It was a strange funny kind of Holy tonight. Good Friday was remembered around our kitchen table, instead of in a sanctuary around the stations of the cross. It is interesting how the hope of heaven and new life is magnified when one of our own’s mortal light has gone out. Continue reading
The zipper closes on my suitcase. Flashes of memories of the past three days race through my mind like the landscape flying by a car at one hundred miles per hour.
Worship. The Living Word. Laughter. Tears. Heavenly strategic connection right here on earth. Disciple a generation echoing in our ears and resounding in our spirits. Faces and hands lifted high. Knees bowed low. Instant sisterhood upon meeting one another face to face. Online friends become in-the-flesh friends and hug each other for the first time. Leaders whole selves submitted to the weight of His Glory.
There is this sound. It’s ringing in my ears this morning.
My soul is rested and restless.
An army is being raised up and marching forward in formation, shoulder to shoulder guarding against any gap space. There is no regard for our individual lives. Footsteps. Hearts beating in unison.
Vision is cast and with all the strength she can muster, our general weeps. Sobs wretch her body. She wants to continue, but the weight of eternity and lives hanging in the balance destined for hell bears down on her shoulders.
A soldier stands, moves from her position in the ranks and steps to the front, to cover the general. A shield is raised in prayer over our general that could only be uttered from the mouth of a mortal by the power of the Commander of her own soul. A silent, “We are with you” echoes as if it had been shouted from the mountain top.
Jesus, reclining at the table, looks into the eyes of his disciples, “Your LOVE for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
The band of brothers, alongside Jesus head to the Garden of Gethsemane. The roads they have traveled, the works they have seen Him do with their very own eyes are memories seared into their minds. His teaching, backward and upside down. Lay down your life to gain it. The servant is the master. The least are the greatest in the Kingdom.
I don’t know what it is like to sit on the mount of olives under His teaching. I can not fathom watching Him heal the leper, raise the dead. These 12 of His, they did life together with one mission in mind: to know this Jesus, to follow him, and to be like Him.
Then He says the unthinkable. I am going to lay my life down. You will be scattered from the safety of each other’s friendship. You will go into all the world and make disciples in my Name.
I wasn’t there with the 12, but this past weekend I was in a space with more than 500 disciples gathering to know and make known the name of Jesus as far as we can reach.
Before He was arrested, Jesus prayed not just for them, but also for us. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
He goes on, I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. (John 17:20-21, 23)
And then the cross, the resurrection, the 40 days post-resurrection. The 12 knew what it was to laugh together, cry together, struggle together. Together, they were comfortable. Then God, in His infinite wisdom calls them to multiply the spread of the Gospel by scattering them in every direction.
Those who had been scattered preached the Word wherever they went. (Acts 8:4)
How their hearts must have broken in the scattering, while simultaneously racing with the thrill of spreading the Word about Jesus, about Salvation. This was what they were made to do. Still, their hearts within them ached as they departed from one another; the bond of brotherhood submitting to the call to make known the Name of their Lord. I bet there were tear stains on their cheeks mixed in contrast with a deep game-day like heart-beat in their chest as they set their feet to the course before them, apart from one another.
The zipper will not close and I sit on my suit case in hopes it will contain all it’s contents for the duration of my trip home. Tears well in my eyes. I want to stay. Here in this place with this bold sisterhood, I feel safe and seen and understood. Tears stream my cheeks and my heart begins to beat faster in my chest and I know that (of course) this not why we’ve come. We’ve not come to stay.
We’ve come together to scatter and multiply. We’ve come to find courage (again) to go and disciple a generation. Courage has been found and now it’s time to move out.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)
Unlike the disciples, we do not scatter as a result of any kind of persecution. Instead we scatter because of Christ’s love that burns within us compelling us to no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died and was raised again (2 Cor. 5:14-15 condensed). It’s His heartbeat for the broken church, broken and hurting people, and a longing for His return that we hear and are sent running out commissioned again.
