Has God ever told you to do something that you didn’t want to do?
In my experience, if I really don’t want to do something, it’s usually God.
That’s how I felt after I spoke at Doreen Penner’s retreat in Canada and she mentioned coming to visit me here in America and us having a retreat here.
I didn’t want to be rude. I love Doreen. She’s an awesome person. I wanted to see her again.
But as soon as she said it, I thought, “Oh, NO! God is going to make me do another women’s retreat!” I’d planned and hosted two before, and I knew they are:
- a lot of hard work
- a lot of stress
- a lot of expense.
And guess who’d be doing the hard work? Me. And who’d probably be paying for most of it? Ray and me. I didn’t want to deal with the stress, either.
I balked. I resisted. I dug in my heels and wouldn’t even answer her the first two times she mentioned it.
The third time Doreen mentioned it, I knew I needed to answer her. I prayed to God and talked to Ray about it. I hoped they’d both say no.
To my chagrin, God told me to do it and Ray said he thought I should do it.
I’m glad I did now.
The powerful worship and the freedom of dance
The worship and praise was led by Dr. Naima Johnston-Bush. What a voice! I didn’t want her to stop singing.
Many women said the worship and praise was one of the most powerful parts of the conference. Women laughed, cried, and danced.
When I saw my friend Suzy Bunton dancing out front and the young girls dancing in the back of the room, all I could do was smile. God’s presence was there. That’s all that mattered to me.
Suzy said that God told her to kick off her shoes, wave a banner, and dance. She’s been in pain in her hips lately, but as soon as she started dancing, the pain subsided. Dancing sets you free.
The anointed speakers – the rhema word
Each of the speakers shared a rhema, timely, anointed word that imparted truth and hope to the 39 women present.
- Helen Reimer shared about her quadruplet sister dying in utero and one of her triplet sisters and her mother dying in a tragic car accident when Helen was only 4 years old. She was told they were “sleeping” at the funeral home and didn’t understand why they wouldn’t wake up. At the funeral service, she witnessed dirt being shoveled on top of the caskets and began screaming and crying because they were throwing dirt on top of her sister and her mother. She also shared about her numerous childhood sexual abuse incidents. Many women came up to Helen afterward to share with her that they, too, had been sexually abused in childhood. Helen shared the healing she’s experienced and the hope she has today through faith in Christ. Women cried during Helen’s presentation time. God’s presence in the room was strong as she shared her powerful story.
- Shelley Valasek shared about her many medical problems and the nearly-fatal car wreck she had last year when she almost died. When she showed the power point picture of her car that was like a smashed can, the audience gasped. Shelley’s message is that God has a Divine Purpose for your life. You will not leave this earth until that purpose is established. Shelley’s presentation moved many women to tears, especially one young woman in the audience. Each time Shelley speaks, she gives away a little gift to an audience member whom God shows her during her speaking time. For this conference, she’d bought a beautiful, “bling” butterfly thumb ring and gave it away to a young woman who is recently widowed and a single mom, whom she knew nothing about – it was God! I talked with this woman during a break and she had tears of happiness in her eyes from this gift from Shelley. She had been deeply touched by Shelley’s presentation and this gift. God amazes me how He does things!
- Doreen Penner shared about the transformation of the caterpillar to the butterfly. When Doreen first mentioned having a conference here, she envisioned a yellow butterfly and felt the theme would be one of freedom and transformation. God gave me the word “released,” and our incredibly talented, artistic daughter Leah drew a yellow butterfly and a yellow daffodil with her graphic art tablet, that became our logo for the conference.
(I was so thankful that both our daughters, Heather and Leah, helped me so much to prepare for this conference and attended.)
Some of the highlights from Doreen’s presentation were that
(a) God has a dream for you (you’re meant to fly!);
(b) God needs to first prepare you for your calling (the caterpillar must grow to become the beautiful butterfly it was meant to be);
(c) Transformation involves FAITH, developing your character, and timing (the caterpillar can’t leave the cocoon early. God has the perfect timing for you to fly.);
(d) God wants you to be set free – free to BE, free to SERVE, and free to LOVE. Doreen is one of the most polished, professional speakers I’ve ever seen. She is filled with wisdom and exudes peace. She gave us the spiritual “meat” for this conference. I loved what Doreen said: “Spread your wings. You never know how far you will fly.” AMEN!
Karen Wells talked about the freedom of forgiveness. When we forgive, we are set free! A few of the ways we can identify that we are holding onto unforgiveness are:
- You feel emotional pain.
