Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay’s women’s ministry is the Women of Hope. Almost every month there’s a different event for us and April’s was “Girl’s Night Out.” Held on Thursday, April 28th 2011 – Girl’s Night Out was a really relaxed and fun night of fellowship, meeting new women, and getting some tools for us to go out and be the best, strongest, most graceful women we can be. So rad!
And I got to use the Britney Spear’s handless mic, so you know it was an awesome event. (Yeah, they let me have a microphone, please read on for the full explanation!)
As always when I write a blog – this is just my own reflection/rambling based on my point of view – nothing official, okay?
Girl’s Night Out
The whole mentality behind the Girl’s Night Out event was for us to have a more casual way to fellowship, but yet not a free-for-all. Tami, the Women’s Pastor, approached me a while ago. She really buttered me up and told me the women at retreat had so much fun making tie dye and that it was such a hit. So just when I was all placated by the flattery, she asked if I would be interested in teaching the women how to make friendship bracelets at an upcoming event. How could I say no? (I would have said yes without all the flattery, but that part was nice so I let her go on. haha!)
Not only was the bracelet-making going to be a fun activity and something new for a lot of the women (and something fondly nostalgic from childhood for many of us), but it would be a craft that reiterates a really cool verse from Ecclesiastes that spoke to Tami. I love when things all connect, and this whole bracelet thing was one of them. Not only did the craft tie into the Word, but now all of us who attended would have matching bracelets. So rad, right?
At the planning meeting for the event it was decided that all of the women would have the same colored string. Like true “friendship bracelets,” we’d all have matching ones! So cute. So Tami and I played around with the colors, and found this coral pink, a soft blue, and white that all looked very pretty together.
I took home a giant sack o’ string and set to work prepping it all so the night of there’d be no measuring, cutting, and all that stuff. While I was sitting at home making all of the little bracelet starters, I was thinking about the shells we got at women’s retreat. Tami told us that she had prayed over all of the shells before we all got one. So while I was touching all the string, prepping it, I just thought about all of the Women of Hope. I thought happy thoughts for everyone, and I prayed for each person who might end up with a particular string. It just felt nice and positive, and I felt so honored and humbled to get to do such a thing. I’m so new to Hope Chapel, being welcomed in the way I have been is just awesome.
We had a great turnout. It’s so awesome to see so many women make the time to come up to church on a weekday evening and spend some time with their sisters. All twenty tables had people at them – so that means there were almost 180 women present! Good job!
The event was in the Clamshell (the sanctuary), which had been set up into tables of nine. There were some pretty paper lanterns hanging. And the vibe was just really casual. We were coming together to worship and learn, yes – but to just chat and get to know each other as well. The design of the seating was so that we’d meet new people. Even though that whole concept was a little harder to pull off in practice than it was in theory – I think everything ended up working out just fine.
(Not to dwell on the plan that didn’t work perfectly – but to explain it I’ll say… The plan was for everyone, as they entered, to draw from a basket a table assignment. That way, people who came together would sit at different tables and meet new people. It was a great idea – but ended up being a bit tough to pull off seamlessly in real life. It’s of no matter though: the intention of the idea did work out, a lot of the tables had mixes of women who don’t necessarily hang out all the time or know each other).
All of the tables had a “hostess,” who led everyone in the ice breaker game and just sort of facilitated the evening. A big thank you to the 20-ish women who stepped up at hostess tables. What an awesome thing to do to help ensure a great time was had by all. Thank you hostesses! (I don’t have a copy of the list or else you betcha I’d thank everyone). Patti was my hostess and she was such a pleasure to be seated with, she’s so sweet and fun!
Oh, the snacks were awesome! Veggies, humus, pita chips, and more. The food is always such a highlight for me, I totally have a problem.
Two Truths and A Lie
As an ice breaker, we all played this cute and easy game at the table. Everyone had to give three statements about themselves – two of which are true, and one is a lie. Everyone else tries to guess which is which. You end up learning fun little things about each other, and the chosen “facts,” usually lead to a story or two and a lot of laughs. Our table was totally giggling the whole time we played, and I could other tables busting out into laughter at various times as well.
The whole point of an ice breaker is to get people warmed up, talking to each other, and to help us get to know each other. So hopefully for all of the tables the mission was accomplished. And it was accomplished in an easy-going, fun way!
I’m trying to remember what my three things were… I know one of my truths was about swimming the English Channel, and my lie was about doing a semester of study abroad in Singapore. Shoots, I can’t remember my other truth. I’m sure whatever it was it was rad, because well… I’m rad. (hehehe).
Rikki Talks About the Strength of Lady Friends
Next up was the beautiful and sweet Rikki Wurlitzer praying with us, and saying some words about what Ecclesiastes 4:12 means to her. The verse this whole bracelet thing is based on, is as follows:
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (NLT).