Where is He sending you out into? Have you found kindred like-minded souls pursuing His love to encourage you; speak truth to you; challenge you? I’m telling you, they are out there. I just met a whole ton of them. I want to encourage you to find them in your city. You can connect to IF which, turns around and connects you to a local church. You can connect to community around His word online and perhaps even right where you are through IF:Equip . I want to encourage you to jump in and connect, you will be so glad you reached out.
This incredible IFtern is so gifted and so generous-hearted and so smart! And she made sure my newest favorite song got significant air-time. 🙂 Grateful for you, Melissa and all of you servant-hearted IFterns!
*All IFterns raise their own support and some are not yet fully funded. Would you consider partnering to support the IFterns in the call God has given this this year alongside IF?
In an attempt to assess my own anticipation and preparation I have been asking my friends, “How are you feeling and what are you sensing in these days leading up to being together in Orlando for the first ever IF: Leaders Gathering?” In just one week 550 of us will gather to lean in together to the whisper of the Holy Spirit. We will listen and look for His Spirit to move in us and instruct us. We will come together as one church, as leaders in various cities, small towns, college campuses, and suburban neighborhoods, as lovers who desire to live lives laid down for the Gospel in our own local contexts.
Some of us are coming with a friend or two or fifteen. Some of us are coming alone. However we are coming, we bring with us our stuff–the good and the bad. We bring our expectations– the good and the bad. Some of us are coming full of fire in our bellies and ready to storm the gates of hell. Some of us are coming dripping wet from the buckets of water –otherwise known as life–that have been heaped upon us in attempt to extinguish our fire and our fight.
In some way, I think all of us are coming with our souls full of hope and our flesh fighting insecurity, fear, and comparison.
Me? I wish I could adequately weave words around the state of my soul and my situation as I come into this Gathering. I’ll try.
I’m coming with the wildest excitement over so many things, not the least of which is that I will finally get to be face to face with a sister who has become the dearest, most precious friend. The story of Jama (that’s what I’ll call it when I write her post in my series on friendship… one day…) began through facebook; it became a weekly hour long (at least) long distance coffee date over the phone. This woman has come alongside me, cried with me, prayed faith into my dreams, and listened–oh has she listened! Jama is the kind of friend every girl imagines when she very first at a young age realizes what a true friend is and dreams she might have one of her very own. She is gracious and constant, loyal and generous. When God was giving out gifts, He gave her all the ones I didn’t happen to end up with: compassion, gentleness, empathy, sensitivity…which is why I am so thankful God knew I would need her to both soften and sharpen me! We’ve never had the privilege of being in the same location together and this will be one of the greatest thrills for me at IF:Leaders Gathering– to share it with her and to journey through together.
It seems incredibly apparent that this time together in Orlando is incredibly strategic on the Lord’s part for connecting lives and hearts that would not have otherwise, in any other situation been able to connect.
God is building bridges of relationship to further His Gospel and to flat-out tell the enemy that his time messing with competition and comparison in His daughters is done!
Melissa is my soul sister. She is a gift straight from God’s heart to mine and she will be there. If you do not know Melissa, you can “meet her” through her writing here and if you’re headed to Orlando, I’m telling you– you’ll want to find her, hug her, and ask her to share her “purse cookies” with you (which she will readily share). Ever since we first met 2 1/2 years ago in line at IF:Austin she has been a friend who will speak the truth in love (and spank me with it if necessary), encourage, cheer on, and flat out be my biggest fan. She leads with incredible boldness and humor and loves and protects her friends fiercely. Melissa has taught me the true meaning of being each other’s biggest fan and sharing…she’s big on sharing (more on that in a minute).
