Welcome to the Cultivate Speaker Series! At the conference, we'll have a variety of workshops that offer tools to equip and empower your faith journey. Speaker Series is an interview-style editorial about each speaker at Cultivate.
Let's meet Sharon Cesena, learn more about her breakout session (The Art of Journaling - Discovering Jesus at work in you!) and, how God has been working journaling in her life.
For Sharon, journaling has always been a valuable avenue to process her feelings, see growth in her relationship with Christ and her prayer life, and as a creative outlet in Art Journaling. God has put it on her heart to speak about journaling, on the heels of her hardest season in life.
Tell us about you and your family.
I work full time as a Planning/Sourcing manager for a small manufacturing company in El Dorado Hills. In my spare time I love to hike/backpack, read and dabble in art. I have a heart for kids with special needs, so it was an answered prayer when God brought Joy Ministry to Rolling Hills Christian Church (RHCC). I have been a volunteer since its inception 7 years ago.
I have two grown daughters, Kristi and Lindsey, who are also my best friends. I have two very active grandsons, Collin (8) and Jacob (5) whom I love spending time with any chance I can get. I grew up in a very loving family, where my three sisters and I were always encouraged to share our feelings and reach for our dreams.
Tell us about your faith journey.
I became a Christian nine years ago at the age of 50. I was raised Catholic but hadn't attended church regularly for over 20 years. A seed was planted in me at my daughter's freshman orientation dinner at William Jessup University, and I suddenly wanted more in my life - the spiritual aspect was missing. I attended Christmas service at RHCC December of 2008, and was baptized the following April. Its been the best decision of my life.
When you were asked to speak at Cultivate, what was your first reaction? Why?
My first answer was NO, because I am NOT a public speaker, and what would I even speak about? Women come to conferences to hear speakers like Lisa Harper, not plain old me.
When you heard what you would speak about, were you surprised by the topic that was asked of you? Why or why not?
When I was given the topic of Journaling, I eased a little and said - "Ok, that's something I could talk about because I'm passionate about it and have experienced the value of it in my life. But let me pray on this because I have no experience talking to large audiences. It takes everything in me to volunteer to lead prayer on occasion in small group."
Looking back up to this point, how has God worked out this topic in your own life?
God has brought me through the hardest season of my life the past year - an unexpected divorce after 29 years of marriage, followed by the sudden death of my mom. Surviving these two events has given me "my story" I thought I never had. He has blessed me with some amazing friends/family who support and encourage me, and His word/presence has helped ease my fears, and brought me peace and joy in the midst of this tough season. Reading back through my journals from day 1 of my divorce journey, followed by finding out my mom had cancer, up to today, it is amazingly clear how God has brought me through it (and continues to each day).
In what ways do you struggle with your topic?
Taking all my thoughts and information and making it interesting enough to capture the audience.
How has God worked in your life to overcome some of this?
I asked my small group and close friends to pray for me, and then while working on my bible study, and during quiet time with Jesus and daily devotional emails, the information just started flowing to me. I was amazed how God was working in me.
What do you want women who attend your breakout session to walk away with?
I pray the women gain an understanding and excitement about journaling in some form or another as a valuable tool to get all your feelings out, see growth in yourself, leave a legacy of sorts, and most importantly, see Jesus at work in your life.
What are you most excited about the conference?
Seeing hundreds of women under one roof, bonding and excited about Jesus, and how He can change your life, as well as spending time with them, having fun and spreading love on one another.
What if our entire community came together and intentionally put aside time to equip and cultivate their relationship with Jesus?
Cultivate what matters, learn how to nourish your soil, tend your garden of your heart, harvest contentment and grow in the wait. To live a life of purpose, set apart for Him.
Oct 6 | 800 White Rock Rd,El Dorado Hills