Approximately 300 women, including Jill Freeze, attended the inaugural Living Out Loud Women’s Conference to worship and focus on women’s issues on Saturday at the Oxford Conference Center.
Freeze joined the panel of six speakers, all women, who shared their testimonies focused on “Freedom and Restoration,” this year’s theme. The specific focus of the conference was to relate the challenges that women face to the growth of their spiritual relationships and inspire confidence in sharing stories of that growth.
“That’s our goal, and that’s our mission. We’re led to encourage women … to find freedom in sharing their stories,” Alley Bell, conference planner and co-creator of the Living Out Loud with Alley and Amanda podcast, said.
Bell and Amanda Reed began co-hosting the podcast “Living Out Loud with Alley and Amanda” three years ago and have since wanted to plan a conference. They started planning the event a year ago.
Living Out Loud is a spiritual podcast that helps women find liberation in being open with their spiritual selves, and the conference on Saturday was an embodiment of that purpose. All six speakers shared their personal stories with the conference-goers and encouraged women to do the same.
One speaker, Mindy Lancaster of Heartfelt Ministries, shared about her years-long struggle with loss, domestic violence and addiction. Today, Lancaster is healthy and happily married, and she said her relationship with women mentors helped her overcome her issues.
“It was those that mentored me, and now I get to mentor others and share the Word with women,” Lancaster said. “They never turned me away. They spoke those things into me, and now I get to speak to women and teenagers. It’s a circle.”
Conference-goers were enthusiastic and eager to interact with each other and the speakers. Many shared personal stories, followed by tears and hugs. The women were eager to fellowship with one another.
Conference sponsors included Chick-fil-A West Jackson Avenue and Our American Stories, a podcast. The conference was mainly planned by Bell, Reed and their team of Living Out Loud volunteers. Bell and Reed were both ecstatic to see the conference come to life on Saturday.
“Overjoyed, just amazing. We were just expectant of what God was going to do (Saturday),” Reed said. “We knew that nothing could interrupt His plan because He’s that one that gave us the dream and the vision for it. We were just honored He decided to use us and our ministry.”