Woman's conference Raleigh“Leaving the Shore and Finding Freedom” was the theme of the women’s encounter in Raleigh, N.C. Leaving those places of security and familiarity can be a fearful thing, but each woman was encouraged to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal areas in her life that lacked courage. Through the life of Gideon, we find courage to see ourselves as Father God sees us, as mighty women of valor. We too, like Gideon, when given an assignment from God, begin to ask the “hows” and “whens” and “what ifs.” But just like Gideon, if we keep our focus on the WHO by considering Him who is faithful, we find the courage to be transformed and ultimately obedient to His calling.

At the encounter, Angel Woodard bravely shared her testimony. Her transparency showed the redemption from her past hurts and fears that made her the polished woman she is today, Through her story, she told how she found the courage to forgive, release, and leave the past shore to encounter freedom in God. Her testimony gave hope and strength to many other women. Other women with similar testimonies could relate to her and found courage in God for their own transformation.

Andrea Bedford, in her light-hearted style, reminded us that courageously stepping out is not possible if we are not led by the Spirit. She told a bit of her own testimony of being a planner, needing everything prepared so there would be no room for error. But God began to deal with her about trusting the Holy Spirit to speak and guide her. She made us aware that it is only by listening to the Holy Spirit that we can courageously step out in faith to face our fears and obey Christ.

In Elizabeth Elliott’s biography, she too tells of fear that paralyzed her after her husband was murdered. Her friend’s wise advice still applies to us today: “When you are afraid to step out, DO IT AFRAID.” God’s desire is that we as women find the courage and freedom to step into the plan that He has for us.