A few months ago, I got an email from Bianca Olthoff inviting me to Florida in January to sit, for one day, with twenty women leaders under the wisdom of Christine Caine and Joyce Meyer.
Yes. THIS Christine Caine.
Yes. THAT Joyce Meyer.
Trust me. I was sure she had the wrong email. I was like, “Did you mean ANN Voskamp? I know our email addresses are close to each other….” But no. For some crazy reason, they meant me.
I jumped at the chance. As my career continues to grow, I could think of no two women I’d rather learn from and model after than Chris and Joyce. [Except Beth Moore. Obvi.]
The twenty women and I sat in a hotel conference room around a U-shaped table as Chris and Joyce sat in front of us and just discussed what it is like to be a female leader and in ministry and how to be a wise human.
It looked like this from Bianca’s point of view. It looked like this from Jennie Allen’s point of view- and I was sitting beside Jennie. I wish I could show you my view, but my computer has eaten all those pictures. Here’s the only one I can find- because it was in my text messages to my parents being like, “LOOK AT ME EATING LUNCH WITH JOYCE MEYER, Y’ALL!”
[I look that serious about once a fortnight. You would too if you were listening to Joyce Meyer. AT YOUR LUNCH TABLE.]
Bianca wrote a beautiful post recapping what she learned, but I wanted to share with y’all my biggest takeaways from those eight hours listening to Joyce Meyer. But I must be honest, I have SIXTEEN pages of notes that all look like this, so I am still processing through what I learned.
So here are some great takeaways that I think any of us can apply to our lives as women and women in ministry. These are thoughts and quotes from Joyce and Chris.
- “If I think God wants me to do something, I just get out in the middle of it and see what happens.”
- Enjoy where you are on the way to where you are going.
- You don’t retire from a call of your life.
- There is no problem we have that the Bible doesn’t solve.
- It is not possible to be selfish and happy.
- Always study scripture for ME before I study it to teach.
- You cannot have a double life and be effective for the Gospel- I am required to do what He calls me to teach others.
- All my money is God’s money- use it wisely and use as much as I can to help people.
- Pray every day that God would open the right doors and close the wrong ones.
- If it is God, it will bear good fruit.
- If God closes a door, don’t try to push it open.
- The most important thing is my personal relationship with God- no matter how big things get, don’t let it separate me from God- live to please God.
- If my motives aren’t right, I won’t be able to handle the pressures of success.
- Not every opportunity is a good opportunity.
- How I take care of myself physically determines how well I finish. Being healthy and feeling good affects my spiritual life.
- Following my emotions will keep me from finishing well. The ones who finish well are the ones who can work even when it is just them and God.
- When God calls a person, the whole family has to sacrifice.
- Do not apologize for what I feel God calling me to do.
- Most of life is about the journey- enjoy it.
And y’all? I slimmed down my notes A TON. It was such a rich and fulfilling day. I learned things from those women, and the others in the room with us, that have changed how I live and do my job and treat ministry. I read through my LOTS AND LOTS of notes about once a week, including the personal things we discussed that Joyce and especially Chris really spoke into.
Also, while we were there, Bianca was at work getting folks to record podcasts for Christine. Jennie and I did one together about being in ministry as a single woman and as a married woman. I laugh too loud, repeatedly, but no one is surprised about that. If nothing else, you get twenty minutes of the two of us and Jennie really says some super wise stuff and I attempt to do the same.
I am so deeply grateful to Bianca and Chris for inviting me and to Joyce for her words. Also, we had an incredible dinner conversation that night that has forever changed how I view women in ministry and to those eight women around that table- including Jennie and Chris, I say thanks.