The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference 2018 Recap

If you follow me on Instagram (a horrible decision, really), you may know that I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this past week at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference (TGCW18 for short) in Indianapolis. I went with Arielle (my sister) and Janie (my sister-in-law), and it was an excellent time of learning and getting deluged with truth from Deuteronomy.

So I’m going to do a quick recap.

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Going Into It

Now, I am not going to pretend to be ultra-spiritual or so godly or pure-hearted here. This is it all just hanging out as it happened.

When I heard that TGCW18 would be primarily centered around texts from Deuteronomy, my little heathen heart sighed and rolled its eyes.

Just leave it to These Sort of People to try and make Deuteronomy—the slightly more endearing sibling of Numbers and Leviticus—a palatable, helpful, super meaningful, cut-me-to-my-core book. Like, only Those Sort of Christians (the wise, mature ones who actually mean it when they talk about how precious allllllll of God’s words are) actually like Deuteronomy. But I guess I should have anticipated such a thing from The Gospel Coalition since it is, after all, filled with Those Sort of Christians.

And then after hearing the gushing, opening remarks They made about Deuteronomy I rolled my eyes and thought, “You all are such nerds.”

And then They talked about how Deuteronomy is about hope for our rebel hearts. To which I internally rolled my eyes again and replied, “I don’t have a rebel heart.”

Famous. last. words.

I won’t pretend that I am now head-over-proverbial-heels for Deuteronomy, but I do intend to reread it very soon with less sighing and autopiloting and with hopefully more Holy Spirit illuminating and guiding.

Because apparently the Word of God actually is a two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit. And because apparently I have a rebel heart (shocker).

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Various Swanky Things

So, there was a massive bookstore with books from all the Christian non-fiction publishing houses I’ve ever heard of and some that I haven’t. And everything was at least 40% off.

*cue the jaw drop and the money zipping out of my bank account at the speed of light*

Did I buy more books than I should have? Of course not. Don’t be absurd. I am in perfect control of all my faculties when surround by highly discounted books. I have no idea why you would think otherwise.

Among my spoils purchases, you can find Newton on the Christian Life by Tony Reinke (the only Tony Reinke book that I didn’t own and hadn’t read; it shall not be so for long since it now sits alluringly on my shelf), The Prayer of the Lord by R. C. Sproul, The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield, and This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years by Jaquelle Crowe.

Speaking of Jaquelle Crowe, I’ve been internet stalking following her for a while now, and I’ve been wanting to buy her book since it first released. But somehow it never landed in my cart. But due to my highly trained Instagram story watching skills, I found out that Jaquelle Crowe would also be at TGCW18.

I finally bought her book, carried it around in my conference bag for day and a half in hopes of “running into her” (i.e. – catching sight of her with my eagle eyes and swooping in), and finally found her on the last day! Annnnnnnnd, I talked like more of an awkward dork than normal and interrupted her and her mom and really wanted to get a picture with her but chickened out but did manage to ask for her to sign my copy of her book. And she did! And was so chill about my ambush! And so sweet!

(I wanted to meet her so badly that I showed her picture to Arielle and Janie and repeatedly instructed them to keep their eyes peeled for a young, dark-haired Canadian. Because that description is so helpful, obviously.)

There were around 8,000 women at TGCW18 from 27 different countries, which was so cool. During the worship time in each session, the sound of 8,000 voices singing to Jesus together was incredible. Something like what I imagine heaven will be like.

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There were seven speakers on Deuteronomy as well as a bunch of other speakers for the workshop/breakout session, and Jackie Hill Perry and John Piper were by far my favorites.

Each speaker had so much to offer that it would take many, many posts to share what they said, but I will share a few things. These aren’t direct quotes; they’re some of the quotes/paraphrases I managed to scribble down in my notes during the sessions. After each little nugget, I’ll have the name of the speaker in parentheses.

  • God gives us everything we need to trust him, and when we don’t, we forfeit his blessing. (Mary Willson)
  • Our imaginations tend to get captured by the greatness of our obstacles instead of the greatness of our God. (Mary Willson)
  • We are no match for our foes, but our foes are no match for our God. (Mary Willson)
  • We obey the Law not to get salvation but because we already have salvation. (Jackie Hill Perry)
  • All image-bearers (people) matter to God, so all image-bearers must matter to the people of God. (Jackie Hill Perry)
  • We must infuse the love of God into the regular rhythms of our lives. (Kristie Anyabwile)
  • The problem of a divided heart is a problem of idolatry. (D. A. Carson)
  • In the name of loving others, we sometimes love others more than we love God (which is idolatry). (D.A. Carson)
  • The little choices we make every day are the sum of our lives. (Melissa Kruger)
  • People who have wisdom spend time with the God of all wisdom. (Melissa Kruger)
  • If you love the stranger, you’ll become strange yourself. (Rosaria Butterfield)
  • The sin that is going to undo us is our own. (Rosaria Butterfield)
  • Generosity only flourishes when you do not fear loss. (Jen Wilkin)
  • If you cherish something—anything—more than God, that is treason. (John Piper)
  • Until you understand the condition you were saved from, you will not enjoy and spread the Gospel to the fullest. (John Piper)
  • Doing things for God is not the essence of loving God; it’s the result of loving God. (John Piper)
  • Choose life. Hold fast to him [Jesus], for he is your life and length of days. (John Piper)

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Last Things

Would I recommend TGCW to women/girls? Yes, absolutely.

The next TGCW will be held in 2020, so there’s plenty of time for you to save. PLUS, they do a very good job keeping the pricing for the conference low, and even when you add in lodging and travel expenses, it is well worth the cost to be drenched in so much knowledge and have three days carved out to focus on God.

The Holy Spirit blessed me a lot during my three days at TGCW18, and I’m very grateful to him for it. I hope you’ll consider this conference, and maybe I’ll see you at TGCW20!

In the meantime, what has been a blessing to you this year? Or what is something you’re really looking forward to in the next couple of months?

With love,


P.S. – we’re all going to ignore the fact that I totally skipped last week’s post.

P.P.S. – all flash fiction dashers, this is your last day to send your story in!

P.P.P.S. – I’ve gotten so many stories for the flash fiction dash already, and I think you all are going to love them!