By Michelle Hinshaw
The Church of God Women’s Convention, Waves of Grace, was held in October in Daytona Beach, Florida. Women came from around the world to attend, from countries such as Canada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Bermuda, New Zealand, Uganda, Kenya, Micronesia, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago. As attendees entered the resort, we were greeted by God’s creation beautifully on display through ocean waves. As women gathered for the opening worship service, the National Council and National Board members were honored. Leslie Parker Barnes and the praise team led us in a meaningful worship experience. We were ushered into the presence of the Lord together, and began experiencing a great time of fellowship, worship, and inspiration.
Throughout the weekend, we were challenged by speakers who shared the Word of God with us. Cynthia Thomas shared how we display functioning grace, and Jeanette Flynn challenged us to live in grace. Carol Merritt taught us about the anatomy of a “grace wave,” and Mary Stephens helped us to realize that grace is in the wilderness.
Saturday began with a prayer breakfast. Ruth Ann Lambe, of Bermuda, was thespeaker. It was a time of experiencing waves of friendship and sisterhood, but also a time of reflection on seasons of ministry and walking with the Lord. Prayers were lifted up as we recognized our current season and stood to embrace the prayers of our sisters and brothers. We also remembered the grace we have found through our Savior, Jesus Christ, in the sharing of Communion. Conferences were held later that day to allow the women and men to interact with conference leaders and share with one another. Saturday ended with a banquet and a spectacular production of The Ten Brides of Christ. The visual of the brides being alert and keeping their flame lit was in contrast to the crashing waves outside. Nevertheless, it was a reminder that we must let the Holy Spirit keep his flame burning in our hearts so that we are ready when he comes to take us home!
One of the most profound moments of the convention happened when the women of Uganda presented gifts of appreciation and honor to our national president, Naomi Bryant, and our executive director, Arnetta McNeese Bailey. The women truly presented an eloquent visual of love and grace. Sister Arnetta then shared that on a CWC mission trip to Uganda, Beatrice Abasoola was the woman who had dared to ask the question, “But how do you share the gospel?” That question challenged the mission of the women’s ministry and helped Christian Women Connection give birth to a refocused vision. This very question continues to call us back to the core of what it means to experience a grace wave. How did you first hear the gospel? What are you doing to pour waves of grace over the people in your life whom God is calling you to reach?
As I traveled home and woke to the falling leaves and the signs of autumn around me, I was renewed with hope that the grace that God has given us can still be sent on as waves to others. God reminded me that the same sun I saw rising in the east in Florida the weekend before was the same sun I saw rising in the east from my window in Missouri. I am so thankful to have allowed waves of grace from the Son to wash over me at this year’s national women’s convention.
To learn more about Christian Women Connection, visit www.christianwomenconnection.org.