- You’re waiting for someone else to be sorry.
- You feel like it’s too hard.
- The person will only do it again.
- You’ve tried and it didn’t work.
- You don’t feel like forgiving.
Forgiveness is a decision, a choice. Jesus by choice died on the cross so you could be forgiven. He is our example. Forgiveness sets us, the prisoner, free!
One thing which Karen said which struck the women was that maybe the person we need to forgive is ourselves. Karen’s presentation and personality of joy and laughter truly blessed the women.
The Italian catered lunch
With this event, I knew I’d have way too much to do to cook or even to delegate cooking, so I had the lunch catered by Perazelli’s Italian Restaurant. I never really got a chance to sample it other than a couple of bites, because I was so busy, but I heard it was delizioso: they served salad, meat lasagna, bread with garlic butter, and cheesecake for dessert.
At 12 noon, they brought the food that had warmers underneath, set it down on the table, and the women dug in. Easy – love it! I also loved the cute purple and yellow butterfly paper plates, cups, and napkins I found online. Catering was DEFINITELY the right decision!
My friend Ruth Christian also made chocolate brownies for the afternoon snack, which were EXTRA delicious!
My wonderful helpers!
I’m so thankful to:
- God for His wonderful, loving presence at the conference;
- My hard-working, devoted husband Ray Jones for being a work horse the last 6 months to help (financially) make this conference happen;
- My team of intercessors who faithfully prayed the last 6 months for me, my family, and this conference;
- My amazing team of personal assistants who unselfishly said yes to God, encouraged me, and worked so hard to help make this wonderful event happen;
- Our incredibly generous sponsors who donated 21 (yes, twenty-one!) door prizes and contributed to the women’s goody bags. Sponsors, YOU MADE AN INCREDIBLE DIFFERENCE IN WOMEN’S LIVES!
Words aren’t enough to thank you all! I couldn’t have done this without all of you!
What women said about this conference
“I just wanted to say thank you for hosting and sponsoring this special day. Each of the women who spoke had such powerful messages and I took something away from each of them. Even though I was raised in church, I am still young in my Christianity and am looking to women like these to learn from… Today was awesome and I’m truly looking forward to your next women’s faith event. In Christ, Lindsey Dawson.”
“Thoroughly enjoyed conference. Loved the theme. The worship music and prayer was powerful.The speakers were incredible. Food and snacks delicious and perfect. So well organized and could not miss that seeing/sensing the heart of God for all involved was a key ingredient in the preparation and activities. The seven hours just flew by.”- Carol Nyhan
“Beth did a super job with intro’s and pulling all this together. Naima was very awesome. Helen did so good sharing her testimony and I was very touched. Rochelle shared about “empathy,” which brought understanding. Doreen’s presentation was clear and concise. I appreciated being encouraged that caterpillars change from the inside out. Karen was phenomenal, very well done, relatable, fun, and a great blessing.”
“The music was very anointed. I got free from some weights during praise.”
“Overall, the whole experience was wonderful.”
“The speaking time, the experiences shared, the continuing growth, and the wisdom shared was invaluable.”
“Beth Jones’ Released Conference 2013 was a joy and a privilege to be a part of. With amazing attention to detail, spiritual discernment and great wisdom, Beth crafted a conference that was truly anointed. The presence of the Lord was greatly felt as she served as first a prayer warrior for all in attendance and then as a gifted hostess for the event. Beth truly hears from the Lord, adjusting as needed, serving willingly and putting together an event that truly released many women from bondage, fear and personal struggles. As the Worship Leader for this event, Beth’s planning and prayer set the atmosphere for me to minister in freedom! I would be honored to attend or serve at another event hosted by Beth Jones. She is truly equipping women to use their gifts for God!” – Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Broken Box Ministries
The highlight for this conference was meeting my precious friend Rochelle Valasek from the Nashville, TN, area for the first time in person. “Shelley” and I have been online friends for about a year now and have talked a lot about getting together. I am so happy and excited that I finally got to HUG my dear, sweet friend. Shelley is one of the most loving, giving people I’ve ever met. She’s even more wonderful in person! I already miss her SO much!
This weekend was one of joy, freedom, and transformation through the power of God.
I learned many new things which I’ll be sharing in the weeks ahead. One is which I am the one who deeply needs to be transformed.
This conference was amazing. To Jesus Christ be all the praise and the honor and the glory, forever and ever, amen!