Free to Lead Winnipeg

ZOE Projects was excited to partner with Jo-Ann Porterfield and Manitoba and NW Ontario PAOC Women on the Free to Lead Winnipeg Conference January 23 and 24. It was awesome!

We know that women didn't really know what they were coming to... but they dove into the weekend and by all accounts the conference was deeply impacting.

One woman said that "this conference was not at all what I had expected... it was like heart surgery... so deeply transforming.  I am so glad I came."

Today's post is by Ruth Unger... one of the conference participants. 

by Ruth Unger

Have you ever attended an event because you just thought you should be there? You went not knowing exactly what to expect because it was something sort of new in your world. And yet, there had been things stirring in your heart, perhaps even troubling you… maybe for a short time, maybe for years. So you went. 

I think that is what I saw. I am pretty sure it is what I experienced – a group of women gathering under the banner of Free To Lead with a whole range of questions, doubts, expectations, even fears, and yet with the courage to check this thing out. Women who recognize and embrace their place as leaders and women who wondered if they really could be leaders. Women who were unsure of their ability and yet feeling a nudge toward more. Women who know their giftings and are yet unsure of the path. And often, all of those things are in each woman… sometimes we are complicated creatures! 

Even with all of that, or maybe because of it, there was a sense of anticipation in the room. 

With the panels and the speakers, stories were shared that were easily recognized, themes we live by. I need to prove my worth… prove that I am smart enough or, on the other hand, hide my intelligence. Be responsible for everyone. Don’t make mistakes. Don’t be yourself. 

All of that and leadership too? 

We know the verses from Psalm 139… you created my inmost being… you knit me together… all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be… (from verses 13-16). 

Many of us have probably said the words to others – You are God’s masterpiece – and we easily believe it - for them. 

The statement was made that “we honour God when we take time to discover His handiwork – and that handiwork is you.” Murmurs of understanding. Heads nodding. That seems to be one of the keys of the conference for many. 

Identity. In Christ. Unique… with weakness and strength. And dare we say it… even called. 

In that, there is a recognition that this will look different for each of us. Some will intentionally mentor. Some will quietly influence. Some will make the plans. Some will lead the charge. Some will pick up a mic. Some will pick up a pen. Some will find solutions. Some will challenge. Each path as unique as each of us… each leading, influencing, as God has planned for us to lead and influence. 

One of the opening comments that had many of us scrambling for our pens was this: “God can’t use what we won’t acknowledge.” What do you need to acknowledge? What do I need to acknowledge? What strength? What stirring of your heart? Where do you need to take a step? 

The closing admonition – be open to being used… let your heart be moved… do something! 

In all of this, it is not about claiming a position or recognition for ourselves. Hear the Father say “That deposit in you is for me.” It is all for Him, for His Glory and His Kingdom.

God is certainly up to something... empowering His daughters!

Free to Lead Saskatoon (which is being initiated by Carmen Kampman and Horizon College) is just around the corner, March 27 and 28. 

We would love to have you join us! 

You can get more information here.

One more thing...we want to clarify last week's post.  We told the amazing story of a Ugandan woman who had been trafficked to Thailand being returned home because of the generous gift of women in Manitoba.  In addition to the women in Brandon, the Manitoba NW Ontario Women raised funds at their annual retreat.  (Go Manitoba!)  Their contribution made that plane ticket purchase possible.

Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you.

Your generosity is making an impact on lives... real lives.