Rikki talked about how when we’re together, like a triple-braided cord, we’re stronger. She told us that the enemy tries to isolate us, make us think that we need to be alone, and that is such a lie! It’s good to need each other, and to want to be together as sisters in Christ.
She gave the example about that girl, we all know one (or maybe we are one), who says the ole I don’t like women! This is another lie. Rikki spoke out that we do need our sisters. And she gave the illustration of life being like a game of red rover. When hard times gets hurls at you, if you’re standing there with your arms tightly linked around your best girlfriends – you’ll be able to resist breaking down and getting beat up by life’s challenges. Afterwards you’ll still be standing tall and intact.
First of all, I totally related to the “I don’t like women” statement, and I just loved the red rover analogy. I used to be one of those women. I used to have all guy friends, and I used to think that being friends with girls just wasn’t for me. I went through a couple different stages of this kind of thinking. Once was in high school when I was a total surfer chick, and all my pals who I surfed with were boys; it seemed like the girls didn’t really like me back then. I said, in a way to protect myself, that I didn’t need those girls. Later in college I was in a sorority, and after being hurt by some of the women who were supposedly my “sisters,” I was very defensive about gal pals, and again donned the “I don’t need girls” attitude.
But it sure isn’t true these days. I LOVE my lady-friends, and I have no idea where I’d be without them. I’m blessed to have a whole army of awesome women I know I can count on. I do have some guy friends, but they’re really tiny in percentage compared to the amount of women in my inner circle. I’ve come to love and embrace all that is being a woman, and I’ve come to love and embrace having women all around me. I relate to women, I get advice from them, they help me as I help them. During deployment, I feel like my gal pals and I really pull each other through. I heart girl’s nights. And finally… I cannot imagine the look on my husband’s face if I told him I was going to hang out with my dude friends. Haha! That would be a riot.
Looking back, I see that when I was in anti-girl mode, I was doing it out of defensiveness. I was saying it because I was scared that they wouldn’t like me back. Now I see how great having female friends really is. And every time one of my girlfriends tells me that they don’t like women I need to point out that I happen to be a woman!
Back to what Rikki said, the red rover analogy was just so cool. As she was talking I got this awesome mental image of me linking arms with all of my best gal pals and just daring bad things to try and mess with us. Seriously, we’re pretty hard to take down and we know it!
Rikki shared some really wise and sweet words with us. I love that she was shooting from the heart, talking to us all with such love. I totally see a Pastor-in-the-making, as she was well-spoken, comfortable on stage, and so right on with her words. Well done Rikki, you had such an awesome contribution to the evening and to all of us who were blessed to hear the thoughts that God put on your heart.
My Turn- Bracelet Making Time
Because it’s my blog and all I do is talk about myself, I’ll keep this short and sweet. I basically just stood up there, showed everyone how to make the bracelets using three cords and a really simple knot. Then I wandered around to the tables and helped out anyone who asked me for a bit of help. I used the term “y’all” a lot, and I was probably louder and more nasally in real life than I am in my head. I did have one sweet thought that I shared with everyone:
Seeing as we were all making these bracelets together and they’d all be matching, I thought that maybe it would be cool to remember this evening whenever we looked at the bracelet. I told the ladies: Maybe if you wear it on your wrist every time you see it you’ll think about church, your sisters of hope who sat with you on this night, maybe you’ll think about praying, and seeing the bracelet will remind you to do so. Whatever the connection is that you have with it, I hope it’s happy and positive.
I had a really fun time helping out, and honestly I was honored and humbled to do so. It’s just so flattering that everyone has such a fun time with these little crafts that I do enjoy so much.
We didn’t really go out of our way to advertise “friendship bracelet making” when the event was being promoted, for fear that no one would come. For a lot of people, the thought of making bracelets is probably a turn off and sounds boring, not fun, or whatever. But all in all, I think it was a hit. Or at least it was tolerable. Some women really surprised themselves and had way more fun than they thought they would. In the days since, I’ve had a couple gals tell me they can’t stop making bracelets on their own and they’re having so much fun with it.
And the gift that keeps on giving? The Dom Rep mission team is going to take the leftover string with them on their trip and use bracelet making as a way to bond with girls they meet in the DR. How cool is that? I love that this is being paid forward!
Kacie told me that she made 9 knots in each color, for every woman at her table. Then, after repeating that a bunch of times to make the whole bracelet she finished it off with 33 white knots: one for every year that Jesus lived. How cool is that? I love that Kacie took the concept, and made it her own and made it special and as a remembrance of this evening, her sisters, and Jesus. So perfectly done!
The Women’s worship team moved us all with three songs: Blessed Be The Name, Came To My Rescue, and How Great is Our God. Kacie, one of the women’s worship leaders told me after the event that she was almost in tears as she was leading us through “Came To My Rescue.” All three songs were beautiful. And as 180ish women stood and sang together, I was honored to be part of such a pretty tribute to our God.
