Friday, February 20, 2015

Reflecting on the IF:Gathering

So you guys know that I like to have fun on the blog. You know that I love Downton Abbey—it seems like that’s all I’ve written about lately. You know that I leave plenty of room here for laughter.

But those of you who know me in real life (or even on Facebook) know that I have a serious side. A side that thinks about the state of our world and the state of my soul. It’s important to me that the two—the world and my soul—are linked in some way. If what God is teaching me doesn’t translate into how I relate to the world around me, something’s wrong.

To be honest, that connection had been missing for me for a while. Oh yes, God has been teaching me things. I’m growing to love His word more and more as time goes on. I love what He’s showing me through His word and in my daily life.

But I guess I’ve wanted more. More conviction. More challenge. More change in my heart.

So when my friend Rebecca stopped by last fall and mentioned the IF:Gathering, and when this was something that had been on my heart for a while but had nobody to go with (I didn’t think anybody who lived here would even know what the IF:Gathering was), and when the day Rebecca stopped by just happened to be the day the tickets went on sale, and when we actually got through to their massively crashed server and we both got tickets . . . well . . . we pretty much knew that God wanted us to be there.

But my big question in the months leading up to IF was why God wanted me there. So I prayed to that end, asking God before I left that He would just show me why He wanted me to be in Austin over the first weekend in February.

More conviction. More challenge. More change in my heart.

The very first session answered my question. Jennie Allen spoke on a passage from Numbers 13 and 14 (OK, first of all, what women’s gathering has us look at a passage in NUMBERS?!). It’s the story of Joshua and Caleb who had scouted out the Promised Land as Moses had asked them to do and came back with a report that the land is filled with giants. All the people were scared and wanted to turn back, but Joshua and Caleb were convinced—utterly convinced—that God wanted them to enter the Promised Land and that He would provide a way for that to happen.

Jennie Allen told us that so often we’re like the people of Israel who keep asking the wrong questions. 

We ask: 
  • Am I enough?
  • Are we going to be safe?
  • What is it going to cost?
 I’ve asked those questions too. I still do. It’s my default.

God says, “Write this.” And I ask, “Am I enough?”

God says, “Send your kids out.” And I ask, “Will they be safe?”

God says, “Do this for me.” And I ask, “What is it going to cost?”

Jennie explained that Joshua and Caleb were functioning from a different story line. They saw the big picture. They knew that the story is not about us—it’s about a God who can do ANYTHING.

With the very first message of the weekend, God showed me that I need to be asking better questions. Because the answer to all of my measly, small questions is undoubtedly no.

I am not enough.

Life is never safe.

It may cost you everything, even your life. (Just ask the 21 Egyptian Christians.)

But I answer to a God who can do anything. A God who promises never to leave me nor forsake me. A God who has complete authority over this crazy, mixed-up world. 

Toward the end of her talk, Jennie said this (I wrote it down): “We are at war and the prize is faith. And we let Satan have it all. the. time.”

I have to fight for my faith. Every day. Will I ask small questions? Or will I follow the leading of God who goes before me? Will I claim the prize of my faith or will I allow the Enemy of my soul to make my vision small?

You guys! This was just the first session! I had a lot more weekend to go, and you can trust me that God definitely answered my prayer and showed me why he wanted me there.

More conviction. More challenge. More change in my heart.

What will that look like in the future? Stay tuned. Let’s see what God does.

1 comment:

  1. Here's one of your local friends who knows about IF:Gathering! Jennie went to the same seminary my husband attended, and we have some mutual friends, though I can't remember now how I first learned about her. I enjoyed watching the conference via livestream. Now I understand why I've heard so many good things about Christine Caine! Glad you could go and be encouraged.