EMPOWER 2024: Lyons urges ‘holy resilience’ at multigenerational Women’s Session

Rebekah Lyons shares some of the challenges she has faced in her life with attendees at Monday's Women's Session at the 2024 Empower Conference. “If you are crying," she said, "there’s a good chance you are on the road to healing."

IRVING—How should Christian women meet life’s challenges? With “holy resilience,” according to author, and teacher Rebekah Lyons.

Lyons served as the featured speaker at the 2024 Empower Women’s Session held Monday at the Irving Convention Center. The crowd that gathered to see her was diverse—including mothers with infants and toddlers, senior citizens, and every age in between.

Lyons, author of Building a Resilient Life and the devotional A Surrendered Yes, shared the story of her family of six—which includes two children with Down syndrome: the couple’s oldest son and their youngest child, an adopted daughter. Popular culture maintains that resilience merely means to bounce back, she said. “Jesus tells us the opposite: ‘In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.’”

Brokenness is universal, she added: “Any kid, any marriage, any home life, any relationship—we are all broken people in need of a Savior.”

Lyons said resilience is a consecrated daily act and not “naïve optimism.” At its heart, resilience is “a belief that Christ has truly overcome the world.”

Unexpected tests

A move to New York City challenged Lyons and her family in unexpected ways. She began having acute panic attacks, times of sheer terror that strained relationships with loved ones. She became afraid of elevators, subways, trains, and crowds—circumstances impossible to avoid in New York.

In researching her struggles, she learned that confronting one’s fears and entering spaces provoking fear cause physiological changes in the brain, enabling the growth of neurons. Avoidance of difficult things, she found, has a different growth effect.

“When you avoid fear, it grows,” she said. “God isn’t calling us to be fearful.”

Over time, she discovered an utter dependence on God that enabled her to survive. Through that process, she learned to stop being a “control freak” and came to understand God had a purpose in her tears.

“If you can’t grieve, you can’t be comforted,” she said. “If you are crying, there’s a good chance you are on the road to healing.”

Five rules of resilience

Lyons’s experiences led her to develop five rules of resilience, the basis of her book, Building a Resilient Life.

The first rule of resilience is to name the pain. “Ask Jesus to get in the middle of that place of pain,” she said, recommending a rhythm of confession like that of David in Psalm 139. “Tell God the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The enemy dwells in the secret. He wants to keep you there.”

Secondly, Lyons urged the audience to shift the narrative from what is broken to what is whole. “We are all broken and it’s Christ’s mercy and kindness that invites us to bring anything to Him … No conversation [is] off limits with God,” she said.

Third, to develop a holy resilience, one must embrace adversity, moving toward, not away from, obstacles. “The reason we can … embrace adversity is not because we are the savior but because we are governed by the one who is,” she said.

The fourth key is to make meaning. Lyons reminded listeners they are reflections of God’s glory. God has willed our various stories so His glory might be displayed in us. “No two of us look alike,” she said. “That means your imprint on this world was ordained by God Himself.”

Finally, Lyons called for the audience to endure together to become resilient. She stressed the importance of community, calling for emphasis on relationships rather than possessions.

“You show up. You keep showing up,” she said. “You don’t just drop [off] a casserole and run.”

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