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The ETBU Women’s Summit encourages students to embrace their story

February 7, 2019

East Texas Baptist University hosted Jamie Ivey as the keynote speaker at the third annual Women’s Summit on Monday, February 4. The event consisted of a chapel service, women’s faculty and staff luncheon, and special evening session.

“I pray this event empowered the women of ETBU to believe that they have a story, and the hero of their story is Jesus regardless of the details,” ETBU Women’s Ministry Coordinator Jennifer Curran said. “I want them to choose bravery, be honest with people, and know there is healing and freedom when they turn their lives over to the Lord. I hope that every Women’s Summit exposes our students to Godly women, who are doing great things for the Kingdom in the community and on campus. The most rewarding part is hearing over time the fruit that comes from how God worked during the event. We are blessed to have the resources and support to bring in women, who are speaking and writing on national stages.”

Jamie Ivey is a podcaster, writer, and speaker. Through her podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, she encourages women to love Jesus with all of their heart, soul, and mind. Ivey is also the author of the bestseller, If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free. She and her husband, Aaron, live in Austin, Texas with their four children. During the chapel service, Ivey taught the story of Paul in Acts 7.

“Paul’s story is not just a story about a man, who, before his redemption, persecuted Christians. Paul’s story is about a man who, like us, was dead in his trespasses. God intervened and he became a follower of Christ,” Ivey explained. “We share the same story, and our identity is that we are followers of Christ. Your mistakes are a part of your story, but they do not define you. There is redemption for your mess. We can have confidence in the One who has done this good work in us, loves us despite our failures, and uses the weak. God is in the business of redeeming broken people to accomplish His work. We all have a story that matters and has purpose. The question becomes, what will you do with your story?”

Ivey invited questions and interacted with a group of female University leaders at lunch. The focus of the session was on how to receive someone else’s story.

“I learned that receiving someone else's story provides a deeper understanding of the individual and teaches us both more about God’s grace and love,” ETBU Ornelas Hall Resident Director Arlette Henderson shared. “I was empowered to conquer my fear of judgment in order to share my own story with others. Now, I know that my story can help others overcome obstacles and see God’s forgiving power. It was rewarding to hear the openness of other women and experience how it unifies us. I enjoyed being around other women in a peaceful and encouraging environment.”

ETBU female students, faculty, and staff gathered for the final session of the Women’s Summit on Monday evening. ETBU juniors Cayla Greer and Haley Harmening led worship, including songs such as You Say I am Loved and Break Every Chain. The closing session centered on cultivating authentic community through vulnerability and transparency.

“There was such a strong sense of community Monday night during worship,” ETBU senior Helen Sperling said. “As we filled up the recital hall, our voices together were so powerful. We were all in need of a time set aside out of the week to be still and worship with other women. Jamie spoke on community and the importance of it. She could not have been more right; we need each other. The summit was a reminder that God does not use perfect people. We are all broken, and not one of us is better than the other to bring glory to God’s name. He will work in each one of us. It is just a matter of believing and trusting in His power to do so.”