According to modern mythology women are expected, perhaps even demanded, to be all things to all people. They are required to be both spiritually and physically fit (read perfect size 6), and distinctly feminine at home and at work. They should be able to make the hard decisions both inter-personally and financially. They must heal all wounds, dispense sound wisdom, and be chauffeur to the world - or at least the neighborhood soccer team. But life is not a fragrance commercial. And while it is the desire of every Christian woman to fulfill the needs of her family, every once in a while reality crashes in, and she is forced to realize that Superwoman only lives in comic books.

With life growing increasingly more complex, now more than ever, women need time to re-examine their priorities, to prune their activity-branches, and rediscover themselves. Recognizing that need, women's conferences by the dozens have sprung up all across the country, in both Christian and secular settings. Some have taken on the trappings of mega-pep rallies, boasting big-name celebrities, and drawing tens of thousands of attendees at major sports arenas. Others opt for a more intimate setting, allowing for more introspection, and contemplation.

The Aspiring Women Conference, held in several locations nationwide (there are 15 events scheduled for 1999), was designed to allow spiritually hungry women to experience God's character and plan for their lives. The goal of the conference is simple - "to challenge women to pursue the heart of God like never before." Attendees can expect:

~to be inspired and encouraged in dealing with life's demands,
~to find practical solutions to the challenges of day to day life, and
~to rediscover the joy that comes form a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.


While the Aspiring Women Conference is not celebrity-driven, it does feature a number of well-known teachers, speakers, and entertainers. Among these is Christian music artist and author, {{Margaret Becker}}, who took a few minutes off from putting the finishing touches on her new album, What Kind Of Love Is This, to talk with crosswalk.com about being a part of the conference.

All right, Margaret, let's pretend that I am an average Christian housewife; tell me, what is the Aspiring Women Conference and why would I want to go?

The Aspiring Women is essentially a very short retreat for women. The speakers are a group of women who come from all walks of life. They've faced all sorts of issues, both great and detrimental. They have spanned these issues and have come through because of their relationship with Christ. From this experience, they've brought to the other side a great deal of wisdom and comfort and peace.

I think anyone would like to attend the conference, at any time of their life, because you can definitely find somebody within the context of the conference speakers who is facing or has faced issues that you're facing.
When these women come together, they're open and honest. It doesn't have anything to do with celebrities, or the 'us and them' attitude that you sometimes find when people are on stage and people are in an audience.

Definitely a highlight of the conference is its sense of community. It's a series of talks, offerings, music, lectures, singing praises - anything that you can imagine would be a part of getting some peace in your life as it relates to Christ.

Are there workshops offered?

There are no workshops; it is a general gathering. It's sort of an auditorium experience.

An auditorium experience - is Aspiring Women smaller than most women's conferences? Do they limit their numbers?

They don't limit their numbers, but an Aspiring Women Conference is perhaps more intimate, I think, as compared to other conferences, which tend to be held in stadiums and are more of a more commercialized event. Aspiring Women is not really a star-driven, celebrity-driven conference. It's more of a grass roots type of conference. For lack of a better word, it's basically very bohemian in a sense. I can't speak with absolute authority on the other conferences, because I've only been to a limited number, but Aspiring Women tends to draw people who are coming just to get away, to rest, and to sit under some great teaching and some great exposition.

Are the issues discussed at these events distinctly feminine from a spiritual standpoint?

I don't know that they are distinctly feminine as much as common experiences women in our culture share. Things like divorce, things like children who are making poor choices, things like caring for aging parents, things like anorexia or alcoholism are discussed during the presentations.

How long have you been with the Aspiring Women Conference and what is your involvement?

I've been involved since last spring. On the Saturday afternoon portion of the conference, I give a short presentation - all the presentations run about 40 minutes. Mine is a mixture of songs and a little bit of sharing from a book I wrote, With New Eyes, which talks about having eyes to see and ears to hear what God is doing in the simple areas of your life. I actually combine that text and some of the principles presented in it along with a few little musical offerings.

Have you been surprised at how being involved with the conference has affected your life?

It's been wonderful. I actually was a participant first. I was definitely moved and loved the intimacy of this conference compared to some of the others out there. For me, I tend to like more of a manageable number of people in this type of retreat.

What is your impression of the other speakers?

Every single speaker has something unique to say at this conference. When I participated as an attendee, I was very moved by every person's presentation. Even though many of them never really touched the perimeter of my life, I was more moved by the fiber of these women and the character that has developed in them, and how much that character mirrors Christ's own visage. For me, that was something to behold, and something to sit back and really be in awe over. That's been the beauty of being with these women -- they've all been seasoned by the movements of Christ in their life. To be around people like that is a gift.

What about your music and writinghave they been affected by these times with the conference?

There really has been an encouraging effect. In as much as there is a vast musical difference between say, {{Twila Paris}} and myself, I've been amazed by the response I've received at these conferences. Women who I never thought listened to my music or have been affected by my music, have really shown themselves to be closet fans. There are some songs I've written that I think are pretty youth oriented or more of a progressive way of thinking or left of center as far as Christianity. I'll break into one of these songs at these conferences and I'll see women in their 60s singing along with me. I'm always shocked at that. I thought this would be such a unique experience for someone who's maybe closer to my age or younger and yet here are these women who've grasped onto the spirit of the song and understand. It's incredibly encouraging.

How are people responding to the conferences?

Actually, every time that I've had any feedback, it's all been positive. People are leaving the conference changed. Even the person who said, "You know what, it was just this one little segment that spoke to me, that really did make a difference in my perceptions in these areas of my life." It's very much a buffet, in a sense; it's more of a spiritual buffet. There'll be things that will be presented that you'll go, "Well, that doesn't apply to me," but then there'll be the one that you'll go, "Yeah, that's my story right there."

It's one of these things that will apply to everybody on some level. It will be a moment when you can sit back, take a deep breath spiritually, and feel like you are having fresh spiritual waters sprinkled on you.




Margaret's first book, With New Eyes (Harvest House), much like her music, is a revealing glimpse into the heart and soul of a believer seeking to make an intimate connection with their God.





Upcoming Aspiring Women Conference Dates:

New Orleans, Louisana
September 10-11, 1999

Jacksonville, Florida
September 17-18, 1999

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
October 8-9, 1999

Washington, D.C.
October 15-16, 1999

Birmingham, Alabama
October 22-23, 1999

Houston, Texas
November 5-6, 1999

Boston (Lowell), Massachusetts
November 12-13, 1999

Dallas, Texas
November 19-20, 1999


To get more information about the Aspiring Women Conferences this fall, visit their website at AspiringWomen.com