My First Christian Conference: Part 1

Monday, October 7, 2013

Saturday morning I woke up in eager anticipation. I was going to my very first Christian conference about an hour away from where I live. It's been one of my goals for the year to attend a conference so when I recently heard about one through a lady who goes to my church I jumped at the chance!

The Iron Sharpens Iron conferences originated in New England in the year 2001 but quickly spread out across the nation. Originally the conferences were for men only but within the last few years the women's conferences have also taken off. It's a full day of speakers, workshops, worship and fellowship. Needless to say it's a popular event!

This was my first time attending a conference so I honestly didn't really know what to expect. I was looking forward to the numerous speakers as well as hearing the worship leader Natalie Grant! However my nerves almost got the best of me and I almost backed out. By God's grace and strength I mustered up enough courage to take a that leap of faith, and boy am I glad I did!

The day began early as I needed to drive an hour and get at the conference between 8:00 and 9:00 am. After eating breakfast, getting ready and packing a quick snack for the ride home I hit the road. As I drove down the winding hill right near my house I turned up my radio and listened to Chris Tomlin sing "Awake My Soul." It was a fitting way to start out my day. The clouds above me began to part and the sun's rays gleamed through an opening in an overcast sky beginning to clear.

The drive there was pretty uneventful as I sipped my tea and listened to more of Chris Tomlin's new album Burning Lights. Thankfully I was able to find public parking (something I had been nervous about) easily and breathed a prayer of thanks to the Lord. Hundreds of women were already making their way into the massive center where the conference was being held.

I had some time to spare before the morning worship began so I shopped around the many booths set up in the main entrance area. To my delight I found an adorable tote with Nehemiah 8:10 on the front! I splurged and bought the bag after much internal debating. However I really wanted to buy something to commemorate my first conference. (I also have a hard time turning down a good deal.) I made some small chat with other women and eventually headed into the auditorium where Natalie Grant took the stage after the lovely MC greeted all of us in attendance.

                           (I promise you that is Natalie Grant on stage with her band!)

Can I just say that Natalie was amazing?! What a beautiful, energetic and kind woman she is. She has such a beautiful voice and her love for the Lord is just contagious. She truly worships God with her whole heart whenever she lifts up her voice to sing. I was impressed with her ability to engage the crowd. She opened with the song "Our God is Greater" and got everyone moving in worship. I too, who normally am somewhat of an outwardly reserved worshiper, couldn't help but get into the songs she performed.

If you haven't heard Natalie sing before I highly recommend you look up some of her songs on Youtube. Her song "Hurricane" is coming out on her new album Oct. 15!  Click here for more info.

After the morning worship session the a.m. keynote speaker took the stage. I was super excited to hear Shauni Feldhahn speak! About a year ago I read her book "For Women Only" which was extremely eye opening and helpful. I highly recommend all women to read this book, especially married or hoping to be married women. The insights Shaunti has researched about the inner thoughts and ways of men in general is amazing. Men truly are different than women and Shaunti gives not only key information about these differences but practical advice on how to gracefully live in harmony with these differences. The things she talks about is found in Scripture as well. Her talk on this very topic was entertaining and inspirational to me. I was so glad to hear her speak!

                                                                  (Shanti Feldhahn)

Next we had a mini-break before attending our morning breakout sessions. A breakout session at the ISI conference is where a multitude of speakers each hold an hour seminar. The women attending can choose which talk they will attend and then disperse accordingly. After prayerful consideration of who it was I would listen to speak I was now ready to go to my first breakout session. I am excited to tell you that I got to hear Valorie Burton, bestselling author, speaker and life coach give an amazing talk Saturday morning.

Join me next time as I wrap up this two part series of my first experience at a Christian conference!

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