And can I tell you about Kelly?! Kelly is a Colorado girl I have had the honor of journeying with for nearly 6 years. I even got to design and arrange her wedding flowers (you can take a peek here)! This girl is spirited, loves adventure and the outdoors, and shies away from NOTHING! Mama to three teenagers and a tiny 2 year old, real estate agent, fly fishing enthusiast, hunter, and wife to a skilled and creative builder/business owner are among her accolades. While I love all of those things about her, the thing that has drawn me into deep friendship with Kelly is her passion for living a life laid-down for Jesus with no excuses. This girl loves Jesus and isn’t quiet about it, yet the thing that preaches loudest is her very life.
And then there are these girls…
A small army of IF: Colorado girls are boarding a plane and headed southeast together on Sunday morning and some are coming in on Saturday. Some of the girls and I sat in a living room together months before IF 2015. Most of us didn’t know each other, but I will tell you that when I walked in I felt like I had come home to dear friends who really truly understood me and each other. There was no hint of comparison, jealousy, pretension, or fluff. From the moment we met we became this incredible cheering section for each other in prayer and in action. To get to be in their space again, to hear what the Lord is stirring in their hearts, to be able to pray over and breathe life into each other’s God-given dreams makes my heart beat just a little faster.
This thing called IF that God is moving is so much wilder than I ever imagined it would be. (I bet Jennie and her team feel the same way times a million)! There is something that is shifting in our times … things are hard and perhaps they’ve always been this hard, but now we know and we can’t look away and do nothing. The church is realizing the divisiveness of some of her doctrine and denominationalization (I just made that word up). She is coming together to begin/continue loving each other and to show the world who Jesus is in the way we love well all who we come near. There is something stirring; it’s this echo that is resounding in the hearts and minds of followers of Jesus and it sounds a lot like, “He who is coming will come and He will not delay.” (Heb. 7:37) There is a new sense of urgency to drop our petty differences and rally around the one thing we agree on, JESUS and making Him known to all people in truth and in love.
Where there was competition, I see women promoting and sharing each other’s gifts and strengths and ministries. Where there was jealousy, I see women fighting for celebration of one another. Where there was insecurity that your gain means my loss, I see women giving away what could rightfully be their own gain (personally or vocationally) to another realizing that when you are on the same team, a win for you is a win for us.
You know my friend Melissa? Well, instead of hoarding all of her incredible friends (and she has incredible friends) to herself, she has graciously shared many of them with me. Who does that?! She does. I met Alli because of a conversation I had with Melissa that went something like this:
M: “You have to meet my friend Alli. You two need to know each other.”
Upon wrapping up our conversation, Melissa proceeded to text me Alli’s information along with a separate text that said, “Oh and You’re Welcome.” 🙂
I figure I love Melissa and (clearly) she has great discernment and wisdom in the friends she chooses…so I text Alli. Next thing I know, we’re having a facetime conversation that lasts for over one hour and has developed into yet another precious long-distance, not yet met face-to-face friendship! In one week, I will get to hug my friend’s neck for the first time while we sit alongside the girl who will again remind us who made the moment possible by saying, “Oh and you’re welcome!”
Next week women from all walks of life, leading in our local contexts will gather. We will be (to name just a few): career women, mamas of biological kiddos, adoptive mamas, married, single, leaders of large (in quantity) ministries, leaders of intimate living room/coffee shop ministry, church planters. Some will be passionate about cultural and racial bridge building while others are pulled to be advocates speaking out on behalf of the current refugee situation. We will be fashionistas in all kinds of coordinating accessories and we’ll be yoga pants and comfort-first style makers. We will be extroverts, introverts, and (I hear) a whole slew of ambiverts (if you’re not sure what this is, neither was I — so Thanks Google!). Some of us will have met Jesus just recently; some of us will have known Him our whole lives.
This week women from all walks of life, leading in our local contexts will battle insecurity, jealousy, old fears, new fears, comparison, disunity, lies regarding who we are and whose we are, shame, guilt, inadequacy, brokenness in relationships, anxiety, depression.
This week women from all walks of life will be praying for each other for: God to have the victory in each one of our battles. We will pray courage, confidence in who HE says we are, truth, joy, peace, grace, faith, redemption, unity, celebration, freedom, and love for one another and for those God longs to know Him. We will be praying as we wrestle, for those preparing and leading our time; for the leadership, staff, and IFterns.
