14 years, 7 months and 5 days ago I became an unwed mother.
It’s been a winding road since then, full of self discovery, mistakes, heartache and pain but there has been plenty of sunshine, happiness, joy and celebration as well.
And yet, I spent so many years feeling like an outsider, an oddball, less than…
About 6 years ago I felt God nudging me to reach out to women because most of them felt the same way. Perhaps for different reasons, but what I came to know was that there are a lot of women struggling in silence. Avoiding sharing their true selves because of guilt or shame or feeling like they were the ‘only one’ who felt the way they do.
Have I named something you, personally, have struggled with? I personally have been affected in some way by addiction, infidelity, single parenthood, a broken marriage, feelings of hopelessness and being overwhelmed, heartache and exhaustion to name a few.
Is that embarrassing to put out there? A little. But I know that there are many of you who are dealing with the exact same issues I am because you’ve told me. And there are others who are struggling with things I’m not, but I also know you’re not alone.
Something that has become very clear to me is that women who are united for Christ are a dangerous force. The enemy knows this, and he desires so much to drive a wedge in between the meaningful relationships that we can have with one another. Not only does he try to attack our families and marriages, he wants nothing more than to drive a wedge in between our friendships by making us feel as though we can’t share ourselves with other people. When we feel like no one else could possibly understand WHO we are, we begin to isolate ourselves from the very people who could help lift us up and help to heal our pain.
It began as a nagging thought in the back of my mind as I noticed the women’s conferences going on around me. There are some amazing ones that address finding your purpose and how to be a great mother. There are conferences about how to be successful professionally and conferences about being a Christian.
What we felt was lacking – or at least not as easy to find – was a conference that said HEY. HEY YOU. YOU AND I ARE ACTUALLY THE SAME!
I’m depressed and I feel hopeless or I can’t take my children for one more second today and I feel guilty. I’m sick of being single and I’m so lonely. I had an abortion and I feel shame. I’ve been betrayed in my marriage and I feel heartbroken. I was abused and I feel so much fear.
It started as a daydream, a fleeting thought, a hope, a yearning to provide a safe place for women to talk about the hard stuff without dwelling on it – a place to be vulnerable and hear other women share their painful stories and walk away feeling hopeful because suddenly they realize they aren’t alone.
When Shaunna and I started Nourish – we hoped on a small scale our monthly dinner groups would become a safe place for women to discuss tough stuff alongside celebrating the joy to be found in day to day life. And that has happened in so many ways. But we also daydreamed about a culmination of all those dinner parties happening in the form of a conference. For women involved in Nourish and women who aren’t – to come together in one place and look around the room and feel brave.
The She’s Brave Conference is the very heart of what Nourish is about. It is about being vulnerable and showing up to a place with a lot of other people you probably don’t know. It’s about looking around the room and saying to one another “You’re not alone and you matter”. It’s about safety in numbers as we begin to peel away the layers of armor we have put on to protect our hearts.
It’s about finding the joy that can come with releasing the shame and the guilt you feel. It’s about acknowledging that none of us are alone and that together we can become an amazing, beautiful, powerful force for good. It’s about standing up to the mean girls stereotype and refusing to buy into it. It’s about forgiving the friends you’ve had that have hurt you and betrayed you and finding hope in community again.
It is, at the very heart, about encouraging each other.
Tickets are on sale now! Early Bird ticket purchasers will get a discount, but those are limited availability so don’t wait!
We know it’s expensive. We know it’s an investment. We promise we aren’t making a dime off this conference. Truth be told, Shaunna and I will end up footing the bill for some of it ourselves. That’s how passionately we feel about what we are doing.
We hope you’ll join us. You’ll hear from some amazing women including a Q&A and meet and greet with Momastery’s Glennon Doyle Melton, and from author and blogger Sarah Mae. You’ll hear from other talented local speakers that are women just like you and me. We truly want this to be a conference that sets you free.
For more specific info about what is included in your ticket price, please visit us on our website. You don’t have to be a current Nourish attendee to come but email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get involved with one of our monthly dinner parties.
Come, be brave, be filled up, and rest in the knowledge that you are seen, known and loved…just as you are.