February 6th and 7th, 2009, I attended a Going Beyond conference in Marietta, Georgia.  For those of you who don’t know, Going Beyond is the ministry of Author, Speaker and Bible Teacher, Priscilla Shirer.  Mrs. Shirer is one of my favorite speakers, and her books and bible studies are phenomenal, as well!  The first Priscilla Shirer book I read was A Jewel in His Crown. If you’ve never read the book, it’s definitely a good one to put on your Autumn reading list.  I read the book years ago, and I enjoyed it.  Sadly, however, I received only limited pleasure from the book back then,but today I understand why.  I wasn’t ready for the truths contained therein.  My poor little shackled mind could not begin to comprehend how I could be considered as precious as a jewel in the crown of the Holy One.  Hmmm…  Now might be a good time to read the book again.

But I digress….

Back to February 6th and 7th, 2009…

The Going Beyond conference was amazing!  Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of women of all races and stages worshipped together, attentively drinking in the word of God as it was poured out by Mrs. Shirer.  Jonah was her subject that weekend, and I believe some of that teaching is now in the form of a full-length bible study entitled – Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted.  I haven’t snagged this study yet, but hear me when I tell you.  An expansion of the teachings she delivered that cold, winter weekend in 2009 can only provide for some very potent study time with God.

The conference was excellent!  I was delighted to be there on many levels.  Women’s ministry events excite me!  In addition to the powerful teaching, I was so inspired by this woman who does, in many aspects, what I SO hope the Lord will bless me to do again one day – teach women the empowering and liberating word of God.


This word fast forwards me to the point of this whole trip down memory lane.  At the end of the conference, Mrs. Shirer hosted a short meet and greet for the women in attendance.  Actually, it was more of an express autograph line, but her effort to greet her guests was greatly appreciated.

Because I was alone and quite emotional for some reason that weekend, I was seated near the rear of the church sanctuary.  My strategic positioning provided for a quick get-away, or in this case, prime positioning in the line to meet Mrs. Shirer.  After hugging their necks and signing conference booklets for the 2 or 3 women ahead of me, I was now face to face with an Author, Speaker, and Bible Teacher I’ve admired from a distance for many years.  I can’t recall what all was said and done during my few moments standing before her, but the simple words she scribbled so swiftly on my conference booklet have changed my life forever.


Signed copy of Going Beyond Conference Booklet - Feb 7, 2009


Penned on the cover of my Going Beyond Conference booklet, with a black Sharpie no doubt, is the first name “Priscilla” sandwiched between the following words:  “Freedom…Gal.5:1”.

Galatians 5:1 (NASB) reads, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”


I thought I was free.  I live in a free country, right?  I have “free will”.  So why is it that when I inquired of the Lord, “am I free,” He replied to me, “No, babygirl, you are not!”  Ouch!!  To the contrary, I was still in bondage in so many ways.  So to what was I enslaved?

  • Other people’s opinions
  • Insecurity (fancy word for “Fear”)
  • Fear – of not being liked, of not being loved, of being alone, of being myself, of being different
  • Fear – of being wrong, of being right, of being judged
  • Conformity
  • Mediocrity
  • Fear – of failure, of success

If you notice, the list above was rooted in fear of living my true identity in Christ and what the world may think of me as I do.  Fear is the keyword here.  Fear is BONDAGE!  Fear is the yoke of slavery.  Fear is the adversary of freedom.  But thank God for a few words from my favorite speaker written on the cover of a conference booklet.  They were as purposeful as my attendance that weekend, setting me on a path, my path towards true freedom.

Today, I have learned to first look inside – to Christ in me, the One who is Freedom – for my guidance, my permissions, my acceptance, my assignment, and my identity.  Then, to see what freedom looks like on the outside…well these days, I simply look in the mirror.


the beauty of FREEDOM


And today, Freedom is looking pretty darn cute in her favorite Winnie the Pooh t-shirt and feeling as much joy as little Pooh


the joy of POOH!!


looks to be feeling, too!!  LOL…

*Sigh*….. Freedom….

Father, it is my heart’s desire to be a vessel of freedom.  Use me, everywhere I go, to pour the foundation for true freedom into the hearts of your daughters, preparing the way for You to re-build them as women of your original design and specifications.  I pray that those who haven’t already will learn to embrace true Freedom on the inside – Christ within – so that the beauty of true Freedom – the glory of God – may be displayed on the outside.  Re-build your daughters today, Lord.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Wise, Virtuous, Valuable,


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marcia
    Oct 11, 2010 @ 19:05:09

    GREAT Post Sis! I can attest personally to the Jonah: Life Interrupted Bible Study. It is truly phenomenal. Priscilla Shirer is an amazing teacher and she is also on of my favorites as well.

    It is so exciting to be FREE. But as you said when you are not free you are in bondage TO something. So reading over your post (and reflecting on my weekend) I realized that we are FREED TO something as well. To the lifestyle that Christ has called us to live, to be used by Him and to Glorify Him. We are not just “free” for “free” sake. We now have the responsibility as you said to lead others to Freedom to and in Christ. Now THAT is awesome!!


  2. Wanda
    Oct 18, 2010 @ 17:58:11

    Monica, of course I can relate to pretty much every bondage you listed here. Not long ago I came across that passage of scripture in Galatians and it really stood out to me. It’s my heart desire to walk in the fullness of everything Christ’s coming, dying, and resurrecting provided for me. And, I see with both have sweet spot for oh pooh bear 😉


    • Monica P. Watkins
      Oct 20, 2010 @ 19:46:57

      “It’s my heart desire to walk in the fullness of everything Christ’s coming, dying, and resurrecting provided for me.” Well, if this is your heart’s desire, then I have no doubt you will accomplish all that He placed you here to accomplish for His glory. All you have to do is be obedient.
      And yes…. who could not LOVE Pooh?! lol…


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