In one week, we will be stepping into this sacred space where we are going to ask the Holy Spirit to move in our midst and to have His way and we will lay down our desire to demand our own.
We will hear Him whisper and shout in the space that has been prepared for just that very purpose.
We will lean in together, press our ear up against our Father’s chest, and beg Him to let us all hear and feel and get in rhythm with His heartbeat.
We will worship in every expression imaginable; we will pray with one voice; we will share stories of how God has been faithful to us; and it will be the most faintest of faint shadow-glimpses of heaven.
I. Can. Not. Wait.
If you are are leading an IF:Local and if you are going to the IF:Leaders Gathering, as you are prepare to be together next week: What are your fears? Can we commit to pray over one another?! What are you expectant/excited about? What story can you tell of how God has used IF as a tool in your church, community or life to transform lives for Christ?
It’s been a while since I’ve done Thursday picks and this will be an abbreviated list. And by abbreviated, I mean…there will be one book mentioned here and that one book will be given away to one lucky reader. But there is a fun giveaway in it for you!
Last month I would crawl into bed earlier than usual in order to read at least one more chapter in Sarah Haggerty’s book, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet. I was given the book last October as part of the bounty given to Allume Conference attendees and was immediately drawn in by textured honeycombed jar with a honey dipper dripping honey on the cover. It’s beautiful. I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover.
Sarah writes about so many things most women can relate to on a deep level. She has wrestled with God over unmet expectations, barrenness, spiritual busyness in the midst of soul emptiness. In all this, she gives weight to the struggle and then sizes the struggle up next to a God who is still good in the midst of struggle.
“…our lives aren’t, in fact, a series of rewards for doing things ‘right.’ They are strung-together surprises that continude to speak more of who He is than who we aren’t.” ~Sarah Haggerty
In other news, I was helping Rachel with her technology writing homework and did you know that they are teaching our kids how to build web sites and write CSS code? I may possibly have completed ALL her homework for her…Just maybe. That stuff is FASCINATING for a super nerd like me! You can thank Rachel and her technology teacher for the various text fonts and you see in this here post!
Anyways…. there you have it for Thursday pickl and a Giveaway! Enter to win and increase you r chances below! Happy happy Thursday everyone!
We dip our toe in the water. We pull it back out.
Remember when we were little and we just went running and diving in without a care?
Now we dip our toe in and pull back quickly because it’s too cold. We look at the water and the current is moving too quickly so we don’t step in fully. There are times when we dip our toe in and the water is so beautifully calm and warm but we refrain from submerging our entire foot, for fear that we might never step out of the water or be resentful when we might have to.
What happened to the days of running and jumping and becoming so fully submerged that we loose our breath at the cold or the current?
There have been times we’ve nearly drowned in the current. Diving head-long into the water has cost us too much.
So we seek some sort of safety and we call it balance. Nothing too extreme. If we just keep our composure and don’t become too passionate or too excited or too invested in anything radical, it will keep us sane. So we think.
There was a time for radical full-on passionate Jesus-following, but that was before we had responsibility. Responsibility of marriage and finances. The duty to career and to raising children.
So we stand on the shore and dip our toe. We don’t even put our bathing suits on anymore. We have no intention of getting completely wet…that’s too messy…
I have lived toe dipping and I’ve known seasons where I’ve grown complacent. There have been days (recent days) when I purposely didn’t even put my bathing suit on.
If I’m going to be interrupted in 5 minutes, why would I even bother to suit up with deep prayer, expectation, or full-hearted and minded in a Scripture. I am confident that on these days, I have missed out on some crazy, get totally soaked to the bone, splashing fun and thrill.
But not today. Today I suit up. I’m not missing out. Not today.
These moments, the ones that we call today, are dripping with significance and I don’t want to miss one. There are connections that are Kingdom-building that are entrusted to me to make.
