In February 2012 roughly 120 Mums gathered for the first time to attend the first ever Captivated Conference. This was no ordinary conference!
The aim of the day was to treat, encourage and inspire Mums; a day to be with friends or make new friends, worship Jesus and reflect on who God is calling us to be at this time in our lives. For many Mums this was the first time in a LONG time that they had the day to themselves. One Mum told me that this was the first Saturday to herself in ten years!
Have you ever been to a conference and been delighted with your free pen? The Captivated team so desperately wanted to show their delegate Mums how special they all are that we gave treat bags to the first 100 that booked in. Natalie and Becca worked so hard putting together the bags, staying up late to paint wooden hearts with blackboard paint, scouring all the Superdrug store around Manchester for bargain boxes of bath fizzers and chocolates, and clipping frames together in order to fill the (now famous) Captivated bag with goodies. A few weeks before, the team had heard from another group of ladies who organise another women’s conference who also wanted to bless our mums. They had sent us all sorts of treats to give out on the day. It was incredible and it really felt as if God wanted to shower his blessings all over us.
During the day we set aside lots of time to spend worshipping through singing together. I don’t know about you, but I often struggle on a Sunday to praise God how I would like, keeping my eyes open so I can see what each of my children is up to, with one on my hip and often interrupted by a little tug at my waist. We made it a priority at the conference to give our Mums space to engage with God and also have the opportunity and time to be prayed for and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us.
There were two main talks during the day based in the book of Nehemiah. The talks were both encouraging and challenging and shared two members of the Captivated team, Beth a working mum of one and a heavily pregnant Lizzie, stay at home mum of two (now 3). We wanted to encourage Mums that God see’s the rubble in our lives and is building something beautiful; that even in this crazy, often exhausting time of parenting God is with us.
After a deliberately looong lunch of catching up with old friends, browsing around the craft and other stalls (and if you were lucky enough) having a hand massage or getting your nails painted, the delegates were able to choose from 3 seminars. One for working mums, sharing the highs and lows of going to work. Another looking at creative ways to still keep pursuing Jesus in this busy time of life and another seminar where we gave mums space to write their own psalm and looked at the power of praise.
We were supported on the day by a wonderful team of volunteers who we could not have done without! From serving cups of tea to praying for our very special guests – each volunteer gave up a precious Saturday to make the day so special for all who attended. We were incredibly grateful!
The feedback we received from the conference was phenomenal. It was so encouraging. The five mums that make up the Captivated team had worked so hard in the run up to the conference. I appeared at Church the next day an exhausted, weepy mess and had to leave almost as soon as I arrived. It was totally embarrassing and humbling especially as we had a number of the conference delegates who had stayed over attending our church that day. A few days later each of the team received a mysterious beautiful bouquet of flowers to say thank you. Despite the hard work we LOVED holding the conference and since so many of you have asked if we could do another… as you can see, we did!