Women of Faith 2012 and Some SGM Coming Events

Last weekend (Aug. 3-4), Sufficient Grace Ministries took a group of ladies to the Women of Faith Conference in Columbus. We have attended the conference for several years. This year, we were determined to get better seats for our group than the nose bleed section where some of us have shaken and clung to the edge of the seat, the last few years, due to the ridiculous height and steep drop-off. Just sayin’.

Alas, like most of the times we plan something, there were glitches. I’m wondering if my need to make and keep everyone happy and present perfection through the events we plan, is part of the problem. Perhaps I have some control issues that need to be alleviated. Some silly pride. Some need to be humbled by being kept constantly in a state of messing up and falling short. You know, so He gets the glory, and all that.

Regardless, for the first time possibly ever, the volunteers did not get premium seating. The year we volunteered to help set up as part of the distribution team for Women of Faith, and promised our group they would receive premium seating. Sigh…

We did get to listen to Mandisa warm up while we worked, though. And, we did get free tickets. And, after some “tough talk” with guest services, we did get better seats. (Not really tough talk, of course! We asked nicely.) Our group was scattered, of course, but we didn’t have to hold on to our seats for dear life!

And, when I felt a bit cranky about it, God did remind me that we aren’t supposed to serve because of what we get. We are supposed to give freely, serving others as we serve Him. Humble pie. My favorite. Or at least you’d think so as much as I eat it!

Speaking of eating…

We enjoyed some Cheesecake at THE Cheesecake Factory….Hallelujah!

Love these girls: Erin, Mattie, Holly, and the sweet babies…

Nancy, Marlene, and Steph…waiting patiently…for CHEESECAKE!


This is me with my dear friend Nancy. I think she needs her own post, because, seriously I stand in awe of her.

Sipping some strawberry lemonade, while holding baby Evanee. And, let me tell you. It wasn’t frozen, but sweet mama, it was delicious. All time favorite non-frozen strawberry lemonade…The Cheesecake Factory. Of course, they would get it right.

We tried to eat at this cool Irish pub. But, even though we arrived before most of the ladies who piled in from the arena in droves, searching for food, no one would wait on us. We waited and waited. Nancy went to get us menus. She wrote down our orders. We went to search the waiter. It was truly the case of the “first shall be last, and the last shall be first”. Only, since we didn’t have time to wait during our hour break, we left and our search continued. We lost Nancy and found out later that she ate lunch at an Italian restaurant with a group of 25 ladies who started out strangers to her, but parted as friends, like everyone Nancy meets.

We ended up with cheeseburgers at the stadium. Wanna bite?

Marlene, me, and Stacie prepared for breakfast the next morning in the hotel lobby, along with Nancy and Steph. I had some Timbits at Tim Horton’s, which made me giggle, since, you know, I have a plethora of Tims. Marlene makes our beautiful Mommy and baby bracelets we sometimes send to families who are expecting a baby with a fatal diagnosis. She also has started crocheting baby gowns. We are so grateful for her servant’s heart, and all the ways she blesses SGM.

This cutie pictured above is Steph, and judging by the smile, chatting to the Tim in her life. She was our fearless…ok, maybe not fearless…driver. And, kept us quite safe as we navigated through the busy city of Columbus and a nasty storm on the way home. Along with…you know…plenty of prayers and help from our heavenly Father. Thank you, Steph!

Pictured above is part of our SGM group…missing Marlene and Stacie…who skipped out early!

Oh…and the conference…well, it was really great and encouraging too. Amy Grant and Mandisa were there to sing, along with the Sandi Patti. I may have peed my pants just a little laughing at Mark Lowry. I cried the ugly cry more than once, especially hearing the inspiring stories of Brenda Warner and her son, Zach and Lisa Harper who had the privilege of sending a message of love from God to a homeless man named Cricket, living on the streets of Nashville (I think Nashville?). But, as Nancy said, “Two-thirds of this trip is the car ride there and back, and the fellowship that takes place among the women.” Yes, indeed. And, you know, the Cheesecake.

