Author and speaker Brad Wilcox has more in common with women than meets the eye.
At a recent Time Out for Women event, the popular presenter was dragging around what he called a large satchel when a woman remarked: "You are the only man in the room and you have the biggest purse."
The abuse is worth it, Wilcox said.
"It's a fun time," Wilcox said. "I have loved every minute of it."
Wilcox and his wife, Debi, have been involved with Time Out for Women since the couple returned from presiding over the Chile Santiago East Mission in 2006.
Time Out for Women is an event designed to uplift and rejuvenate women through various messages of spiritual inspiration from respected authors and music artists. The series is sponsored by Deseret Book.
Wilcox likens Time Out for Women to Especially for Youth (EFY). He has been involved with EFY since 1985 and has seen for himself how the spiritual messages, along with the opportunity to bond and network, has uplifted the youths of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I wanted to be able to give women the same experience that young people get at EFY," the former seminary teacher and mission president said. "Not only do you learn from a speaker, but from each other, and in a less formal setting. You can laugh, have fun and feel the spirit."
Time Out for Women provides a much-needed spark for women worn down by life, Wilcox said.
"(On Sunday) women are busy helping kids prepare to go to church; during church they are busy with callings and making sure everyone gets where they need to be; then they are busy after church getting food into everyone's mouth so no one is fighting," Wilcox said. "This is a way to provide a shot in the arm for women, a spiritual uplift they may not always get in church."
In the past, Brad and Debi had fun presenting on the topic of "If You Can Laugh at It, You Can Live With It," which centered on the goal of keeping a good sense of humor when life turns tough and problems seemed overwhelming.
This year Wilcox is presenting by himself on the topic of "grace."
"Grace isn't a light at the end of the tunnel but rather it's an enabling power, the light all around us, that gets us through the tunnel," Wilcox said.
While many people ask the question, "Have you been saved by grace?" Wilcox goes a step further and asks, "Have you been changed by grace?" He teaches that Christ doesn't just make up the difference, he makes all the difference.
Wilcox also addresses the topic in his latest book, "The Continuous Atonement" ($21.95 wherever Deseret Book products are sold).
"When the sisters can grasp that, it relieves them of feelings of guilt, like they can never measure up," Wilcox said. "It's a message of hope for women. They don't need to beat themselves up because they can't do their best all the time. They need to understand any offering is acceptable to God, even when you and the Lord know it's not your best. He is more concerned with the offerer than the offering."
This weekend the tour stops in Omaha, Neb. This fall Time Out for Women events are scheduled for Logan, Utah, and Sacramento, Calif. (Sept. 10-11), Hartford, Conn. (Sept. 17-18), Dallas (Oct. 8-9), Phoenix (Oct. 15-16), Atlanta and Las Vegas (Oct. 22-23), Portland, Ore. (Nov. 5-6) and Boise, Idaho (Nov. 12-13). For information, registration, schedule details and cost, see deseretbook.com/tofw.
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