I was invited to attend a Christian women’s event. I was happy to be able to attend and cover it for our magazine. The event was organized by Tina Tatum, RefresHer 2015. It truly was a refreshing event. Like minded people meeting together to simply rejuvenate and get in touch with the Holy Ghost. It was a wonderful meeting, and I still am disappointed that I missed the last morning.
At one point during the event, Sherri Henley, the keynote speaker noted that we were all together, worshiping and glorying God, Catholics, Evangelicals, Baptists, and Mormons. That was a comforting feeling, because there were no gasps. I don’t think anyone there ‘knew’ who the Mormon was, except Henley. Why should I have had to hold my breath when I was ‘outed’ as the Mormon there? Though, I never really was ‘outed’, because my name was never mentioned.
I was raised Baptist, and attended church with my Assembly of God family when we visited in Arkansas. I’ve experienced the excitement some have when they feel the Spirit speak to them. I never felt the need to express myself in that way while attending church with my Arkansas family. But, I also never thought they shouldn’t be doing it, either. An apology was offered, but not needed following an exhilarating experience, thinking I might have been offended. No. I was not offended. I felt the Spirit, too. I simply manifest it in a different way, with eyes tearing up, and silent prayer. We were all refreshed.
What world are we in when someone feels the need to apologize for a religious experience? One where too many are offended quickly if they experience something other than what they are ‘used to’. Or, comfortable with. Or, believe in. It is a sad place we have entered. May we come into a place that allows us to meet together and pray together, without judgments that don’t affect the worship. Recently radio show host, Glenn Beck, related that when he was asked to speak at a church in Alabama, someone in the audience stated, “Isn’t it wonderful that Glenn has come to his senses and left the Mormon church.” He went on to say that the person had assumed that he was now a member of the faith represented by the church he was now speaking and when the person was informed he was indeed still a Mormon; she was offended that he would be speaking (as a guest in a non religious meeting) at an event hosted by the church because he was a Mormon. Really? We still think on this level?
CourageMakers was created because we are at a time in our world that we need to unite together, regardless of our religious affiliation. We need to unite as people of God. The LDS Church just had their semi-annual General Conference and one of the General Authorities that spoke related the experience he and his family had welcoming the Sabbath with a Jewish friend. They participated in the centuries old ritual, and his thoughts went to all the needless persecutions of a people that are very close to God. He bore testimony of the Sabbath. What a wonderful experience for him to be able to participate in, that only solidified his own testimony of the Sabbath.
In the same vein, Tina Tatum spoke on Eve and the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. She was not using the King James Version of the Bible which I am used to using, however, her statement hit me in the core of my being. Satan asked Eve, “Yes, but did God REALLY say not to eat of the tree?” What a profound statement!! She then related that to the world today and how they use the same method to change doctrine; to tempt followers to walk a different road; and to belittle those who follow the commandments of the Lord. It was a profound statement that still resounds within me! What a simple way to put how the world reacts to the commandments.
The first night Evangelist Latrice Ryan presented a message that so many of us need to hear. She said sometimes God doesn’t ‘fix’ things because you aren’t supposed to fix it, you are supposed to release it. Our world today wants to blame someone else for all things to happen to us, and then try to fix the person that did the deed. Ryan listed many instances that the world wants us to wallow in, but God wants us to release; abuse, rape, molestation, slander, relationships, emotional pain, and on and on. She reiterated that God said it can’t be fixed, it can only be released. What an amazing word that the world needs to hear! Dwelling and reliving and constantly blaming only destroys the person; releasing it and turning it all over to Christ lifts us up and brings peace to our lives. This is a message that transcends all faiths, all beliefs, all tenets, all creeds. It is a worldly message that all need to embrace. Ryan’s message unfortunately only reached the select few that attended the RefresHer 2015 conference; but it resonated.
Aside from the excellent speakers, the women in attendance alone were so inspirational, that one longed for longer time at dinner or free time to continue remarkable conversations. A walk around the lake with a woman who, with her husband, have a ministry for the Christians in Pakistan. What an amazing woman. To walk and talk with her for few select moments throughout the two days was just too few. Her insight to what is really happening with refugees, where the true Christian refugees are (in hiding, not out in the public running to different countries), the sadness of Muslims who hear about Christianity and then have to go into hiding if they believe, and the Christian school they have built in Pakistan. This is an amazing sister in the gospel.
The dinner companions that all shared the same thing in common, they were victims of abuse. Their stories of staying until they woke up to the real danger they were in were amazing to me. Then, their conversion stories and how they each have left the abuse in the past and placed Christ in their forefront. The wonderful sister whose ex-husband showed up at her and her current husband’s home destitute; and before she knew what was happening, her husband allowed her ex-husband to stay. Over a year later, he was beginning to become comfortable in staying with them. So comfortable that he made a threat to her, and somewhere within her she told him to get out of her house, now, not later, but now. She had the courage now she didn’t have before, and perhaps her current husband (a true man of God, in her own words) knew she needed that extra step to truly release all that had happened to her. And, seeing her in a different light, he shrunk down in stature, and left. The dynamic sister that one would never had guessed had endured abuse, told of being a teenager and being shot by her boyfriend because she was leaving him (and he thought she was seeing someone else). These women collaborated their experiences, and by the end of the night, they were discussing their book! The energy that was brought to that group of women over those few days of inspiration and praise created new ministries that alone they might now have conceived.
Pastor Tina Tatum achieved something that the world cannot do because it allows shallowness and pride to get in the way…truly a varied spectrum of belief systems and a true love within the sisterhood of Christ. It’s amazing what can happen when we realize that we are children of God, and regardless of how we come to that knowledge, it is a fact, and when we release the past thought processes, we can refresh the world! Thank you Tina for a wonderful experience, I can’t wait until next year!!