Something happened in my life today. Something amazing. I was blessed to have registered for a ticket to an incredible event happening in Austin, TX this February - If:Gathering. I have been following Jennie Allen's thoughts on this since I first heard about it several months ago. Her vision spoke to my heart in a way that I haven't felt in a very long time. So many of the voices in the blogosphere that I follow were heading in this direction that I could not help but feel a nudge in my own heart.
My spiritual life has been, for too long, now, wandering through a bit of a desert. I have not lost my faith. Far from it. I see everywhere how God's hand redeems and moves in the least expected and craziest of ways - it's one of the joys of where and how we are called to serve. But, it's one thing to witness these things happening around you, but it's another to feel them in your soul. Right now, I am planted in a place where I find it hard for me to be fed. And, honestly, I struggle with that from time to time. I realize that it's not about ME, but, it would be nice to find my soul lifted up every once in a while. Those places have been few and far between, for me, in the last few years. So, once I read about this movement, something in me leapt. THIS is it. These are my people. This is my tribe. I speak this language. Lord, I need this. Water, at last.
There were bumps along the way, as this vision took shape, and questions, as Sarah Bessey perhaps described best here. Sarah gave voice to many of my own concerns, as I just don't quite feel comfortable with the Big Ladies' Conference model (even though I attended one a little over a year ago - mostly because Ann Voskamp was a keynote speaker). Once again, as I read more about this vision, I found women speaking my heart. Growing, pleading with the Spirit, listening. Women with shaking hands and voices, unafraid to grab a hold of the moment and be caught up in a Holy Rush of a whirlwind, about to take on the world. The more I read about what God is doing, here, the more in awe I am. I am just a smidge older than the original demographic (20-40), but I was able to be one of the voices that helped change the conversation to show that this was a call that spoke to ALL women, regardless of age. This is a movement driven mostly by the 20- and 30-somethings, but, I have felt a part of this since I first read about it. Am I a little concerned about "fitting in?" Yeah. A little. But I think this is about more than that. Jennie has been honest about her struggles with demographics, and branding, and the coolness factor, and I see, in her, a true desire to reach beyond All. The. Labels. and lead women to meet God and one another where they are. Jesus was very good at that. And, that is what this is about. Sharing Jesus. Praying. Reaching people Where. They. Are. Seeing God move, locally, in our own communities. Sharing the message of Hope and Joy.
Read more about what If:Gathering is all about here and here.
And, my friend Laura read my mind and wrote a brilliantly about this very same thing, including all the relevant posts I was going to link up, so you can visit her at In The Backyard to read more.
And, maybe, pray about starting or joining an If:Gathering Local event near you! I am so excited to see what God has in store. Join me, won't you???