Since three songs were played, Kacie pointed out to me that the worship team was giving us all a musical triple cord braid, how cool is that? Another connection. I love it!
The meat and potatoes had yet to be served. Tami, our Pastor, gave a sermon after the games and crafts were done.
The main idea of the whole evening was about equipping ourselves, strengthening ourselves for whatever may come our way. And while having our sisters with us is one way of equipping ourselves, prayer is another. Prayer is something that any of us can do, in any situation. Tami’s message was about different places to find prayers (for when we don’t have the words on our own), and different ways in which prayer equips her to be the strongest, fiercest warrior-princess she can be, as a means to inspire and motivate us all.
Tami told us that no matter what happens to her, prayer is her first reaction. As we’re told in First Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing,” Tami prays all the time, and for any and everything. As an aside: this is so true! I’ve tried to watch a movie with Pastor Tami, and she spends the whole time praying for the characters. It’s so cute, her heart is pure gold.
In Hebrews 4:12 we’re told that “the word of God is alive and powerful.” Tami told us that something she really loves about our God is that He’s a living God. His word is alive just as He is. Meaning that, what He’s told us rings true now and always and we have the privilege of calling on our God and interacting with Him whenever we need Him. This is amazing. He’s alive and accessible and open to us. And our way of accessing Him is PRAYER.
Tami opened up to all of us about some of her more personal struggles. She’s talked about social situations that were like salt in a wound for her, but all she could do was sit and smile and trust in her God. (I don’t want to disclose all of Tami’s personal business on my blog – but she opened up about her own fertility issues, a struggle that can pang so deep into the heart of women that long for babies but aren’t able to have them). I was sitting at the table crying, knowing the feeling now myself, of congratulating another pregnant Momma and wishing so badly that it was me.
But it’s in these sad and hard times that we have the option to pray. We can ask our God for solace, for comfort. We can ask our God for whatever it is that we need in the moment we need it. That’s what is amazing about loving and interacting with the real and living God: He’s always just a prayer away.
For some people, prayer is a challenge because choosing the right words is hard to do. The Bible has a verse for just about every situation you could ever find yourself in, or at least there’s a verse that can apply to just about every feeling you could have. So in those times of needing to pray, but not knowing what to say: use God’s Word! You can pray the Word!
It’s one of those things that seems so simple and so obvious for some people. But for someone like me (I grew up in the Catholic church), praying the Word back to God is new to me. It’s unfamiliar territory. Hearing Tami speak about how our God wants us to learn His Words, understand the Word, and say them back to Him – it was like turning on a light bulb. Of course I can do that, I should do that, I need to do that!
Tami printed up these really cool cards for all us and they’re full of the Word. There are a couple dozen bullet points with different Words to inspire us, to remind us of how much He loves us (His daughters!), to show us where in the Bible we can go for different needs (healing for example). The last bulletpoint simply reads, “Pray His Word.”
In John 10:10, we know that Jesus came so that we may have life and life and live it abundantly. It’s the part of John 10:10 that people always focus on. But the first part of that verse is telling us that there’s a thief – the enemy. And the enemy comes to steal and kill and destroy (NASB). So to battle this thief, and to enjoy life abundant – we must equip ourselves as best we can. Prayer is essential in this way (Ephesians 6:18). Tami, at this point, literally pulled out a cardboard sword and brandished it for a minute. Giving us the visual of fighting. Her point is that in real life we don’t carry around swords of metal – but we can brandish the word, or use a prayer to fight back the thieves we encounter, the enemies that attack us.
Finally, the point of us all being connected by the triple-cord braid is that just like we can use prayer for ourselves, we can use it for each other! When one of our sisters falls down, we can pick her back up with prayer! (I totally got the Sister Act song in my head “if my sister’s in trouble so am I” – remember that from the movie Sister Act? It totally came to mind then and now, lol).
So, at our tables we all had these little cards. And since we were seated in groups of nine, we were asked to get into groups of three, and make a commitment to be prayer warriors for each other. To be there for one another spiritually. This is bold and important commitment, and one that I was so honored to make. What a cool idea, that not only are we connected by having fun times, fellowship, worshipping together – but we’re not becoming three-cord bracelets of prayers!
Tami ended the evening with some closing words and then by praying for us all.
I have to say:
I hope that the women had a great time. I know that there were aspects of the evening that were very new to some of us. I’m not used to speaking in front of a big group like that. I don’t think many of the women were used to sitting at tables with new people, working on a craft like bracelet making. But sometimes getting out of our comfort zone is a good thing, and I appreciate the effort everyone made. And hopefully we can all learn that when we’re with sisters-in-Christ, we’re always in our comfort zone.