If some of the people I know, knew one another I am confident, together, they would advance the Kingdom. They would splash the Gospel out all over this great big world by their collaboration. I want to share my friends with each other and multiply the influence of God on and through their lives.
As we lead in our spheres of influence: in our home, church, and ministry– as we dive in the waves of abundant Kingdom productivity are splashing and playing all around us. We throw our heads back, extend our arms, and give ourselves over to this current.
I don’t want to meet Jesus with wet toes. I want to stand face to face with the Creator soaked to the bone, having jumped in headfirst– and maybe feet first sometimes– and maybe sometimes in a full-on belly flop, but dripping wet, nonetheless.
What if today, we just put out suits on and dove in? What would that look like for you? Are you dipping your toe? Wading? Diving?
I want to hear it. We need your voice in this space. Comment and share what is stirring in you.
Something is happening. The climate is shifting, it’s changing. Have you felt it? Have you sensed it? The chill and isolation of winter is melting away bringing forth a warmer and more vibrant atmosphere.
I’m not talking about global warming or the weather outside. I’m talking about what the Holy Spirit is stirring in His children. More specifically, I’m talking about what is echoing among the voices of His daughters.
The status quo has been Compare and Compete. Comparing leaves us running on a treadmill that keeps increasing the speed and amping up the incline. Competing kills the kindness, love, and grace that planted in our souls the day we received His Salvation. And we’re waking up. We’re not satisfied with status quo. We’re opening our eyes wide. We’re asking questions disrupting what has been.
And can we just talk about what has been for a minute? What has been in relationships between sisters in Christ has not looked much–if any– different from what has been in relationships between women who do not know a relationship with Jesus. We know and understand the value of the price that was paid to redeem and restore us. We know we have received a love undeserved, unmerited. Yet, we have withheld that love, kept it to ourselves. As if there is some shortage of His abundant extravagant love, we hold it arms folded against our chest hoarding it. Our goal is to keep the love in and others out.
Keeping others out isn’t how it started. Somehow, after meeting the Forgiver, Creator, Savior and walking in relationship with Him we began to determine it wasn’t safe to share this extravagant open-armed love and grace with others. We got hurt once and we surely aren’t going to let it happen again. We might become offended. Worse, we might actually have to examine ourselves and our own flesh and sin more deeply if we release our grip on the grace poured out upon us and actually pour it out as it has been poured upon us.
What if we stopped believing that there is not enough? What if we stopped fearing the inevitable pain of being hurt, betrayed, disappointed? What if we were less concerned with who gets the credit and more concerned with making disciples of Jesus through whomever and whatever means HE sees fit? What if we celebrated another’s gain for the Kingdom instead of bemoaning the fact that it wasn’t us that got to be a part of that particular opportunity or dream?
It’s the What IF that I am beginning to see rise up all over this community that I am a part of. This sense of What IF we lived like we believed God is real?
There is this IF Gathering (you can click the link to find out all about it) that sounds out this call. Even before I had ever heard of IF, there was a gnawing deep in my spirit. I have believed so strongly that we, as sisters in Christ, would be more effective in sharing the love of Jesus if we actually first lived it out with one another. At the Austin IF: Gathering in 2014, I experienced exactly what I had believed to be true. In the months that have followed IF I have met women whose primary desire is to make ready the Bride of Christ in all her glory. And that looks a lot like loving one another well, pouring grace on every person we encounter, recognizing our differences while standing alongside each other passionately making known the one thing we agree on for sure– the name of Jesus.
What’s happening isn’t because of preaching. Oh there’s some powerful preaching involved, but it isn’t THE THING that’s moving the hearts of women toward being FOR one another. What’s happening is nothing short of a miraculous move of God inviting His daughters to show (and not-so-much-tell) the world around us that He is love, that He is good, and that He is worth laying our very lives (and pride and right to be right) down for.
