By Grettel Loney
In the past few weeks, we’ve all heard about and seen unbelievable video of the havoc Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria wreaked on Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean. So many people’s entire livelihoods were lost: their homes and businesses destroyed, pets killed, and some even paid the ultimate price for the fury of these storms with their life.
Did you know there are storms worse than these Category 5 hurricanes taking direct hits on our young girls every single day? They are ravaging lives, but no one is calling FEMA or the National Guard because these aren’t storms you can tangibly see—these are devastating storms on emotional and spiritual levels. You may have heard of them:
Anxiety, depression, bullying, suicide, cutting, low self-esteem, to name a few.
Monica Withers believes the answer to these storms is an encounter with the Almighty God, which is why she has spent months preparing for an all-day conference for girls ages 14 to 25 on October 14 in Sand Springs.
Monica has been a personal trainer for 33 years. She’s always worked with women. She had a learning disability, so although at 33 years old she learned that God knew her name and loved her, she didn’t understand the Bible for many years. Then because of childhood hurts, it took her ten years after becoming a Christian to be able to receive God’s love. But God began to make it really clear to her that He loves her. She says He began writing her long love letters, and He healed her through that process. Those letters evolved into two books. The first is an interactive devotional called Radical God Talk. The second book comes out the week before the conference, and it’s called God Talk- the Radical Side of Love. Monica says you know it’s a God thing when the least likely person to write a book is on her third.
Monica now has a passion for young girls. She wants to address things at this conference that many parents and churches are afraid to address: same sex, porn, talking about hookups with two or three boys as young as elementary schools, girls wanting to fit in with the popular crowd even if that means compromising their morals and more. Monica says these kids are broken. She states that since 2009, suicide rates have doubled in girls ages 10 to 20. Monica wants to point them to the One who can mend these broken girls—the One who can heal: Jesus.
Monica says 50% of kids raised in a Christian home end up turning away from God in college because they followed a God their parents followed, they did the “churchy” thing, but they never had an encounter. She has been teaming up with prayer warriors, and she believes every single girl who shows up on October 14 will have an encounter with the Living God.
More than anything, Monica says, the goal is to show them who they are IN Christ. That the brokenness they are living is not what God intended for them. That He loves them, needs them, and that they can stand up to the darkness. She says if they decide to keep going in the darkness, at least now they will know the truth.
The conference is called “Who am I?” It won’t be your typical conference, Monica promises. There will be a coffee truck, cupcakes, Old School Bagel for breakfast and Panera for lunch, drama, dance, singers, a fashion show with four designers and Paul Mitchel™ makeup, and at the end, a panel of guests the girls can anonymously or in person ask the tough questions to. There will be four guest speakers—two in the morning and two in the afternoon. “It’s going to be a full day of catering to these girls and just showing them the love of God,” Monica said.
The conference is 9 to 5 at a beautiful barn in Sand Springs, away from distractions, and not in your typical church, school or conference setting.
The $25 entry fee includes all food and a swag bag with gifts: Monica’s devotional, a hand-made journal, Starbucks product, pieces of jewelry, and more! Throughout the day, there will be drawings for gift cards to places such as Starbucks and TJ Maxx, and for makeup.
Three buses with monitors will be bringing girls needing transportation from different Walmarts in North Tulsa, Tulsa, and Jenks. For more information and to buy your tickets, please go to radicalgod.com/girls-day-out-conference-2017/. You can also reach Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This hurricane season is proving to be one of the worst ever. Just as we would help victims of Harvey, Irma, and Maria with food, water, and shelter, if you know a young girl, please reach out to her with this information, because the storms our girls are facing are also brutal and life-altering.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Grettel Loney is a regular contributing writer and an editor for the918. As a mother of a teenage girl, she appreciates that God has given Monica a passion for our young girls and looks forward to her daughter attending this conference. Grettel enjoys playing the guitar, reading, and studying the Word of God.