Wow! I just had such a cool morning that I wanted to try to share a little of it here.
My friend, Lara, and I are about to finish up our first year of co-leading the women’s ministry at our church. This was the first year that our small church has had a specific, organized effort aimed just at women, so we pretty much had an open path to decide what to do.
We have planned several events throughout this first year, but this morning’s was really amazing in so many ways.
In our church, as in so many other places, a lot of families are facing tough times. People have been out of work for a year or more. We have lots and lots of new moms trying to figure out how to balance their time and spending. Plus, who HASN’T been affected by the slump in the economy.
So, we decided to put together a very practical mini conference on ideas to not only survive, but to thrive, in these tough economic times.
It was really amazing, actually to see how it all came together. Because it was so obvious that GOD really was working behind the scenes.
I mean it even started with our theme. We came up with the acronym SOS for Sharing Our Secrets since we would have six different women speak on their passion in this area.
As women, of course we love a theme. And we couldn’t believe how by this morning, we were able to incorporate nautical terms into the names of each talk: “Help! I’m Sinking!”, “We’re All in the Same Boat”, “Not Getting Caught in the Undertow” (those were just a few).
We came up with cute life preserver stickers for our folders and nametags and even found paper in matching colors with a lighthouse background.
Even better, with a workshop on this particular topic, we were determined to make it free. And it was amazing how we were able to pull everything together for basically NO expense. The women in attendance contributed a yummy spread of breakfast foods, and we used our own computers and printers to add the design elements to spruce up our handouts. We could tell that God had a hand in even the tiny details of taking this event from blah to cool and cute!
Our six speakers covered a variety of topics, all related to the theme. But they all came from different perspectives, varying stages in life and had a unique story to tell.
I was struck by each one. Kara talked about how her small group has been convicted to share what they have with each other. Their stuff. Their extra groceries. Their time. And even their talents (like being able to build a fence or style hair!).
Cheryl shared how she has been convicted to stop spending money on herself for an entire year. It was amazing to hear how God has provided for her specific needs in this area in ways she would have never expected.
Lara is our resident grocery shopping expert. She gave us amazing tips on how she combines coupons and the sales at grocery stores to come away with a shopping cart full of food that is nearly free. Wow!
Emily S. shared her mom’s secrets of stretching food to make lots of meals from one type of meat and how to use ammonia, vinegar and baking soda to clean almost anything.
And Julie told us some amazing stories about how her family had been blessed by “giving dangerously” even when times were tough. As the mother of a son with some serious medical needs, she also has learned to humbly receive help from others, which is probably just as difficult as giving!
I came away from the morning with a new perspective on how I use my resources. Just because I have enough money to buy myself something, doesn’t mean I should. And just because I can get my groceries for a decent price at Meijer might not mean I’m being the wisest steward of my money if I could become more of a “stealth” shopper. I need to think more about sharing. And giving. And shopping to help others, not just myself.
I have lots of thoughts swirling in my head, so I will be thinking about how to apply just one to my life right away. If you attended this morning, I would love to hear your reaction.
And if you didn’t, let me know your thoughts in this area of spending, sharing and giving!