Tuesday, March 18, 2014

IF God is Real...

Last month I attended a virtual conference in the basement of a complete stranger with her friends and a few other visitors like me.  It sounds totally sketchy, but it was awesome and reminded me of the way that the disciples traveled from town to town staying with people "of peace" that they didn't know, but trusted that the Lord would use the hospitality of strangers to bring a blessing.

And that's exactly what happened.  From the local host to the ladies in Texas that started the conference, The Lord brought a blessing & inspired a movement.  And I have to say that attending the IF: Gathering was a leap of faith in itself.  The description of the conference was vague.  I wasn't sure what to expect at all.  Also, the speakers came from diverse Christian backgrounds, so I was not sure that we would be on the same page with some teachings.  But my soul was pleasantly surprised.

The "un"conference conference idea was another iteration of a theme that I've seen a lot lately. Throwing off the things that hinder us to get back to the basics of getting to know Christ through His Word, understanding who we are through His Word, and understanding our place in this world and living accordingly. I liked it.  The ladies I joined after the conference were no longer strangers.  They were my sisters in Christ living as if God is real.

There's so much more I could say about the teaching, about the women in the room and on the screen, about the way that God brought me to one of seven couches in that basement.  But I won't for now.  I am still waiting to see how it all unfolds.

But for now, I will say that I left encouraged to dig into the Word even more, and burdened to find sisters to grow with in Christ--despite possible differences in our Christian walk.  After the conference, the phenomenal list of ladies including Jennie Allen, Ann Voskamp, Jen Hatmaker, Christine Caine, and so many other amazing Christian teachers have produced a daily devotional that makes it so easy to get into the Word and learn for yourself.  They call it IF: Equip, but I call it IF Snacks because if I'm feeling hungry, but don't have a lot of time, it's my go-to resource for Living Water.  It's a brief digestible section of the Bible that you read & answer three basic questions.  It's perfect to sustain you through the day or in addition to another study.

I hope to share some of the rich lessons and life-changing happenings as I continue to spend time in the Word through IF: Equip & I'm so excited to continue to build community with other women who are living as if God is real!

Stay tuned!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Broken, bound and blessed.

I can't pretend it's been easy, but maybe that's why it means so much to me. We both can say that we've seen days of better and for worse played out.  And I know that we're just beginning.  But what did we expect when you take two broken people, from broken families trying to fight the odds without fighting each other in order to do more than just make it work.

You get tears, you get periods of uncertainty and darkness.  You get long hugs and lots of apologies.  You start seeing your love as much more than a means to your happiness.  You find the opportunity to truly see a human as God sees him.  Faults, failures, hidden treasures and all.  You find ways to become a better you because your partner shines light on the areas where you need grace & God gives you the courage to address those places. You find peace and joy in dying to your self in order to glorify something that goes far beyond who you are, yet is near enough to make you realize who you can be.

You learn that broken cisterns can't hold water & that he will never fill what only He can. And when you fully grasp your brokenness is an invitation to come before your Savior, He can and will fill you up until you overflow with patience, kindness, contentment, discretion, humility, self-sacrifice, politeness, self-sacrifice, restraint, and forgiveness--without fail--because He is the source of love.

You get real, raw, ragged and refreshed.  And The Lord continues to refill your heart when you abide, because you know that on your own, all you care about is your own happiness.  But when you abide, you understand deep respect & the power it takes to submit.  He gets to love you by laying down his life. It's a very beautiful cycle.

It may look different for some, but that's what we've experienced in our beautifully broken, redemption-filled five years of marriage.

I wouldn't trade one single thirsty second for flaky, superficial satisfaction.  I want the real, awe-inspiring, humble love I get to chose every day. We may be broken, but we're blessed and what God has brought together, no man can unbind.