This weekend, I traveled to Atchison, Kansas, as guest speaker for the inaugural “Grace & Girlfriends.” The one-night Christian event gathered women from different states for three hours of music, storytelling, and oodles of encouragement. It was the brainchild of author and speaker Pamela Sonnenmoser with Fresh Cup Ministries.
I watched the attendees, ages 7 to 77, as they giggled from the audience, pranced around in multicolored scarves during a skit, spit out cups of filthy water during another more humorous skirt, and waved their hands in the air while singing. A keyboardist from the stage and soloist belted out a heartwrending version of “Amazing Grace.” The music and presentations reminded me why having girlfriends is important. They enrich my life with their emotional and spiritual support.
There were six such “girlfriends” who stood out in making the night so mesmerizing.
1) Pamela. After emceeing and speaking, Pamela ended the evening with silent prayer. Wisely, she didn’t rush this time. Several minutes went by as Pamela sat quietly on the stage, allowing women to take deep breaths, reflect on their lives, and ask God for guidance. With most of us usually functioning at a scatterbrained pace, this prayer time was a healing balm.
2) Donna. One of the most inspiring moments was watching eyes light up at words flashing across a 52-inch flatscreen monitor. My friend, Donna, had volunteered to type real-time captions for the three of us in the audience with hearing loss. Without her quick mind and fingers, we would have sat there in frustration. Instead, Donna’s captions allowed us to stay engaged, encouraged, and energized.
3) and 4) Charlotte and Tabitha. As the worship leaders, these ladies set the tone with their music. While Charlotte tickled the ivories on her keyboard, Tabitha—who stepped in as soloist at the last minute—captivated all of us with her vocals. Even though I couldn’t hear the music clearly, I could read Tabitha’s lyrics from the captioning screen and feel the beat of Charlotte’s heart-pounding music.
5) Rebecca. Before Grace & Girlfriends began, Rebecca dedicated many days to praying for the event. She rode with me and a group of others to Atchison, and in the car we prayed. After the event, we thanked God for hearing our prayers. Without Rebecca’s and other people’s prayers, I’m convinced that Grace & Girlfriends wouldn’t have materialized.
6) Melissa. As Pamela’s assistant, Melissa worked behind the scenes to prepare door prize sacks, decorate the stage, and answer last-minute questions. While everyone else came to the event dressed in blouses, skirts, and sparkling jewelry, Melissa kept a low profile in her T-shirt and sneakers. Her hands and feet kept the evening rolling.
“How many of you need a fresh cup?” Pamela said from the stage as she poured herself a cup of fresh water. Several hands shot up. Mine was one of them.
The Beatles once sang, “I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends.” I walked away Saturday night feeling that I had gotten more than just a little help from my girlfriends.
My spirit had been recharged.