In June I was lucky enough to attend The Gospel Coalition Women's National Conference in Orlando for a few days. The conference itself was three days plus I stayed an extra two for some R&R. It was without a doubt the best five days I've had consecutively in many years. I'm incredibly thankful that Brad was willing to send me joyfully. He and my mom-in-law took care of the kids so I could attend and I couldn't thank them enough. I still look back, months later, and say a quick prayer of thanks for those five days.

There were four thousand women there, out of normal life, away from their jobs, homes, children, husbands, responsibilities. Just there to sit under great teaching, to worship, to learn, to grow, to be challenged. 

The book store alone was an inspiration. Those four walls had magical powers or something. Er, scratch that, they wouldn't teach that at TGC. But for real, the thousands of book titles and silly-low prices were such an encouragement to me, especially as I'd gotten away from reading things apart from the Bible in a particularly busy season of life (and then never really picked it up again, months after the busy season was over). Guys, I came home with a SUITCASE of books. Hallelujah. I've read over half. It was such an incredible kick start, especially what I needed after the I-just-had-a-baby-so-I'm-tempted-to-quit-everything season. I'll be posting my couple-sentence book reviews in the coming weeks as life allows. Spoiler alert: Jen Wilkin continues to be my favourite Bible teacher.

But maybe you weren't one of the four thousand women there? No biggie. You saved some money and spared yourself from the Orlando humidity, and you STILL GET TO LISTEN TO EVERYTHING. Because TGC is cool like that, all the audio is available, free, online (and in multiple languages!)

If you're looking for recommendations, here are mine (links included): 

PANEL: Don Carson, Kathy Keller, Tim Keller, Kathleen Nielson, John Piper Pre-Conference Plenary 1: Why This Issue Now?

These leaders talk about how they came to be complimentarian and their experiences with the complimentarian/egalitarian on-going debate in ministry. Also, the Kellers are the cutest. And Don Carson starts with mentioning he's from French Canada which made my heart swell. Excellent panel discussion for those trying to figure out their thoughts on women in church leadership, gender roles in marriage and in the church.

Kathy Keller: Plenary 1: Taking Action in Light of God's Word (Nehemiah 1-2) 
Tim Keller: Plenary 2: Laboring for a God Who Fights for Us (Nehemiah 3-4)

These are the only two plenary talks I heard in person, to be honest. There was a lot of reading pool side. How else was I gunna put a dent in my suitcase o' books? I've since heard others online but these two remain my favourite :) 

Rosaria Butterfield: Homosexuality and Christian Faith

Rosaria tells the story of how she came to follow Jesus in such a beautiful, eloquent way. Her testimony also includes leaving her homosexual lifestyle.

PANEL: Kristie Anyabwile, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Gloria Furman, Mary Mohler, Trillia Newbell: Teaching Our Children About Jesus

I liked this panel a lot though I didn't always resonate with each speaker on the same level. These moms all had great things to say about how to raise our children to know the Lord though, and it's a worth while listen to any parent or would-be parent.

Jen Wilkin Our Daughters’ Great Worth

OK. This talk was my number one. I already love Jen Wilkin. I'm listening to her James bible study (available here), I read her blog, and I've picked her brain more than once on parenting and other things. The girl is sage, people. This talk on daughters was unlike things I've heard before from the Christian community on raising daughters. She talks against raising our girls to be just wives and mothers, which I loved. I cried no less than four times listening to this. Please listen to it.

PANEL: Kristie Anyabwile, Carolyn McCulley, Mary Mohler, Beth Urton: Hospitality: Creating a Grace-Filled Welcome

I really appreciated this talk, especially Carolyn McCulley and Mary Mohler's input. They discussed hospitality in Muslim cultures, hospitality when you're single, and my favourite - what hospitality is not: having the perfect home and the perfect meal.

Talitha and Noël Piper: Adoptive Mother, Adopted Daughter: Two Perspectives on God’s Surprising Plan

This talk was great for those who are considering adoption, who have adopted, who are adopted, and just for those to understand adoption better. I especially appreciated it because the Piper's adoption is likely the route we would go should God give us the go-ahead to adopt (local adoption and transracial). It did not help my baby fever forever-family fever.

I hope you utilize this great resource! TGC has audio available for free from all of their conferences plus a great blog. Enjoy, friends!

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