Becky Went To Last Year’s Women’s Conference
From the minute I walked in, I could feel the Spirit. I heard the music and could tell it was going to be a good day.” This was somewhat of a pleasant surprise for Becky Loveland, who signed up for the 2017 Diocesan Women’s Conference with minimal expectations. Her intent in registering was to spend a day with her mom, who had been undergoing treatment for cancer. Becky was searching for a day free of doctors, chemo treatments and stress. “I was really looking for something like a one-day retreat to reconnect with my faith as well as be a wholesome, spirit-filled day for my mom and me to spend together.” Her experience was life-changing.
Becky had anticipated a quiet day of speakers and reflection. Instead, the day’s events thrust her into a very emotional and unexpected awakening. Until the conference, she hadn’t realized what a box she had built around her heart due to all the stress she was experiencing. “During the conference, it was like the protective shell I erected was cracked. Prior to this day, I thought I had to be in control and do it alone. I suddenly realized I have this partner – God – to help me get through everything.”
The theme, God’s Desire, was palpable throughout the day and wedged into her heart. “My life had been so focused on everything going on around me that I hadn’t thought about myself or spent a lot of time with God. I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t a good enough mother, wife or daughter. I was frustrated that I didn’t have enough focus for each aspect of my life.” Becky became unshackled from her negative self-talk. She came to understand God’s loving desire was to have an active relationship with her. “Since the women’s conference, I have conversations with God every day. I listen and reflect. Now when I wake up, before I even get out of bed, I pray for God’s guidance to get me through my day.”
What helped her breakthrough was a themed compilation of speakers, reflection, adoration, exhibits and music, each of which seemed to speak directly to Becky. “All of the messages related to what I had going on as a working mom, daughter of a sick parent, building a new house, my relationship with my husband. I remember being particularly taken by the music and the lyrics. I hadn’t listened to Christian music since high school and forgotten what a positive message it carried.
“Another thing that really struck me were the testimonials. One speaker was a woman who had an abortion, and the idea of total forgiveness really came through her talk. Not just her, but each of the speakers definitely expressed God’s forgiveness and lovingness and brought it to life in such a way that it became clear having God as my partner was my choice. I had not realized I already had that tool in my toolbox and how it could open my heart.”
This transformative day included adoration and Mass. “Adoration is when I really released everything pent up. That separate time for really intense prayer was such a cleansing moment for me. And Mass, at the end of the day, gave me the opportunity to move back into the real world. It brought me back to my everyday life and gave the day closure in a way that was both familiar and spiritual,” she explains.
With her background in the field of marketing, Becky was impressed by the overall coordination of the event. “It was very professional. I was amazed at all the little details that were thought through. There was a tie to the music, the graphics, the speakers. The testimonials brought the theme to life. It was evident the conference wasn’t judgmental and accepted people where they were. Just the idea of a day being focused on issues women face meant a lot. I felt very catered to,” she says.
A year later, the power of the day is very evident in her expressions, her demeanor. Her metamorphosis is visible to her siblings, who tell her she is a different person, living much more by the Holy Spirit. Her newfound tools have impacted how she raises her three daughters to have more of a relationship with God. Her clarity has shifted her investment in the celebration of the Eucharist.
“Walking into the women’s conference,” she explains, “I felt like the weight of everything in my life rested on my shoulders. I walked out with a completely different frame of mind. Walking out, I knew I had a partner in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I felt lighter. The conference was a testament to the fact that by God’s desire, none of us are alone. How freeing is that?”
2018 Women's Conference: Arise My Beloved The 2018 women's conference will be Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Lansing Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Speakers include Father Chris Alar, MIC and Kelly Wahlquist. For more information, visit LANSINGDIOCESECWC.ORG.