Instead of open gym (as is traditional on a Saturday at Faith Community Center), the MPR hosted a classy event with dynamic female speakers and elegant desserts from local bakery Yum Yum Cupcakes & Tea. Lafayette professionals gathered for an inspirational conference and workshop called Give Up To Go Up. Many women from many walks of life traveled through the cold to hear women speak passionately about becoming stronger leaders in the community. The phrase “get up to go up” was first coined by John Maxwell in his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, where this motivational phrase is listed as the last of Maxwell’s seven steps of success.
Barbara Kerkhoff, Orchestrator for Indiana Voices of Women, says she is here to support women like Monica Keyes, one of the key speakers and a local nurse practitioner. “There is an African proverb that says, ‘If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you education a woman, you educate a community.’ I see them as an encouragement to continue to be there for the community.”
Nikki Coffey is a college student, employee of Faith Infant Care, and local business owner of “She Cleans,” a business that helps others organize their lives and life skills coach. “I’m always looking for ways to work on myself,” she said. “I’m hoping this can help me in all aspects in life, not just business.”
Give Up To Go Up focused on four main topics: equip, entrust, empower, and encourage. Speakers Nina Guyton, Heather Henley, Toyinda Wilson-Long, and Keyes used personal experience and knowledge of professional success to emphasize the importance of confidence in what God has done and is continuing to do in the lives of His daughters.
“Every trial, every situation has a purpose. All of us has experienced difficulties,” said Guyton. “There is no situation in your life that has no happened that will not help, uplift, and bless the next person. ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose’ [Romans 8:28]. Even if you’ve only got a little bit, you’ve got enough to accomplish your purpose.”
Henley, who shared bits of her background that included abuse, taught on the importance of transformation through God. “What you see now is not what I’ve been through,” she said, with verbal affirmations from the crowd. Tears ran freely amongst the attendees as Henley passionately taught on forgiveness towards those who have offended.
The conference ended with an open mic for testimonies from the audience. Numbers of women stepped up with the same message: they were encouraged. A local pastor’s wife thanked the speakers, “I am so blessed to be here. You shared your stories, you weren’t afraid to talk about your weaknesses and where God has brought you.” Others shared personal stories of hard pasts and the hope to walk forward and upwards.
“Sometimes, you just don’t know how you’re going to survive. But you can make it. You just got to keep your eyes on the prize, keep Jesus in the center.”