Today I met up with several of the women involved in leading this weekend’s Women in Leadership Ministry Conference being held at Crosspointe, Foursquare’s classy retreat facility in Virginia. We had dinner together at a super authentic, great tasting Spanish restaurant, shared stories of what Jesus is doing (and has done) in our lives, discussed conference logistics and planning details, LAUGHED, and prayed.

These are my take-aways:

a. I am humbled by and grateful for the oppotunity to be a part of this

b. I am so thankful for the women leading us (Harriet Mouer and Deborah Boles) and the other women on our team who are helping to make this happen

c. I believe this weekend will be significant for every woman – personal, prophetic, and pivotal. And that we are trailblazing to establish the Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. A fire will start here that will spread.

d. Suffering is wanting what you don’t have and having what you don’t want

e. In our suffering and lack, we have the opportunity to know Jesus and have our lives filled with Him in ways that are not possible without that suffering

f. When those we mentor try us or disappoint us, it will trigger a fruit of the Spirit that God is seeking to further develop in us (ie., patience, kindness, etc.)

g. Pioneer women (like those on the Oregon trail), generally were broken in 5 years by the hardship of it all. Women in ministry face the same risk. We need to guard against that

h. One of our primary callings is to protect our children from being wounded by others or damaged by the church; they’re at a higher risk because they’re the children of pastors

i. Few would trade sitting effervescently behind a ministry desk for washing the feet of an old woman in a back room, unseen and unknown to the world. But that’s where Jesus is; that’s where true ministry happens. And once you’ve experienced the fulfillment of that life, it’s unpleasant to go back to the public one!

j. A couple of the leaders have been going through particularly challenging times of grieving, attacks, or loss; we also have experienced some choice gifts, opportunities, and blessings from God. That’s evidence of God at work in us; that’s the abundant life. Don’t lose perspective of the picture by focusing only on the lows. Remember the highs.

k. Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what you’re doing or not doing for Jesus; He’ll call you when He needs you. Don’t need to make a way for yourself. His use of you is not a measure of His love for you.

l. Jesus calls us to death so that we may know the power of resurrection. We can anticipate increased measure of suffering as we become more like Him. We are not to lose hope, but to look forward to the joy and life that we know awaits us.

k. God is preparing us, equipping us, and strengthening us for being His heart, His hands, and His voice when we suffer, or when we do the “basics” of taking care of our families, and forfitting most ministry opportunities, for an extended season.