Herald Journal Columns
Oct. 31, 2005, Herald Journal

Women of faith and inspiration


I wasn’t sure what to expect when my sister asked me to go with her to this years Women of Faith conference.

I immediately said, “yes” but I didn’t know what it was even about.

When it comes to matters of faith and worship, I’m a bit skeptical.

I have heard scams and shams of religious “freaks” trying to heal others, all the while taking advantage of them.

Now, I know this wasn’t of that sort, but one never knows until he or she has been there.

I had seen the program of the women speakers and the special guests who would attend, none of whom sounded familiar.

My sister said it was a good experience from friends who have gone in the past, and if nothing else, it would be a good weekend with my mom and sister.

The conference was held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, and being that neither my mom nor my sister can drive in the cities, I was put in the driver’s seat.

Now, I’m not an experienced city driver by any means, but I enjoy the freeway from time to time.

Not only have I never driven to the Xcel center before, but neither had my passengers.

It’s funny how they, (my mother) has to let me know how to drive.

So, with the stress of driving along with the backseat driving, I was getting a bit frustrated.

Anyway, we made it there, thanks to the good old map.

We checked into our hotel room and hurried to the conference to find thousands upon thousands of women. The Xcel was full of estrogen.

The show began and the auditorium filled with singing and clapping.

It’s hard for me to sing a song I don’t know, even though the words are displayed, but I gave it my best shot.

The vocals on these singers were amazing and two of the Women of Faith singers looked as if they could be teen idols.

The whole weekend was full of laughter, singing, and even a bit of crying.

The women speakers were extraordinary. They each had heart wrenching and heartwarming stories of faith and inspiration.

This years conference was called, “Extraordinary Faith,” and these women, though how hard their lives have been, had it.

One speaker who had an impact on me was Jennifer Rothschild. She went blind as a teenager from a degenerative eye disease, but yet she has all the faith in the world.

She has a dedicated husband who is her sight, also her two sons.

Rothschild refers to Corinthians 2:5-7, and urges us to “walk by faith, not by sight,” because that is what she has learned to do.

I can’t imagine losing my sight, getting married to a man I have never seen, and birthing a child I will never be able to look at, all the while, spreading my life story of unending hope and faith.

Now that is a woman of “extraordinary faith.”

Another favorite of mine happens to be one of the most comical women I have ever heard.

Patsy Clairmont looks and sounds as if she stepped out of an “I Love Lucy” episode.

She is a hilarious Christian speaker, who has become quite adventurous and mischievous after growing up with fear.

She told stories of how she would do what she was advised not to do.

I could relate to this because I tend to be a rebel, although Patsy got herself in a heap several times.

She told of an experience in which her husband brought home a new bike for her. After not riding a bike for over a decade, she couldn’t understand why the brakes moved from the pedals to the handle bars.

Patsy was so excited to go on a bike ride. Her husband warned her to slow down. She commented, “Slow down? I haven’t even got on yet.”

Well, she should’ve listened to her husband.

After a couple minutes and built up courage, she decided to go a bit faster. The houses became a “kaleidoscope of colors” as she zoomed on by.

Suddenly, she noticed her housing passing by. She slammed on the brakes and she ended up flying off and skidding across the pavement.

Her son was there to witness this and he wanted to know what he should do. She moaned, “Don’t tell your father.”

This was just one of the many funny stories that were told over the weekend.

Most of these women are multi-talented. They can speak and make you cry. They can joke and make you laugh. They can even sing and make you shiver.

This was a great experience and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.

Next year, I’ll know the songs when we sing them.

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