IF God is real….

[Since starting this blog I have really struggled with what is the PURPOSE of it. I don’t think I should just be putting words out on the internet without a purpose, a vision behind them. But for almost a year, I’ve done just that. Supposedly all you readers out there enjoy it, and I get good feedback. I do enjoy sharing recipes, dog info, home projects, hubby projects, and so on… But I think occasionally I would like to post something that matters. That has purpose. Otherwise, why blog at all? So, that is what I’m going to do today… even though it’s scary…]

Last weekend over 40,000 women joined together worldwide for the IF: Gathering. The main event was in Austin, TX, but there was a live simulcast option for whoever wanted to take part. I participated with a group of 250 meeting in a movie theater just up the road from Austin.

“What is IF?”, you ask? Well, that’s what most of us were asking ourselves even as we walked into various venues across the country and world, and sat down. All we knew is that it was going to be something big, something great, probably something life-changing. Founder Jennie Allen compared it to the noise of a dog whistle. Her and her team blew the whistle, and women came running, just drawn to this event, coming just because they felt like they needed to. That’s how I felt, and many others I met. There was just something so different about the authenticity of the leadership and the lack of true plans for the weekend. It was inviting.

Before the conference even began I had already done something life-changing: gone alone. I don’t do things alone. Especially not go to conferences and gatherings. But when I couldn’t find anyone to go with, a friend encouraged me to be brave, and I signed up and went. Because I was alone I was able to meet with God more freely and also build relationships with wonderful women I wouldn’t otherwise have met. Going alone was a brave decision, and has made me feel I can be brave in other areas of life.

IF God is real… THEN what?

This question, along with Hebrews 12:1-2, framed the weekend.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So many things set this “conference” apart from others. Still, a week later, I am still processing all I learned, all God did; this posting doesn’t come close to covering it all. And from what people are saying on Twitter, I’m not the only one. For me, one of the best parts was that there were so many speakers, all from different backgrounds, different politics, different races- but all united under Jesus. All proclaiming Jesus. All pursuing Jesus.

And the same went for the attendees (in person and online)- different backgrounds, states, countries, theology… but all about Jesus.

Friday night Esther Havens, one of the speakers/leaders, summed it up perfectly with this tweet: “Tonight I experienced a piece of what I think heaven will be like”  Yes and Amen.

What can God do when tens of thousands of women gather together, equip themselves, and are unleashed upon the world to

Walk in faith, one step at a time,

Seek freedom,

Stop comparing and competing,

Run their race, eyes fixed on Jesus,

Live mercifully,

Seek justice for the oppressed,

Stop living in the past?

Bianca Olthoff said it best,

“If God is for us, who in hell can be against us?”

As I’ve processed, what keeps coming back over and over are “If… Then statements” IF God is real….

…Then my blog needs to have purpose

…Then I can go places alone in order to better grow in Him

…Then I need to choose risk and unknown over comfort

…Then I need to choose love over judgment

…Then I need to abide with Him daily, hourly, constantly

…Then I can do big things, through faith, and join the “cloud of witnesses” named in Hebrews 11

…Then I need to run my race well, fixing my eyes on Jesus

IF didn’t stop on Saturday evening at the conclusion of the gathering. The videos were posted online through Monday night, and can now be purchased as a download here. You will not regret the money spent on these words, hearing these speakers be real and faith-filled and hopeful for what’s next.

IF: Equip is a weekday Bible study for anyone, anywhere. Women all over the world reading a passage together and discussing it. Beautiful.

This “movement” is about coming together. Community. Loving one another well, in order to love the world well.

“Ask (God) for a heart that wants to serve, and just move” -Jen Hatmaker

What is your IF…Then statement? What do you need to do If God is really real?

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