What’s happening is that He is birthing the sweetest of friendships in the most peculiar places in order to extend our reach and influence for His name and fame. I can tell you from experience that in the past 2 years, God has connected me to the richest of friends– most of whom I’ve never even met face to face, or have only met a time or two in-person. Our friendships began in line at IF: Austin 2014, two at a writing conference, and one who “meets” me for long distance coffee every Monday morning even though we’ve never had the privilege of hugging each other’s necks.
While I love each of these friendships and consider them a treasure that is beyond measure, there is this knowing in my soul that these friendships are not only for our mutual benefit. God is connecting us– connecting His daughters to extend our reach and connect our lives to multiply our influence so that He may make known His love to a generation that is looking for love in every empty place.
Who has He connected you to? Who has He connected to you that needs your gift set, your influence, your counsel, your listening, your encouragement to further the calling and purpose that God has placed upon their life? That which is in your hand to give, will you give it freely? Or will you hold it tightly, arms crossed for fear that if you give it away, you will give away any glory that might have been yours? And what if it turns out that the glory that might have been yours turns out to be theirs? Will you celebrate the win of your team mate or will you resent that it wasn’t you?
The climate among sisters– among daughters of the King– is changing. Winter is fading, the snow and ice are melting in the hearts of so many. It’s about time. And there will be a flood. It’s coming. A revival flood. It’s growing from a trickle to a stream and there is a rushing river coming to sweep away the competition, envy, gossip, jealousy, and just plain ugly. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to step into the current and get swept away by the one who came to make all things new.
It was nearly one year ago this week. I sat in the Denver airport alongside my man headed to this gathering of women called the IF: Gathering. It seemed somewhat unclear as to what I was headed into, other than I expected to encounter the very presence of God.
This expectation had rooted deeply in my soul from the moment I saw a post on Facebook. There was no real explanation as to what IF was, simply that it would be a gathering of women who believe that God is real and long to live that real faith out; in order that others may also know the hope and freedom we have.
We sat in the airport waiting to board our plane, grateful for the time alone together.
In the quiet, a question rose up in my heart and moved to my head as I watched a myriad of people heading here and there hustling to get to their destinations. It began as a whisper and as it rose to my lips I blurted out to my husband, “What if love Is our reflex?” This came out of nowhere and it took him a minute to join me in my thought process. Seeing that I had just randomly blurted this out without any context to the thoughts that were stirring in my heart previously, I said, “What if love was our automatic first response? You know, our un-thought, un-calculated reflex. Like when the doctor strikes my knee and it kicks. What if to everyone we came across, we were like that reflex and what came pouring out of us was love?”
We journeyed to Austin where I attended the IF sessions and my man explored Austin and caught an extra nap or two. The entire time he was with me; walking back and forth to the venue, eating breakfast, or worshipping with Austin Stone Downtown Campus. Wherever we went he was present, and listening to all that God was teaching me and leading me and us into. And the resonating sound all weekend was the sound of that question hanging in the air: What if love was our reflex? What would our life look like if it was?
One year later, I can not shake this. My man and I have set our hearts toward this kind of response and found so much failure, but there have also been moments of success.
As I soaked in each moment at IF: Austin, I began to see how only God knew how to teach love as a reflex. He was calling women to gather in Austin, Texas as well as in all kinds of local contexts streaming live around the globe, to speak in ways and volumes louder than, perhaps, we have ever heard before regarding our call to love. Throughout the two days of IF 2014 I experienced a rawness in worship, a depth and vulnerability in the teaching of the Word, and a sisterhood that I had only dreamed possible. There was this living out love as a reflex, open arms as a reflex, listening (and not fixing) as a reflex.
