conference review · the gospel coalition · theology

I Won! Meeting Mary Willson at #TGCW16


Image courtesy of Kathleen Murray, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

One of the first things I did at The Gospel Coalitions Women’s Conference was check out the schools. I have long wanted my PhD; about thirty minutes into my first seminary class I thought, “I want my doctorate.” That’s how much I love study, and, in particular, the study of theology.

I visited the booth for Trinity Evangelical Divinity School as one of my first stops on Thursday, almost as soon as the conference exhibit hall opened. My childhood preacher earned his DMin from Trinity, and I know a few other people who have attended there as well, mostly earning DMins. I chatted with Angela for a bit, asked a few questions, filled out an info card, grabbed some literature (and a beautiful journal) and was on my way.

Friday, Mary Willson brought the Word of God to the women at the conference. I will not hesitate to say she was, by far, the most powerful speaker of the weekend, in my opinion. She was given a huge chunk of text to cover, and she did so masterfully. I summarized her message in my previous post, but I strongly encourage every woman reading this to listen to what Mary has to say about living as exiles, resisting evil and doing good for the Glory of God, in all aspects of life. Powerful, powerful stuff.

As I listened to Mary, who I had never heard of before, I thought to myself, “I would like to meet her and pray for her. Here is a woman who is rightly handling the Word of God, and what a privilege to ‘sit at her feet’ and learn from her.”

Saturday morning, I see on the conference app that Trinity is giving away $250 worth of books, and time with Mary Willson. Intrigued, I pop by their booth and ask if I’m entered in said giveaway, since I had filled out a card, and had already received an email from the admissions office. They say yes, but I figure I have never won anything before, so I thank them, and promptly go drop serious cash on a Reformation Study Bible.


As John Piper starts the final session, my phone starts buzzing. I figure it’s my husband telling me he and the kiddo are on their way downtown for haircuts. Nope. It’s a text and the conference app alerting me that I have won the Trinity drawing for $250 worth of books, and time with Mary Willson.

I kid you not, I immediately burst into tears.

One of my favorite names for God is “The God Who Sees,” from the story of Hagar in the desert in Genesis 16. I don’t believe that God speaks audibly to people, or that you “feel” things in your spirit. I believe God speaks concretely through His Word, and sometimes, through the actions of others and the actions of things happening around us. I have felt very…lonely in the faith, lately. All alone, actually, if truth be told. And when I read that text, it was if God was reminding me that He sees me.

Well, let me tell you, focusing on John Piper was a little difficult after that! But I did, and I stayed until he finished his prayer. Then I went and met the ladies at the TEDS booth. And what an incredible group of ladies they are!

I was so excited to meet with Alexandra, Kathleen, Andrea, and the other women from Trinity. I mean, here I am, a stay-at-home mom with an MDiv, and I won! Then they told me I was going to be able toΒ choose $250 worth of books from the bookstore, and I almost burst into tears again! Alexandra asked me some questions, Kathleen took a ton of photos (all the photos in this post are hers, by the way), and I basically cannot even recall everything that happened.

Mary came to the booth, and was wonderful. I couldn’t believe I got to meet her. I was afraid I would be a little “fangirlish” with her, but I feel like I held it together pretty well. We talked theology, women’s ministry, study opportunities, and then she helped me pick out some solid theology books.


Image courtesy of Kathleen Murray, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Pictured: Mary Willson, Alexandra Horn, and myself.

Then we got to pray. It’s kind of a blur, all that we discussed, but I did ask if I could pray for her before she left for her next assignment of the conference. I am so humbled and privileged that I could grasp arms with this wonderful woman of God, and pray for her ministry, her studies, her life as she leads women into the Truth. And then she offered to pray for me, as well, and I was, well, humbled even further.


Image courtesy of Kathleen Murray, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

By the time I was finished shopping, I had quite a few solid books to add to my library, as well as a few CDs by Keith & Kristyn Getty, who led worship all weekend. (Keith Getty stopped us while we were shopping, to thank Mary for all her hard work. Talk about awestruck. I just backed right on out of the way!). I had met Mary Willson, immensely enjoyed my time with Kathleen and Alexandra, and wished I could start school at TEDS this week (just so I could hang out with these women again soon).

I cannot begin to articulate how grateful I am to Trinity for their generosity. Not only did Mary take time out of what I imagine was a crazy, busy schedule, the ladies went a little over the $250 budget so I could get Keith a new Bible, and our son a Kevin DeYoung children’s theology book as well. They were kind, encouraging, and supportive, as I am not very good at shopping, or at spending money (mine, or, apparently, other people’s!).

Trinity did not ask me to write this, but they did give me permission. I asked if I could blog about this, and Alexandra said yes. I had an incredible experience at #TGCW16, and the opportunity to spend a few moments with Mary Willson and the ladies from TEDS was the icing on the cake!

3 thoughts on “I Won! Meeting Mary Willson at #TGCW16

    1. Thank you SO much. She was so lovely, and her message that weekend was amazing. I’m looking forward to hearing her father speak in April! Thank you for reading πŸ™‚


  1. I was also at TGCW16 and it was the first time I had heard of Mary Willson. I’m a stay at home dairy farm wife and home educating mama of 4 kiddos aged 11-16 and am currently deciding if I will attend TGCW18 or not….. I see that Mary is presenting Deut 1 there. Thanks for sharing your amazing experience. That conference was a little taste of heaven- Mary Willson brought it as did some others, including John Piper’s presentation of 1Peter 5 from memory.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s