I truly enjoy the company of women and I absolutely cherish the fellowship of women who love God, so you can imagine how blessed I am to be afforded the privilege of traveling around the country addressing “soul sisters.” Whether I speak at a weekend retreat, a one day conference, or a dinner banquet—I always marvel at the incredible talents and testimonies of so many lovely ladies. In the words of Patsy Clairmont,
“I love being a woman!”
A consistent bit of feedback I receive from Women’s Ministry Directors and Pastors is that I seem to genuinely enjoy myself at these various gatherings. I always take my camera along and arrive back home with Kodak memories. At banquets, I visit each table as if I’m the bride. At retreats, I stay up late and walk around in my pajamas in search of chocolate or munchies. I seek out the “golden girls” and ask them questions about life and what it’s like to know Jesus for sixty or seventy years. Clearly, I am an extrovert.
One time, I found myself “assigned” to a role in an impromptu skit, which resulted in the placement of an undergarment atop my head. At one retreat, I spoke at a podium next to a five foot tall pink flamingo for all four sessions. (Those California girls are so wild and crazy.) One time, I led a congo line of women in nightgowns shouting out the lyrics to “When the Saints Go Marching In.” (You know they’re from New York.) One time, I made believe I knew sign language and I signed as the entire group locked arms, swayed, and crooned “Edelweiss,” a healing experience for everyone in the room. (Just love those Presbyterians from Virginia.) One time, I agreed to hike up a mountain during Saturday afternoon free time and the leader of the hike brought a roll of toilet paper along. They weren’t kidding. (God bless those healthy Coloradoans.) At a predominantly African American church, I fulfilled my dream of being Diana Ross as two lovely “Supremes” flanked my sides. We sang a praise chorus “in the Motown way” and, Oh Lordy, we all had a glorious taste of the heavenly places.
At a retreat of 1000 women, the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night and we all jumped out of bed, into elevators, and onto the grounds of the Marriott Resort which was filled to capacity. At least a dozen came “near” to see what the speaker wears to bed. That was special. Two senior saints passed me on the way back to the room and whispered (a bit loudly), “Her hair stays in place,” to which her friend promptly replied, “Looks too neat. Maybe it’s a wig.”
Sometimes, the worship team sounds professional and I later find out they are. (Go, Nashville!) Sometimes, there are three generations present and the granddaughters are friends, and their mothers are friends, and their grandmothers have been friends since time began. (We all need more of what Ohio has.) Sometimes, women send me “recipes for dummies” when I explain I can’t cook. (Nothin’ could be finer than the meals in Carolina!) Those recipes have literally saved my (domestic) life. So many great memories, so much laughter, so much joy. But that’s just half of it.
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