Mattie said something about staying one more night, just to fellowship and talk together. I like the idea of having more time together, as that’s the only thing I feel is missing from this conference each year for all of us. More time to talk and encourage and pray for one another. Although those I did get to spend time with shared plenty of those moments. And, for that, I’m grateful.

Perhaps we’ll just have to plan some more events to get together…imperfect though they are sure to be.

SGM Coming Events

Comfort Bears and SGM Work Day ~ Tuesday, August 14, 2012 beginning at 8:30am, at Harvest Fellowship in Hamler, Ohio, the Helping Hands Ministry will be teaming up with SGM to work on Comfort Bears and other SGM related tasks (shipping, addressing, etc.). We will also take some time to pray for the families receiving the Dreams of You packages. We need more groups to form in other areas to make our bears, as the sweet ladies who are currently supplying us with the bears our sewing their fingers to the bone to keep up with the growing number of mothers writing to us. There are currently more than 40 people on the waiting list. And, more sending requests daily. If you are local, we’d love your help. You can cut or stuff…if you are unable to sew. Or pack or address boxes. Or pray. There’s something for everyone. We just need willing hearts. And, if you’re not local, please consider forming a group to help make Comfort Bears. We can get you the info. if you are interested.

One Way ~ Our band, One Way, will be performing at the upcoming Corn City Festival on Sunday, August 19, 2012 from noon to 1:15pm. We would love to see you there!

One Way will also be featured at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Deshler, on Sunday August 26, 2012, performing the worship music and giving a message on shining our light to the children and youth on their Rally Day.

Coming soon…

In September, we will be teaming up with Coastal Reflections to host a fundraiser for SGM, where participants will make their own glass jewelry! So excited about this, and will be announcing a date soon!

In October (possibly Saturday October 13th)…

Kelly Gerken, Holly Haas, and Jennifer Ross are working together to plan a day of Remembrance and Encouragement for mothers who have experienced the loss of a baby in the Petoskey/Harbor Springs area this October. There will be a few speakers to share about the following topics:
Finding Hope Through Grief’s Journey
Making Precious Memories ~ Incorporating Your Baby’s Memory into Your Family Celebrations
The Effects of Sibling Grief and Ways to Support Grieving Siblings
We will also have a time of sharing, prayer, and a remembrance/candle lighting ceremony honoring our babies in heaven. We will be bringing some items to share with the mothers, from the Dreams of You Shop, and some other gifts to encourage. There will be refreshments, and a time to encourage one another in the telling of our stories. This special retreat will be hosted by Sufficient Grace Ministries with no set charge for the participants. Free will donations are appreciated to help cover the costs of this event. We are hoping to spark interest to the mothers in the area, as we believe this event could be a great comfort to those walking this path. October is national pregnancy loss awareness month, and a special time to honor these precious lives, and encourage the mothers with grieving hearts. Please let us know if you are interested in attending. More details coming soon!!

Please pray for the upcoming events and for SGM…and please pray for me, as I have been ill with some possible virus that came upon me suddenly and fiercely in the middle of the night upon returning home from the conference. It seems to be leaving much weakness and achy stuff in it’s wake. Nothing compared to what many people suffer through each day, but a hindrance to what we need to accomplish right now to serve others. So, if you could pray for this little thorn in the flesh, I would be so grateful.


  1. Kristina Bodey says:

    Looks like you all had a wonderful time!!! I always end up in “those” seats… and always end up in the hall way after about 45 seconds of trying to find any comfort in the view! :)

  2. It was so much fun. I would love to be close enough to help out with the work days :( Sufficient Grace has a special place in my heart and Women of Faith is “my” weekend once a year that I go away and quite honestly get out of my comfort zone and into it at the same time (I know that makes no sense at all). Thanks for working hard to let us all volunteer together and get our free seats and organizing our hotel and everything Kelly! I always feel so refreshed when I go to Women of Faith and am surrounded by women who “get it”.

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