For several months, the local team had been planning an exciting event. Image consultant, speaker and author, Jill Swanson, was coming from Minnesota, and local women prepared to lead breakout groups.
The day before the event, Jill wasn’t able to fly to Calgary due to illness. But God provided in unexpected ways. Kathy Morales got the news early Friday morning and texted her friend Connie Cavanaugh for prayer support. Kathy’s prayer text read,
“I don’t know what to do but my eyes are on You, Lord.”
Kathy didn’t even consider asking Connie to speak because her family has had so much to deal with since her 13-year-old granddaughter Jasmine was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in January. That week Jasmine had just finished her second round of chemo and was sick with a bacterial infection, allergic rash and more.
In reply to Kathy, Connie prayed through her text, “Dear Lord, You knew this. Lead clearly…. Help Kathy to find Your way through this.” She added, “Kathy, I am happy to help if you need me. I have a cold so can’t go to hospital [to be with Jasmine]. I could do one talk if you are stuck.”
Kathy said she had just texted a verse to the Overflowing coordinator, Chelsea Brandt, earlier in the week. “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24). Overflowing would go on with a few tweaks to the plan.
This year’s Overflowing event hosted 143 women. There were two main sessions and the women could choose two out of ten breakout groups during the morning. Lunch was provided as well as opportunities to purchase books and World Craft products. They also raised $900 for Jasmine’s family through the purchase of specialty coffee and “Fight Like a Girl” T-shirts.
Kristie Reddoch, from Multiply Church in Calgary, led the women in songs of worship to start off both the first and second sessions.
Connie spoke during the first main session. Her candid approach to the theme Equipping Everyday Women for Eternal Impact encouraged her audience. Her message in a nutshell: “He is strong ... I am weak. He is God ... I am not.”
“How does an everyday woman like me and like you get through crisis?” Connie asked. “One yes at a time. I choose faith every time I say ‘My God in whom I trust.’”
Connie admitted, “Like most of you, I am an everyday woman with everyday joy and everyday pain. And most of the time, it’s manageable! But every now and then, the heat gets turned up or a bomb drops. When that happens, I’d never make it without Jesus and His Word.”
She described her experience of driving into the rising sun earlier that morning. “The sun never rises. Nor does it set,” she said. “The sun never moves at all. It’s the earth that moves. It either tilts toward the sun or away from it.
“God is like the sun. Never moving. During our times of crisis and fear we can either tilt toward God or away from Him. Last week as Jasmine suffered, I tilted away in my fear. But today, I am tilted back toward the light.” She encouraged other everyday women to trust God during their times of struggle.
As a special gift from DK and Brenda Hale, each participant chose a colourful scarf to take home. After the breakout sessions and lunch the women had a special treat when
Jill Swanson Skyped in for a fun lesson on some different ways to tie their new scarves. Even though Jill wasn’t able to be present in person, the women all enjoyed meeting her virtually.
In the afternoon session, Kathy shared that “the hope of the Gospel is the thread that weaves through everything we do.” It becomes part of the life of the everyday woman whom God sees, knows and loves. When you know this, you can ask God to use you. How?
“Allow God to interrupt your schedule. Ask Him to help you notice where He is working. Love people,” she said.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:8 we read that because we love others we share not only the Gospel but our lives as well. Kathy has learned to share the Gospel in her everyday life. After becoming friends with her neighbours, the Messners, their eight-year-old daughter Hailey accepted the Lord. Years later, Kathy was able to share the Gospel with Hailey’s mom Barb and led her to know Christ. The transformation in Barb’s life positively influenced the rest of her family and in time her husband and their other children accepted Christ.
We can prepare our hearts to share the Gospel as in Colossians 4:2–6. When our hearts are full with the hope of God, His love will overflow on everyone around us.
Chelsea Brandt concluded the conference by encouraging the women to reflect on how God had met them at Overflowing. In the Old Testament people used stones as altars, pillars or memorials as a reminder that they had encountered God. In Genesis 28:13–19, for example, Jacob met with God at Bethel and turned his stone pillow upright as a pillar to symbolize that God was in that place and that he had met with Him. Each woman took home a small stone on which she had written a word describing who God is or what He has done, as a reminder of her encounter with Him at Overflowing.
Reprinted from the April 2019 CNBC Horizon. Read more here