Recap from the 2014 TGC National Women’s Conference


“Almost certainly, no one has ever read that to you before,” Tim Keller quipped after reading Nehemiah 3 to the congregation, which is mostly a list of gates and people with hard-to-pronounce names. I chuckled to myself, thinking, I guess he’s never been to Covenant Life, as our pastors have read every word of Ezra and Nehemiah to us as they preached through those books a year and a half ago.

 Along with several other CLC women, I had the privilege to attend the second biennial Gospel Coalition National Women’s Conference the last weekend of June. Here, the plenary sessions centered around the book of Nehemiah. I went to the inaugural conference too, so it was a treat to hear female theologians again, as well as Tim Keller, John Piper and D.A. Carson, exposit God’s Word for the female attenders. However, Kathleen Nielson, the TGC Director of Women’s Initiatives, was faithful to remind us, these conferences are for women but not about women.

It was beautiful to learn from the book of Nehemiah again, and see how Christ is the true Nehemiah, leaving all to give us everything, so that He might build this city of New Jerusalem and solve the tension between our unfaithfulness to God and His faithfulness to us. I think I literally heard the gospel hundreds of times this weekend through sessions, workshops, conversations and rejoicing through song. The glorious truth of what Christ has accomplished for me was healing balm to my soul every time.

Paige Benton Brown led my favorite plenary session on Chapters 5 and 6. She reminded us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, and must be the foundation for everything the believer does. It is because of the fear of the Lord—not a frightened fear, but a familial fear like my son has for his father—that Nehemiah made it a priority to unite everyone to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, despite grinding opposition from enemies and the people of Israel. Who says he liked building? But a fear of God and a desire to please Him drives us to be doers even of things we don’t like. This encouraged me to press on with being a doer as a stay-at-home-mom, even when I don’t enjoy making dinner or enforcing naptime. Because of my love for the Lord, I should want to do anything to advance His kingdom. And o, how Jesus bore the greatest possible burden for our sake! As Tim Keller pointed out, when we bring people to Christ we are making citizens of the city to come. And that is thrilling.

I was also able to spend time in small-group Q&A sessions with two women I greatly admire, author Gloria Furman and poet Blair Linne. Their humility and detachment from their notoriety floored me. They dashed to pieces my thoughts about Christian celebrity, as they pointed me to the only truly amazing person at the conference: Jesus. The biggest takeaway I received from this weekend was simple but deeply cut to my heart: He must increase, but we must decrease. In Christ alone we find our worth and meaning and satisfaction. Keith and Kristyn Getty, who led worship through singing, just hit it on the head with this stanza and refrain from “My Worth Is Not In What I Own”:

My worth is not in skill or name
In win or lose, in pride or shame
But in the blood of Christ that flowed
At the cross
I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

Hope Henchey

Posted on: July 1, 2014 - 10:15AM

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