In her book, “Free of Me” and Right Now Media video study, Sharon Hodde Miller talks about the different Gods we can have relationships with. The self-help God exists to make us feel better about ourselves. The self-serving God exists to serve us and make our lives easier and better. The self-exalting God exists to make us look good in public. And the self-image God looks just like us with our opinions, judgments, and rules.

When we lose sight of our identity in Christ, we drift into these relationships.

More than ever, I’m excited for this year’s IF:Gathering at Pulpit Rock. Six months ago, we had our little girl and what followed were some of my hardest months. I wasn’t in control. I wasn’t able to fix my crying baby. Any truth I believed spiraled down into endless lies where I didn’t have the energy to muster up something nice to say to myself. It’s been a messy season to say the least.

As we began to pray and dream about our gathering this year, we kept asking the question, “What do the women at Pulpit Rock need?” My heart continued to come back to three words: rest, celebrate, and wisdom.

Although at first glance, these words might seem to clash with each other, we believe God is using them to complement one another. I believe our souls (and most likely our eyes) need rest. Rest from our busy minds, rest from our comparisons and insecurities, rest from our schedules, and rest IN who we are in Christ.

We also believe we need to celebrate what God is doing in us, through us, our church, and our city. As we connect around tables, I pray God shows us how to celebrate each other’s stories.

And we desire to do this while studying the book of Proverbs, learning more about the wisdom of the one true God who is living and active.

Instead of puffing us up with a motivational speech, the one true God reminds us of His power and strength that we can lean into.

When we worship the idols of comfort and ease, He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest.”

When praise is addictive and our insecurities crave glory, God reminds us that He’s invited us to share in His glory and to then turn and be zealous to shine it on others.

And instead of being a God who looks just like us, the one true God steps on our toes, He convicts, he points out our blind spots, He requires us to repent.

I think I’m most excited about this year because I need it. I need to be around women for a few days who will connect at a deep level. I need to turn the lies off and focus just on Jesus.

As Thomas reminds us each Sunday, you are welcome here and all of you is welcome here.

One last thing…please come as you are. Sometimes, with IF (and women’s conferences in general), there is a pressure to look a certain way, talk a certain way, and carry all the right things. We encourage you to come as you want. Dress up or wear sweats and bring a blanket (there will be a lot of ice cream on Friday night)!

Let’s come together, make some new friends, catch up with old ones, and rest for a few days.

Written by Janae Collins


Register for the IF:Gathering.

 

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