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Are You A Closet Bag Lady? By Terri Howe
June 8, 2015


My purse is very organizedFor years and years we women have been teased at every opportunity about the things we carry in our purse!  We will defend those supplies to anyone who comments.  Well, on Mother’s Day weekend 2015 (Saturday, May 9th) Westney’s Women’s Ministry hosted a brunch for “closet bag ladies”.  Truth is, the morning was geared towards all women. Speaker, writer, trainer and life coach Kathy Butryn delivered two wonderful messages that helped us understand what being a closet bag lady meant.

Our ice breaker “So….What’s in YOUR Purse?” caused the room full of 135 women to laugh hilariously at ourselves when we realized the extent of what was in some of our purses.  It more than “broke the ice”!  We were allowed a specific point value for anything  found in our purse that was indicated on the game sheet……necessities such as cell phones, makeup and car keys, to band aids, kids toys, chocolate, medication, sewing kits and pepper spray.  The “winner” with the most points actually had eating utensils in her purse…..yes!....a knife and fork!  The 20 points allotted for the fork and knife catapulted her into the winner’s circle and the rest of us cheered and celebrated the supplies in that bag!  Way to go!

We visually grasped the weight of our bags caused by unnecessary items we drag with us daily, items that we were never meant to carry.  This exercise certainly helped us apply Kathy’s Godly messages aimed at helping us identify the baggage we carry that hinders our vertical relationship with Jesus Christ. She asked if we have ever gone on a trip and carried too much stuff with us?  And we vow that we will never do it again, however, we daily carry around bags just like this.  Many of our bags are full of our “self”……self-dependence, self-righteousness, things that make us important and maintain our own image.  We hurry around doing more and more in less and less time.  Living in a hurry fatigues us physically, relationally, and emotionally. We end up doing things that God has not called us to do…….becoming unavailable to those we love, and to God.  Kathy related many scriptures to her messages, including the parable of the Prodigal Son. We found that it is nothing but pride that causes us to behave in self-dependence and self-righteousness.  The four R’s…….”Return, Relate, Restore and Remember” can help form us into the kind of person that can fully enter into abundant life with God. It is here that we come to the end of ourselves.  We can have the wrong sense of grace and fairness and we think it is our business to decide what is right and fair.  Only God is right.....and only through salvation!

A women’s worship team (plus one very brave man) brought a wonderful segment of praise and worship. We were incredibly blessed by each one of them.  Entering into worship at the end of Kathy’s first message helped align our hearts and heads to apply her message even more clearly. 

Alison McGilvray and her amazing team of kitchen ladies prepared the most delicious brunch and we were blessed yet again.  (I never take for granted the hours and hours  these ladies put into the preparation of an event.  I know that some of them were in the kitchen at 11 p.m. Friday night and back by 6:00 Saturday morning.  I am constantly humbled by this ministry and their heart to serve us!  Thank you Alison and your selfless team.)   

Kathy’s sense of humour and personal experience helped us to relate to her completely.  She is transparent, vulnerable and very warm.  At the end of her day she encouraged us to practice “being still, praying always and surrender to him” so that we can develop and deepen our personal relationship with God, which is what we really seek. 

What a wonderfully encouraging morning it was……and so many new faces filled the sanctuary!  Many of our ladies had invited their mom, sisters, neighbours and friends to join us and it was a warm and refreshing Mother’s Day celebration!  We have heard feedback that Kathy’s message came in perfect timing for what was happening in some of the lady’s lives.  Others shared ongoing conversations they were having with friends and neighbours who were not (yet) believers but wanted to understand more about God and that personal relationship. 

Luke 15:18 “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee….”.  “The prodigal son came to his senses” and God extends an invitation for us to “come to our senses” too, leave our bags behind, and return to him.




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