their weekend away. It was easy for the night hours to pass quickly, and I’m afraid waking up on Monday morning might have been diﬃcult for some. But I think they would say it was worth it.
“Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for your abundant resources and the joy I have in you. Change me so that I can be a positive influence and share the hope I have in you. And God, I’m about to get out of bed now and I’m going to need a lot of help. Amen.”