I love IF. I have been a longtime supporter and attendee of this gathering because I love everything it stands for, the women that speak at the gathering, and the community the gathering creates. There is something incredibly energizing about being a part of women mobilizing on the behalf of Jesus and His kingdom. I am getting excited just thinking about it!
As someone who loves reading words, writing words, and speaking words, I am actually finding it hard to put into words just how much this gathering has meant to me and how much it has challenged me in my faith. With our 2019 IF:Billings event just around the corner, we thought we’d take some blog space to share about IF and what it means to us. With words escaping me, I will try to share what IF means to me.
When I think about why I cherish IF, the greatest thing that comes to mind is the fiery, challenging words that the speakers never fail to deliver. Every single gathering I have attended, I have heard things that have cut me in the best way possible. Hard things. Challenging things. Encouraging things. Things that I needed to hear to break through complacency. Things that call me up and call me out.
One of those things in particular comes from an IF: Gathering favorite, Jill Briscoe. If you haven’t heard Jill speak or aren’t familiar with her, sister, you are missing out! Jill is the grandmother figure we all need in our lives, a strong woman of faith whose walk speaks to a life well-lived. As a younger woman, I deeply cherish and look up to women like her who serve as strong and lovely examples of godly womanhood. She says words that are worth a repeat.
Words like these…
These words are a few IF:Gatherings old, but still continue to be one of my favorite quotables because, in the moment, were the exact words I needed (and still do!) to hear.
I struggle a lot with my “calling”, the mission I am put on earth to do. As a working mom of two, it can be hard for me to see what I do as kingdom work…and sometimes I just wish I was called to “more”. I know that sounds icky, so let me explain. I look at missionaries, social activists, people in the trenches and think that they are the ones doing the real work, exciting work, the work that is making a difference. I discount what I am doing and, as a result, get complacent, moody, and whiny. That’s why I needed to hear Jill so badly. Jill’s words (and her whole talk) spoke a renewed focus and spark to me. I am where I am for a reason. Just because it isn’t on a visible and global level doesn’t negate the importance of my current status. I am placed there for a reason, by God, on purpose.
I have been “sent” and, therefore, I have an obligation. For as long as I am there, I am to unpack. For me, that means settle in. Get comfortable. Get involved. Know who is around me. Put myself out there. It does not mean whine, complain, fight, or try to find the quickest way out. Unpack.
Her words also challenge me to give it my all because it matters. My obedience, dedication, and joy I put in to it…it matters and matters deeply. There is an end game and I need to give my efforts to it until I am called somewhere else. I may not like where I am at, but that does not free me from my mission in the moment.
Go. Unpack. Give what I’ve got. It’s kingdom work.