By Amy Balzer-Pemberton

I was lucky enough to attend the Women of Faith conference for the third year in Columbus, Ohio, with 24 other women from the area. This year’s theme was “From Survival to Revival,” which is pretty appropriate and hits home as a wife, mother and business owner.

There are a lot of days I tell myself, like a lot of other women, “Just one more thing…” and then I can relax, take a few moments to enjoy my family, etc. Of course, I never get to the bottom of the to-do list, or don’t take that time with my son, and the guilt sets in.

This was a rare weekend away from work and family, and I was determined to recharge. If you’ve not been to the conference, the format of each day alternates between inspirational speakers, worship music and features a known Christian musician towards the end of the day. This year we had Matthew West and CeCe Winans. Both had us on our feet, dancing and singing along.

Each one of the women who spoke to us brought us to tears, made us laugh, caused us to reflect. Usually in that order… over and over!

Liz Curtis Higgs (author of “The Bad Girls of the Bible”) was probably my favorite. I got to see her last year as well, and I just want to KNOW her! What an up and down life she’s had and how she always stresses our God is a God of second chances. I thought to myself, “Isn’t she amazing?”

“Isn’t she amazing?”

Then there was Lisa Harper, a theological scholar (and comedian), whom I have seen the past 3 years and follow on Facebook. She has recently gone through the process of adopting a beautiful little girl who is HIV Positive from Haiti.

As a first time Mom at the age of 50, she told us hilarious tales, then came that laughing and crying again. She has waited for over two years to bring her daughter home, and we were able to see Missy on stage. As everyone’s tears were flowing I thought, “Isn’t she amazing?”

As everyone’s tears were flowing I thought, “Isn’t she amazing?”

As we got back in the car each night after the conference we were all filled with the Spirit and excited about what we’d heard and felt each day. Everyone had different takeaways from the day, such as the music and speakers.

I personally loved hearing which books/music they were going to take home with them. As we drove to and from Columbus, we had ample time to visit and get to know each other.

I think as women, this is an important step in friendship, to know each other’s “stories.” We covered the topics of where we grew up, how we met our husbands, our kids, our careers, our faith, even our birth stories.

Some of these ladies have children with health and learning challenges, others delivered almost toddler size babies (no lie!) I was humbled by their belief and faith that our lives are the way that God crafted them to be. I had a moment as each of them spoke thinking… “Isn’t she amazing?”

I had a moment as each of them spoke thinking… “Isn’t she amazing?”

I think my husband was pretty tired of hearing me go on and on about how “amazing” each of these friends are, but I hope we always can find inspiration in our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

As people, we often believe other people’s lives must be so easy, and if only this was different, if only I could be like them, my life would be perfect, but having been at the conference and in the presence of these wonderful women, it’s easier to look in the mirror and say “Isn’t she amazing!”