Tuesday, February 9, 2016

With Great Expectation - Thoughts on IF:Gathering 2016

    I love orchids.  Years ago, when we lived in Florida, I had a dozen or two hanging in the oak tree in our backyard.  I just couldn't get enough of them!  I still can't.  But I now live in Oklahoma, and our weather isn't quite as conducive to leaving orchids outside year round.  So, I now have one orchid in my kitchen windowsill. One orchid that hasn't been in bloom for almost a year.  One orchid that is now putting on buds and will eventually bloom again soon!  And I CAN. NOT. WAIT. I wait in great expectation as day after day passes and it gets closer to that inevitable day!

     This is the SAME feeling I had leading up to the IF:Gathering.  I was so EXPECTANT.  So EXCITED.  So READY.  As the weekend grew closer, I saw the buds of excitement growing in other women.  And over the course of this past weekend, I saw the beginning of beautiful blooms.  Women chasing after God.  Women allowing the love of Jesus into their lives.  Women DECIDING to take that next step in their lives that would put them on the path to walking WITH GOD, not just living for God. And not to overuse the word...but IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!

     I am still processing everything that was shared over the course of the weekend, as I'm sure many of you are.  But there were several things that stood out to me personally, that I thought I would share:
     If my life isn't about Jesus, and sharing his love with every single person that I come into contact with, then I have completely missed the point of life.  Deep down, I already knew this.  But this past weekend drove that home to me in a completely different way. Many thanks to David Platt for planting a seed of discipleship in my heart.
     Water my own grass.  So often, I am discontent with what I have, or wonder why things in my life that I want to see change in NEVER change.  Maybe, just maybe, it's because I'm not choosing to take care of my own grass.  Instead of looking at someone else's 'greener grass', I'm going to seek different ways to 'water grass the grass that I am standing on', and to invest in the areas that I wish were better. Thank you, Eugene Cho, for some amazing metaphors that brought this concept to life!
     You can have as much of God as you want.  Wow.  God is there.  Always.  Fully.  And we can seek Him or not seek Him to whatever extent THAT WE CHOOSE.  Ouch.  I'm honestly still chewing one this one.  How much of God do I REALLY want?
   Sometimes the cost of discipleship does NOT make sense.  Following Jesus doesn't mean that life will be easy. Or perfect.  Or that things will go my way.  In the midst of chaos or confusion, do I still believe?
    Love does not have an angle or an agenda. Enough said.
    We are made for community.  The early church was BUILT ON hospitality.  We need MARGIN in our lives to have the room to be able to do life together and to support each other.  Life is better done TOGETHER.  The discussion time with Rebekah Lyons about community in the midst of pain and suffering was so eye opening and life altering for me.

     I could go on and on about how I was impacted by all that was shared, about how much I appreciate the vision that Jennie Allen and her team have, the willingness to change courses, to evaluate, and to grow along with how IF is growing.  I could rave about Bianca Olthoff, about how much I appreciate her candor, and how much I LOVE her humor and perspective! If I were to tell you everything that impacted me, we would be here ALL. NIGHT.
     So, what does all of this mean to you?  That really is up to you.  First of all I would say, if you don't know JESUS, let's talk.  I would love to share with you more about HOW MUCH HE LOVES YOU. Secondly, take a step closer to your community, your church family, your friends, whomever it is that you find support in.  Make an effort to BE PRESENT.  Find ONE way to get involved in something positive beyond yourself.  And I know I've already mentioned it, but LIFE REALLY IS BETTER DONE TOGETHER!!

**If you want to join in on the post IF:Gathering conversation, there is a fantastic study going on over at IFequip.com right now. Ladies, we would LOVE to have you join us!

Blessings~ Kendra

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