Oh my…still so much to process! It was a whirlwind of a trip if there ever was one and every minute not spent attending was spent sleeping in my hotel room or driving in the car.
I left late Thursday night and arrived home early Sunday morning. It was the perfect little getaway for this momma and the conference was unlike any women’s conference I’ve ever been to. I have a love/hate relationship with conferences; I love the information and worship and being with others, but I really don’t like the rise and fall of emotions that can often happen. In the past I’ve gone and left so fired up only to open my eyes a few days later right where I was before. Conferences have their good points and while that can be one of them for some, it’s not my favorite part.
But this wasn’t like that. First let me say that this was not about who you were or what you were doing. All naïve I brought my blog “business” cards in hopes to hand them out and I kept them locked in my bag for the entire trip, with the exception of 3 to people who asked for them. Overall this was not a networking thing, or a blogger thing, or a platform thing, or a look at me thing. This was an introspective, love one another, bind up in community kind of thing.
My kind of thing!
Our time was filled with listening, reflecting, asking one another (aka strangers) hard questions, worshipping, and eating. I was in my element. Although I was a bit nervous…introvert over here…all of those things above are things I love to involve myself in. Especially the ask hard questions and eating part!
When I first heard Jenny Allen talk about the if:gathering it was like the Holy Spirit whispered “go.” And I were to be honest, just the fact that I booked the flight, got on the plane and went was enough to make the trip a success for me.
The past year I’ve been thinking about my calling as a wife and a mother and a woman who loves Jesus. And the thing that just keeps coming back to me is the image that I’m leaving with my daughter and those around me. I get it wrong so often, falling into my sinful flesh and letting out biting words, but if I get it right even part of the time, I want that right to show Elizabeth that in our family we go after what the Lord calls us to. And we face our fears.
Getting on the plane, being with strangers for an entire weekend, actually following the Spirit’s leading to say yes when I could have just stayed home and watched the live stream…while not significant for others were all very significant for me. For once I didn’t take the easy way out and I was blessed ten fold while there.
Shelley Giglio - Christine Caine - Ann Voscamp - Jennie Allen - Jen Hatmaker - Shauna Niequist Annie Lobart - Angie Smith - Christy Nockels - Susie Davis - Melissa Greene - Lauren Chandler Sarah Bessey - Bianca Olthoff - Rebekah Lyons - Melinda Doolittle - Esther Havens - Tara Jenkins - Lindsey Nobles
Do you know what they all had in common? Not their theology, not their personal views on hot button topics, not their day jobs, not what they do in their free time, not their family values. The thing they all had in common was that they are all incredibly passionate about their relationship with Jesus Christ and want to see the world touched by His love. That’s what IF was all about.
Banding together as women, putting our past and our hindrances behind us, and focusing on the things that bind us together. Our love for Jesus. I don’t know about you but in my past and even in my past week I’ve let little things, comparisons, divide me from fellow believers even if just in my head and never spoken out loud. I’m determined, by the Spirit, and by prayer to try and rid myself of comparisons. I feel, in our generation especially, that it is so easy to judge and compare…mommy wars anyone? But we really can’t gain any ground or have any impact on the next generation or those around us if we keep measuring everyone against ourselves or our values. We’ve got to band together.
Like Jennie Allen said at the beginning of the conference, “this is our time.” And it is. To be honest I chuckled inside a bit before I heard what she said next because that phrase always reminds me of Goonies…but in all honesty it’s true.
It is our time. Our time to…
“Lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith who for the joy endured the cross despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”