I hope I am home when you start to read this. Six weeks living out of a suitcase is way too long for me. I’m so happy to be back in my own nest. Our CONQUER 2018 Conference: Be Brave Grow Strong on October 12, and 13 is fast approaching. This is going to be one of the best women’s conferences you could invest in. So far we have around 600 women registered. It’s going to be amazing. You will not want to miss it.
I’ve invited some of our breakout workshop speakers for the Conference to guest blog so that you can get to know their hearts and their ministry. Today, Sandra Lovelace will talk about How to Invest Bravery and Gain Strength. Sandra attended the 2016 CONQUER conference and her life radically changed. She hasn’t looked back. For a sneak peek at her outward transformation, go to the end of the blog to see her before CONQUER 2016 picture and her after CONQUER 2016 picture. Jill Swanson and image consultant (another one our workshop speakers) helped the true Sandra come out and sparkle.
What does bravery look like? The image that comes to me is a person jumping off a small platform high above the earth. Maybe that’s because a recent episode of Returning the Favor shows Mike Rowe accomplishing that exact feat. In my mind’s eye, I saw myself up there and wasn’t sure I could do it. Could you?
Mike had the extra motivation of cheering friends and rolling cameras. A safety harness and members of his crew on the ground provided a sense of security. Yet, as he paused at the edge and looked down, the obvious risks and painful possibilities likely pumped cortisol through his veins. He jumped anyway.
Maybe you could use some bravery about now. You’ve started to realize how flat your life has been … tending everyone around you to the point you’ve lost yourself. Or you’ve known you’re stuck for a while … but are afraid to even consider ways to break away. Then again, maybe like me, you’ve taken steps toward freedom, but you could use encouragement and support to walk in the fullness of God’s design.
Our dilemma isn’t surprising. The Scriptures report similar stories of women living seemingly status quo lives who move into distinctly exceptional roles. For example, a relative brought an orphan girl from the countryside to his home in a distant city. A royal edict carried her to the king’s harem and eventually to the throne as his queen. The book of Esther records how she adjusted and grew through the challenges.
When the same relative informed Queen Esther of a conspiracy against her people, she turned to the great I AM who’d been beside her since childhood. She directed the Jews of the city to fast and pray for three days in preparation for her to petition the king for relief. She gathered with her own servants to do the same.
As she walked the hallways of the palace that pivotal day, she knew the moment she passed through the doorway into the throne room without permission she might forfeit her life. Surrounded by a community of support, she also knew her purpose and duty were clear. Confidence in the One who held her future took her across that historic threshold. And His strength and favor prevailed to the rescue of a nation.
The same provision awaits us modern day wallflower women caught in a wallpaper existence, decorating the lives of others. Jesus intends us to live abundant and dynamic lives (John 10:10). We’re God’s masterpiece, transformed by His work with a purpose designed in advance for us to fulfill (Ephesians 2:10). As He did for Esther, God provides the information, affirmation, and inspiration we need to grow out of our orphan selves into the heirs of promise He created (Ephesians 4:20-23).
Let’s all take hold of the opportunities He brings to exercise our bravery.
- Put our names on the list of people to care for.
- Pause and consider what we’d like to do, and do it.
- Respond with a gentle but firm no instead of always saying yes.
- Express how we really feel instead of what someone wants to hear.
- Be intentional about building a supportive community of safe people.
- Start detaching from a toxic environment, responsibility, or relationship.
If a boost of motivation would be as helpful to you as it was to Mike Rowe, the Conquer conference is definitely the place to be. Women who’ve stepped out to grow into their call will equip and empower you. I know because God used Conquer 2016 to encourage my transformation. And I’ll be there this year with a workshop titled Time to Be YOU: Without Feeling Selfish or Sinful.
Perhaps God is preparing you to step off that tiny platform, like a trapeze artist at the circus, to fly in the purpose He designed for you. If you sense Jesus inviting you to Be Brave, Grow Strong, register for the Conquer conference today. I hope to see you there.
Friends, what might God be asking of you to be or to do that requires a step of courage right now? What steps can you take to grow yourself stronger?
Sandra Allen Lovelace has been serving women and their families for nearly forty years. She’s an award-winning speaker who exudes authenticity and compassion forged in a chaotic childhood topped off with thirty years in church culture up close and too personal as a pastor’s wife. Sandra’s a homeschool pioneer known for her engaging style, as well as the portrayals of biblical women that intrigue and delight her audiences. Featured on television and radio in the US and internationally, Sandra’s makeover appears in an interview on Fox TV.
Sandra has an extensive list of published print and online articles, curricula and Bible studies, and two book titles. Her blogging world is more than 10 years old. She’s pleased to be the model for Chapter 1 of Jill Swanson’s new book, Simply Stylish – Look Great, Spend Less. Wallflower Women is the working title of her current manuscript. Through creative nonfiction, she provides a solid foundation of Biblical truth to evaluate the dilemma and offer practical strategies. Elk Lake Publishing Inc. is scheduled to make the title available in April 2019.
Sandra lives near Greenville SC and enjoys hiking with a camera, best done on an international adventure. Connect with her and keep track of the progress with Wallflower Women at SandraAllenLovelace.com, her Blog, Wallflower Women Conversations, Facebook, and Twitter.