Reaching Out to Women of Faith
by CYF staffer Kristin B.
I made my way through the dark auditorium of the Women of Faith Conference in St. Paul, trying to get to my seat, and a group of women stood up to let me pass. Of course, there is never enough room to get by when there are two bodies in the space where a person’s lap and the bottom of their legs are supposed to go. I navigated past the women, stepping over their personal belongings on the floor, which made even less room to go by, hoping that I would not fall on to the peoples’ heads in the row below. Suddenly, a hand reached out to grab mine and steady me while I moved down the row. I smiled and thanked my helper, identified my seat number and sat down. I felt grateful to the woman in the bright red jacket and perfectly coiffed light blond hair.
As I organized my things and relaxed, I listened to a song by Steven Curtis Chapman called “Cinderella.” He explained that he had written the song after a difficult bedtime routine with his two little daughters. Since I have a boy, 10, and a girl, 8, I can relate. The song reminds us to dance with our daughters when they are young, because time is fleeting and we don’t know when we will be separated from them.
Steven is married to Mary Beth Chapman, and they both know something about loss. Two years ago, one of their little girls died as the result of an accident. As Mary Beth related her and her family’s path to deal with their daily grief, it made me think about my own struggle to raise my kids by myself and the difficult financial situation that I endure every day. Even though my situation is not easy, I have my kids. I thought about our own bedtime routine of favorite family songs, prayers and good night kisses and the gratitude that I felt for those two wonderful little people felt enormous.
That’s the message that I took away from Mary Beth’s talk entitled, “Choosing to See.” I started to think about my own relationships - what I am putting in to them and what I need in return, and it gave me courage to ask for the things I want and need from some of the people closest to me and make some positive steps for myself. I want to make good choices for me and my kids and I pray to God every day (sometimes more than once) to show me what He wants me to do. The answers come from so many places and whenever I feel like I’m in the darkest place, a hand comes and gently guides me in the right direction, just like my new friend in the bright red jacket. She caught my eye just before she left and I remember thinking how nice it would be to really get to know her. She came across as such a kind and generous person. As I walked around the perimeter of the convention center and looked at all the booths and tables, where women were purchasing books, bags and music, coffees and smoothies and donating to World Vision, I realized that I do know all of these people. We all help each other every day to get through rough spots, identify and celebrate the important things in our lives and for that I am truly grateful.