Area women find fellowship in sharing secrets

Darrell Todd Maurina

Gerri Dawson has a secret, and she wants to share it this weekend with hundreds of people.
Dawson, whose husband David is the founding pastor of the Pure Heart Word Center church, will be among the speakers at the “Girl I Got a Secret” women’s conference, meeting today, Saturday, and Sunday at Clovis Christian School.
Gerri Dawson said many Christian women have great difficulty coping with serious sin in their life, especially actions done before their conversion that may be more readily forgiven for men than for women.
“Before I was saved and in my college years, as a female you go through a lot of emotional ups and downs,” she said. “I was a big party girl, loved to go to the clubs…. A lot of things we’ve been through, as women, we don’t give our full testimony even though there may be someone in the audience who is going through that same thing right now and needs to hear it.”
Dawson, who is now the mother of seven children — five with her husband and two adopted — said one example can be women struggling with pregnancy out of wedlock.
“Having a baby out of wedlock and putting him up for adoption, that was a real big thing for me,” she said. “Because of things we have done in the past, I can say, ‘I was once in your shoes and I can relate.’”
Dawson said she never planned to become a pastor’s wife, but she was looking for a godly Christian husband and has learned to cope with the stresses of pastoral ministry. Many of those same coping skills are important in any marriage, she said.
Dawson said that positive focus is something the conference will emphasize. While topics addressed by the five female speakers and three women in music ministry will include different forms of abuse, low self-esteem, depression, suicide, control issues, single motherhood, sexual immorality, and being fatherless, she said the women’s conference goal is to provide positive solutions.
“This is not a gossiping session to talk about someone, but it is a ministry of healing,” she said. “The Bible tells us to restore one another. If you made a mistake, you know what? Get up!”
On the other hand, Dawson said people who come to the conference need to know that problems which took years to create won’t go away overnight.
“Don’t come expecting a quick fix, like ‘I’m going to be a super-saint after today,’” she said. “Come wanting a change. We’re here to help you change.”
While primarily designed for women, Dawson said she didn’t want to bar men from the conference.
“There are some single fathers out there who are going through things with their daughters and they don’t know what to do,” she said. “Maybe if a female is saying these things, it will help the dads out there to relate.”
Dawson’s husband leads a predominantly black church, but both Dawsons said they want people from all races to come to the conference.
“God said the gospel is one-size-fits-all,” he said. “Technically, I’m not black anyway — I’m chocolate-brown.”
“We don’t claim to have it all, but we do have Jesus, and he is all,” he said.