That first day, we lined up outside in the kind of weather that those from Austin called cold. In fact, the city had declared a “freeze day” on a day that felt balmy to this Colorado girl. As women stood waiting in the cold, we began to see the woman in front of us, behind us, beside us. While waiting in line we engaged in conversations that led to friendships which have grown and flourished throughout this past year. We sat around farm tables. Most of us didn’t know each other and hadn’t come with a gaggle of friends due to the crazy online registration process. We were there in this space of two days and we saw walls come down. In fact, it seemed most women I met came expecting to encounter new friendships that were only God-breathed and ordained, for His kingdom purpose. So many Kingdom-building friendships were born over those two days!
We held our arms wide open to Him and to one another. We gave each other quiet and space, so as not to attempt to fix what the Holy Spirit was breaking and mending. We asked hard questions of each other and let silence fall and sit while we each took our turn in speaking, revealing tender vulnerable places where God was calling us to share. We laughed like crazy as sisters who simply had never before had a chance to meet this side of eternity.
There was a moment for me last year where I (typically an incredibly composed, non-emotional type) came undone. And UNDONE might even be an understatement. It snuck up on me and I didn’t even see it coming. I simply wanted to thank a woman for something she had written that had ministered so deeply to me in the season of grief over the loss of our first son.
All I wanted to say was, Thank you, for sharing your words, your journey, and your story through grief and loss. It helped me understand my grief was valid and healed me in ways I can’t even explain. I had it all planned out. And then, no sooner had the first three words escaped my lips,
Thank you for…
when the next thing to come out was sobbing. Not the quiet kind of sobbing. This was the ugly cry, squeaky shaky voice sobbing? If I was mortified that it had started, I was even more distressed by the fact that I couldn’t stop it. My exchange with this sweet sister was the briefest of exchanges and she was suddenly called away to her role in our gathering. With a hug and the most sympathetic look, I was left standing there unable to control the shaking and the ugly cry.
The thing was, as I turned to head back to my seat the tears and sobs I could normally control and rein in, wouldn’t cease. I looked around. I didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone, not because I was ashamed or embarrassed, but I sensed that God was doing something deep (again) in me to heal this place that (clearly) needed more healing. I passed by women having conversations during our break. If I could just make it to the bathroom, get in a stall, pray for a minute, and perhaps compose myself it would be ok. As I neared ladies room, through tears and sobs that had turned to hiccups I saw the line was at least 15 women deep out the bathroom door. My mind raced. Where can I go? What should I do? I resolved to simply go get in line, put my head down, and let the tears roll.
And you know what happened? I experienced the most tender thing. I stood there with tears rolling down my cheeks, making minimal eye contact with the women around me. Each woman whose eyes met mine didn’t try to comfort or fix me or ask me what was wrong. Each woman let me be, right there where I needed to be. And without words, but simply with their eyes and a gentle nodding of their heads said to me, “Yes. We know. Go ahead. It’s safe. Feel free to weep and let the tears roll. We are not going to try to make you feel like you need to stop them. Take your space here right beside us sister. We totally get it.”
For me, it was this holiest of moments. This speaking the same language in our spirits and allowing love to give space and not to fix or smooth over. This trusting that God was doing something sacred and we each need not interfere with our human efforts.
This year a team of incredible women and I have the privilege of leading our own local IF: Gathering. As we lead and as we gather I pray that same spirit of grace and mercy and love takes over our flesh. I pray that those who are broken and need to be seen are seen and loved on. I pray that those who simply need to weep alone with Jesus are permitted the space to do so surrounded by love. I pray that we leave our comfort of our own secure friendships and find someone who could use a listening ear or someone to pray with. Jesus, may our hearts be more open to unity in You, than they are to being right about things that are so much less than You alone. I’m asking– no begging You— knock down our walls of disunity and bring unity to Your Bride. She is the hope of the world and a wrecking ball to the enemy’s schemes. This year as we gather, Jesus, would you make waves and ripples that leave lasting legacy for your name and your fame through each and every one of your daughters?
God do something through us and in us and for us that when people see it, they’ll give You the credit. That when they see it they’ll know~ THAT had to be God!
If you are interested in joining a local IF: Gathering, go here.
