Pictures, music, journals and post-it notes are my close companions. My home and classroom are covered in pictures to remind me that I am loved and never alone. Most songs I hear are associated with a memory or a person or a season. And I write to remember who God is and what He has brought me through, whether that’s in a messy journal entry or three words posted to my computer screen.
I confess I don’t have the best memory. Or better put, I seem to remember the things that I shouldn’t and forget the things I should. I can remember the entire dance to NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” but I struggle remembering that I don’t have to prove myself to be enough.
In this New Year, I’ve felt the Lord nudging me with this word remember.
Remember Me within your circumstances.
Remember Who I Am to you.
Remember My heart for you.
Remember My voice.
Remember what I’ve taught you.
“Remembering becomes a healing. Remember your broken and busted heart, remember Him crucified and who you are and your real name: Beloved.”
-The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp
IF:Gathering holds a special place in my heart.
I remember going to women’s events and conferences with my mom growing up. I watched Beth Moore talk about her hair routine more times than I can count. And I’ve done my fair share of Bible studies. However, nothing compares with what IF:Gathering has crafted into me.
There is a breath of fresh air and authenticity with IF as it begs you to show up as yourself and let others really see you. My favorite part of IF:Gathering year after year is the moment when I watch shoulders release and women turn in toward each other. The room exhales.
Our fears and insecurities that were present in the beginning begin to fade as we realize we are truly welcome here, as we are. This is what it’s all about.
Each year, we are shielded from the speaker names in order to protect our hearts that are easily tempted to follow someone talking about Jesus instead of Him. And each year, we walk away with something tangible to remember God by.
Glance through the Scriptures and see how this act of remembrance is nothing new. Since the beginning, God has been telling us to remember Him because He knew one of our greatest downfalls would be to easily forget who He is. Adam and Eve forget in the Garden. The Israelites forget their freedom time and time again. The disciples forget who Jesus is while sitting across from Him at dinner.
Build an altar, take a stone from the Jordan river, break bread and drink wine. All in remembrance of the God who won’t stop loving us.
Surely, there is grace for our forgetfulness.
And surely, there is even more need today to remember.
“What IF we followed God with perseverance instead of insecurity? At IF:Gathering 2018, we will look at one of Paul’s letters to Timothy as he reminded him of the power and responsibility of sharing the gospel. We want to give God away in the very places He’s put us, so we’re going to gather for the purpose of remembering why following God and making disciples matters. We all get tired, we all wonder if what we’re doing matters, so IF:Gathering 2018 will be the reminder — it will be the celebration. The work we’re doing to share the gospel on the earth is worth it and God DOES move through the little things that nobody sees. Join us.”
Written by Janae Collins
This year’s IF:Gathering is happening March 9-10. Register now to reserve your spot.