Women are often brought up with the mentality that there can be only one prettiest girl in the room. Lauren Winner told me so—to me and 200 other women at a Synergy Conference in Orlando over seven years ago.
I have a feeling my husband was brought up with that mentality too, because after some big event where there are tons of pretty women in a room – he always let’s me know that I was the prettiest girl in the room. And I believe he truly thinks that. And I also believe he is probably the only one.
Now, I imagine if you are one those who think you are that woman, you must surely feel threatened every time a new face joins your circle of influence. That’s got to be tough to live with. Rob Lowe even said it’s hard to be so good looking—or something to that effect.
I’ve never had that problem—especially after my mother-in-law—after meeting me for the first time—said, “you’re pretty enough, but not enough to be conceited about your looks.” And that was one woman who told it as she saw it.
But I’ve often wondered, what is it about a Synergy conference that makes everyone feel like they are the prettiest girl in the room. I remember going for the first time in 2005 and thinking to myself – if this gets fluffy and I start feeling the least bit uncomfortable, I’m bolting. I actually said something to this effect to my friend, Linda Reich, who I went with. It was her husband who told me I was going and he got me a plane ticket that day. So, I went only to please them. But I came away with a new found respect for women who are out to advance the Kingdom of God, and not their own agendas. Perhaps that’s why everyone feels like the prettiest girl in the room. It’s never about the women—it’s about their God—who truly is beautiful. I’ve been to four Synergy conferences (2005 to 2008) – and every time I leave I want to step it up for the Kingdom of God. I come away asking myself – OK, what does God want me to do? … now that he has refreshed my entire being, equipped me with great teaching, and made me feel that I can do all things through him who greatly strengthened me through the women at Synergy.
Carolyn James is the woman who started Synergy. Of course, she doesn’t take all the credit—or even a little of the credit—and attributes their beginning to a conversation around a dinner table with friends. But Synergy has the influence of Carolyn all over it. She is a big reason why all women come away feeling beautiful in Christ.
She personally takes me by the hand and introduces me to other women in similar vocations. Every time I am with her she goes to that place of depth in a conversation that makes me feel like I am one of her intimates. Every time she speaks it is out of her personal struggles and experiences and how that meshes with her theology and the Word of God. She never shuts you out. She invites you in. And God has indeed given her “stuff” to struggle over. She’s not had it easy. But it’s apparent that regardless of her circumstances she trusts God to be her Lord. And then she has this husband who thinks she can do anything. He seems to always be pushing her out of the nest. In a good way that is. He’s truly her biggest cheerleader.
This past Friday Carolyn had surgery to remove cancer from her lungs. Frank says she’s walking the halls already and recouping in ezer-like fashion.
Carolyn has given much to my life and I pray that she recovers beautifully – because the body of Christ needs her. She unites. She loves. She instructs. She shows me how to love better – because she has always loved me well. Thank you my beautiful sister in Christ.