Reflecting on 2018 Women’s Spring Event
The following are personal reflections on the Lighthouse Women’s Spring Event that took place on March 24.
I never quite know what to expect from Christian women’s events, especially those with a bring-a-friend evangelistic component, but when I heard that women from our own church would be the speakers for Lighthouse Women’s Spring Event titled “Victory in Christ,” I was instantly interested. I invited Emily*, an international student with a Catholic background whom I’m paired with in Spectrum’s “friendship partner” program, and asked the Spectrum ministry team to be praying for us. The Lord graciously answered our prayers.
That morning when we received a 20-page packet of talk outlines, it was clear this wasn’t going to be the “short inspirational talk” type of women’s event; more a mini-conference, really! Emily was intrigued and asked if we did these monthly. Jenn Chen started the morning off and, as with all the speakers we would later hear, helped us examine our hearts and encouraged us to turn our gaze toward the good news of Jesus, drawing examples of struggles from her own life.
We next attended Aliza Hawkins’ seminar, “Victory over Fear and Anxiety,” in which Aliza talked us through lies we believe about our most common fears and pointed us to key Scriptural passages to combat them. Personally striking to me was her spotlight on the lie, “If I rely on my own strength and take control, I will no longer be anxious or afraid.” The 30-minute break which followed gave the chance to say hi to a couple of Spectrum leaders whom Emily already knew, plus a good opportunity to see what Emily thought so far. Having been raised Catholic in Vietnam, Emily shared that she had always thought of Jesus as a god you were supposed to worship, but one she didn’t really understand. Yet, in her half-year in the US and even in the two talks that morning, she had noticed that Christians here see Jesus as knowable and someone we turn to in the struggles of everyday life. “I like it,” she said with a smile. She shared she wants to know and understand God better and wants her boyfriend to as well.
Ruthanne St. John’s seminar, “Victory over Discontentment,” concluded our morning. Particularly helpful for me was a personal story Ruthanne told which illustrated the point that our hope is sometimes placed in an unspoken expectation that some day things will work out as we desire (which we have no guarantee of)…but that this itself could actually be discontentment masquerading as contentment. It was great that Emily could see a younger Christian woman of a similar life stage teaching from the front. Later, Emily actually added a photo of Ruthanne’s seminar outline to her Instagram story that night!
I went into the Women’s Spring Event hoping it would be Christ-centered and gospel-focused, and it not only met but exceeded my expectations. It was lovely that Emily was able to observe Christianity community on display as we met and chatted with quite a few different ladies. After the event, Emily said she was happy she came and then admitted she had only come because I asked her (twice), even though she hadn’t been particularly interested! God clearly answered our Spectrum team’s prayers and we both came away blessed. What an encouragement to prayerfully ask seemingly uninterested friends to the next event or even church! May the Lord be praised!
I am thankful to have attended the women’s event on victory in Christ. All of the speakers were such an encouragement to help me see how each of my thoughts and decisions are based on my identity, and what an identity in Christ enables me to do. It allows me to look away from myself, and instead to the needs of others. In order to love like Christ loved, I need to love Christ above all. When I make mistakes at work, my thoughts become consumed by what my co-workers will now think of me. Not only is it wrongful worship and idolizing man’s opinion, but is a trap of self-absorption. In this misplaced identity I am unable to love others. How much more do I care about how my actions reflect on me rather than to those it effects or how God can be glorified? I focus on what I can gain or receive from others rather than how I can minister to them. I am reminded of the assurance I have in Christ, and that my greatest need is met in Christ and it is truly God’s approval that matters. With this comes the freedom to love as God has commanded.
The seminar about victory over discontentment revealed how I can easily blind myself to my discontentment. I can fool myself by thinking I am content in my circumstances, while actually expectantly thinking that surely I’ll get what I hope for eventually, whether it be a spouse or an amazing dream job. It is me attempting to build my own peace from my own flawed expectations or idealized timeline. By God’s great grace and love there is victory in all current circumstances.
When I think of victory in Christ, I think of peace. My anxious, fearful, frantic thoughts are calmed, because I can turn to God and hope in what is steady and powerful. I am thankful for God’s word and the promises he provides. Hebrews 6:19 captures this peace: “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” With so many different ways to group and identify ourselves in today’s culture, I need to daily reaffirm myself of the monumental identity I have in the beauty of the gospel—the scandal of grace. My prayer is that I may fear and love the Lord above all else and have peace in his promises.