Several weeks ago, more than 150 women spent two days together connecting, learning, praying, laughing, and worshipping at our second annual IF:Gathering. Janae Collins shares about the experience.
If:Gathering 2016 was a beautiful and refreshing glimpse of the Lord. From my perspective in the sound booth, I watched as women responded to the teachings, worship, and to each other. As the gathering progressed, shoulders of women relaxed and conversations lingered. I have so much I could say about this conference. I could tell you of details that made it possible and how I still think about the popcorn and s’more bar or how I lost it during the time of confession. Watching women confess their hearts and stand imperfectly in the presence of their God was breathtaking.
However, the most striking part of this conference weren’t the decorations or the food or the small details, it was Jesus. And, He showed Himself off, I tell you.
There is a difference, Jennie Allen said, between studying Jesus’ words and studying His actions. She challenged us to go back to keeping company with Jesus and not get too caught up in the business of working for Jesus. He will use us and delight in doing so, but we must not put that above abiding with Him in the daily mundane and quiet.
There is a difference, Eugene Cho said, between being in love with the idea of following Jesus and literally following Him. Eugene Cho might’ve been my favorite to get on the stage. Being the first male speaker to appear at an IF:Gathering, he nailed it.
When you feel the grass is greener on the other side, is it possible the Holy Spirit is telling you to water the grass you are standing on? (Eugene Cho)
Isn’t that ridiculously good? My heart is still getting slapped by this quote, trying to allow my grass to be enough and good and what God planned.
There is a difference, Jen Hatmaker said, between loving people with an agenda and loving people who force us to lay down our pride. She reminded us that Jesus was never deterred by someone’s story and He wasn’t afraid to recklessly love us and trust us with His entire Kingdom, so what are we so afraid of?
I realize that I’m only one opinion, so I asked a few friends to share their experience and this is what I got in return:
“IF:Gathering was an impactful weekend. Being reminded of who God is and of the truth of who I really am as His daughter was exactly what I needed. And, weeks later, I’m still reflecting and acting on the truth of that message!” ~Kim Rhinesmith
“The IF conference was a really great way to listen to a lot of speakers while in the comfort of your own church. It was a great opportunity to get to know some new women and quickly share and find out about deep faith walks in each other’s lives. It was also nice to just enjoy the company of other women and fellowship over food, coffee, worship, and teaching.” ~ Andrea Jardon
“The IF:Gathering was an experience that guided my heart to become still in the middle of hustle. I was able to process lovely truths about the desires God has for me alongside other amazing women.” ~Celeste Burnham
Pulpit Rock Church was one of 2,000 churches and locations across the world to partner in the big picture of IF:Gathering. The gathering closed with the image of a domino. You know them well, we all grew up lining these toys up in the perfect sequence so they all fall into each other just right. We were given dominoes to remind us of our parts to play in God’s bigger story. No one is really a big deal, we are just little things, small dominoes, falling in the midst of a big thing of Jesus, and that is enough.
Pulpit Rock was a small domino within IF and as individual women, we asked God for next steps that would give us direction and empowerment to fall over in our places and with our people.
Because of IF, our church and our city have women walking around with ready to fall dominoes that say truths like:
“Enough. A reminder that I am already enough and that He sees exactly who I am and still pursues and loves because of Him and not me. My temptation is to believe that I’m not good enough (thin enough, pretty enough, funny enough, etc), so it’s my reminder to make the choice to believe the truth. ~ Rachel Leinweber
“Listen. I had been struggling with hearing God a lot for a really long time. And at the conference, and in the days leading up to it, I really started to hear God. And during IF I really heard God telling me to listen to the plans he has for me.” ~Jesi Smoot
“Stay small. My heart needs to be reminded that small is good. Keep company with Jesus in the mundane. “Small is an invitation to participate in something greater than ourselves.” ~Janae Collins
“Share. It’s obvious I am to “share” Him; I’m trusting Him to give me those creative and different ways in which to “share” Him and His love. ~Diane Stermer
“Falling outside of comfort.” ~ Becky Cleveland
“Follow. It reminds me to look straight ahead and walk with Jesus when I get caught up in the pressure of the world.” ~Holli Reeves
“Intentional. During IF, God laid it on my heart to really be intentional about showing the women in a play group I attend the love of Christ and the reason that Christianity is attractive to me; practically showing, not just apathetically mentioning church here and there.
We are so grateful to those who participated in IF:Gathering with us and we are counting down the days until IF:2017!!
What if we stopped asking God for big ways to serve him and started walking with our friend Jesus into the next simple moment in front of us? (Emily P. Freeman)
Written by Janae Collins