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On April 11, more than 800 women from across southern Ontario gathered to worship, study Scripture, and enjoy fellowship at the biennial Inspirational Women’s Conference. This 17th conference, sponsored by Coffee Break Ministries and Christian Reformed Home Missions, took place at the Meeting House in Oakville, Ont.

This year’s theme, “Grit and Grace,” based on Lamentations 3:22, explored how to affirm God’s blessings amid struggles, emphasizing that because of God’s love, Christians are not consumed by challenges. “As a team, we recognize that there are lots of people who live with lots of grit even though they are Christians,” said Marian Lensink, event organizer and member of Faith Christian Reformed Church in Burlington, Ont. “God’s grace can be found in the midst of these things—trouble doesn't just go away when we become Christians.”

The conference included inspirational speakers, worship, fitness breaks, and a book panel where several panelists shared excerpts from their favorite books. Sara Pot, a member of Jubilee Fellowship CRC in St. Catharines, Ont., described an image from her chosen book, A Disguised Grace by Jerry Sittser. In the book, the author explained how a stump can symbolize grief. Though it may be ugly, beauty can grow up around it. Pot talked about how this book helped in her journey of grieving the death of her mother and adjusting to parenting children with special needs.

After lunch, Pot returned to the stage, excited to show the audience a painting. Before the conference, a friend of her mother’s had arranged to meet her at the conference to return a painting that Sara’s mother had painted over 40 years ago. Pot had never seen the painting before. It portrayed a jagged stump with beautiful flowers growing up around it. As Pot said, “Only God could have planned this moment.”

Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to spend time celebrating women and the Master Planner, their Creator. As worship leader Brooke Nicholls said, “It isn’t every day that we get to gather and worship with 800 women who love the Lord.”

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