The IF:Gathering is an annual two day gathering where women from all across the globe come together to dig deep in their faith and encounter God. The gathering is hosted in Austin, Texas, but it's also simulcast all across the world in local homes, churches and communities. I had the pleasure of attending this year's IF:Gathering through the "If:Local" event hosted at Mercy Hill Church. Along with 99 other women at Mercy Hill and tens of thousands of women all over the world, I sat and listened to many different speakers all addressing the question, "What if we lived like Jesus?"
The gathering began with talks by Jo Saxton and Jennie Allen, the founder of the IF:Gathering. I was struck by Jo's evident passion for the Lord as she reminded us of how Jesus is the Redeemer of our lives and the One who restores our purpose. Jennie spoke on John 13 where Peter refused to let Jesus wash his feet. She used this story to illustrate for us the importance of repentance. Her main point truly struck me: You have to put out your dirty foot in order to receive His cleansing. Sisters, He offers to wash us clean from all our filth, our guilt and our shame...we must only lay ourselves fully before Him and accept His redeeming love and care.
Other speakers throughout the weekend included Eugene Cho, Lauren Chandler, Bianca Olthoff, Shelley Giglio, Jen Hatmaker, Angie Smith, and last but not least, the president of the International Missions Board, David Platt. David Platt asked a question during his session that really left an imprint on my mind and heart. He asked: "What would it take for the concept of unreached people to become totally intolerable to the church?" For the last week I've been praying that this question would move beyond a question and become a reality for His church.
The IF:Gathering both equipped and encouraged me to more fervently love the Lord, love others and make His name known. I was challenged by both the speakers and the women around me at Mercy Hill. I felt cared for by the women who put on this event (Thank you Kori Spangler!), feeding both our stomachs and our souls over the course of the weekend. And last but not least, I felt loved. I felt loved by the women who sat around my table and dug into my life. I felt loved by my church taking the time and making the investment to host this event for me. And I felt loved by a God who knows everything about me and still chooses to continually pursue me. Below are some snapshots from the weekend. I hope these photos and this post serve to remind you that you are known, valued and truly loved.