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This morning as I opened my computer screen, the first two things I read whipped my head around to look up and lift my gaze to the One who made me and forms me even now. There is something of this dichotomy of being physical and spiritual beings all at the same time that I am constantly struggling to reconcile. Heaven is home and here is not. We have eternal purpose and calling while there is also dailiness of living this temporal life.
I have been so enjoying the daily Bible reading and short video dialogue that follows each reading at If:Equip (a ministry extension of the IF: Gathering). This morning’s scripture from Genesis 49:29-50:3 is the passage where Jacob has just finished blessing his sons and now is going to die.
Genesis 49:33, the verse that was highlighted for today’s reading, struck me so deeply both as I read it and as I listened to Ann Voskamp and Jennie Allen unpack how it was impacting them. There were words that stood out to me like finished, breathed his last, was gathered to his people.
The intent of this post isn’t to go into those– if I did it might take an entire two-posts of words– but those words stayed me and I watched this (short 2:22 minute) exchange between Jennie and Ann:
I am a lover of dreaming. Dreaming about legacy building is one of the best kind of dreaming there is, if you ask me. And you didn’t, but you’re still here reading, so I’ll continue.
Dreaming of God-kind of legacy He has called you and I to build can be complicated. This hope, this desire for a life of meaning and purpose that out lives us is often weighed down in that which composes it, the moments.
Hundreds upon thousands, upon millions of moments will one day add up to leave a legacy (either intentional or unintentional) of our life in light of eternity.
It’s the moments I find myself hung up on. In the course of a day, how does keeping a dog from eating tiny puzzle pieces fed to him by a two-year old amount to legacy? People in my house really prefer to eat 3 times each day and the task of feeding them often becomes tedious to me. What does laundry have to do with legacy of the eternal kind?
Everything. The answer is it has EVERYTHING to do with Legacy. As much as building a thriving church or ministry has to do with legacy, loving well by saving the dog from the man-child, feeding my people, and keeping their clothes washed builds legacy.
See I’m looking now to run MY race. The one set out for me that no one else has qualified to run. He qualifies each of us for our own course. And with each pounding of the pavement (aka. dirty dish, time-out discipline, night-time snuggle, ministry event planning) we stretch out our lives toward our legacy.
It matters how we live our moments. Life is but a breath, which is too short for the moments not to matter. Playing trucks on the floor and laughing with the littlest one matters. Taking time to listen to my precious youngest daughter recount last nights dreams (that don’t make a lick of sense to me) matters. Sledding and laughing outdoors with my oldest matters. Holding my man’s hand as we pray each night before falling asleep and kissing in front of the kids matters. Giving thanks for our food and praying before we eat it each meal matters.
I’m good at remembering all that matters and lifting my eyes and my soul in the chaos of life. I’m not so good at abandoning self-sufficiency in the calm, mundane, dailiness.
When life seems routine and whole I struggle most to cry out for Jesus. I long to need Him in any and every situation like my lungs need air second by second.
And then I read a blog post from Kara Tippets over at Mundane Faithfulness.
Please take a minute and click over to her blog and read her story. It is God’s legacy-orchestrating at His best and most difficult. Kara is a Momma to four littles who has fought like crazy for her life and is now dying of cancer. It struck me this morning as I read her post Sacrifice in Thanksgiving that here is someone who sees the finish line and who understands how each moment adds up to her legacy. She gets it because it’s right where she is– the brevity of life mingling with the significance of a moment. She sees the faithfulness of our God to lead us along the way and all the way home from a true living-it perspective.
Today, what moments do you see building the legacy of a life lived out for Jesus in your own life? Are they simple? Are they big? What are they? I want to hear.
For me today, the moments are the ones where I listen well and breathe out prayers as I take in my children’s (and others) words. Today I see legacy building in the privilege of this space to write and share my words with you, in the hopes that God is glorified and people hear and see the love of Jesus as a result of the writing and the reading of these words.
Thank you for glimpsing at the moments and glaring at eternity with me for a short while today friend.