Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What is IF:?

My sister Jenn loves her some social media (and that's an understatement). Because of this, she is often in the know about a lot of things that I am completely unaware of. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes it's not.

For months, maybe longer she had been so excited and talking a lot about this IF: Gathering conference she heard about on social media. Again, I had no idea what she was talking about. And to be honest, I really didn't like or understand the title of "IF". The funny thing is/was, even those that knew a lot about the conference didn't actually know that much. There weren't many details going out other than the fact that there would be this big conference with big Christian speakers (none that I had heard of) and anyone that heard about it wanted to be there. It was being held in Austin, TX this past weekend.


When tickets went on sale the conference sold out in minutes (1200 tickets to be exact) and Jenn was very disappointed. Then she heard about their plan to stream the conference live so that people all over the country could have IF: local gatherings and they could be a part of the conference too. It didn't take Jenn long to decide that Northern Colorado had to be a part of this. She felt a strong urge that God was asking her to be the one to lead and organize the local event for and with us.


When she asked who would help her plan, I agreed not knowing at all what I was even helping with. I just jumped on the bandwagon because I'm her sister and that's what we do. We help with things like this. ;)

All I knew was that I've been needing something like this. I didn't care what the topic was, because let's be honest, I didn't understand it. I've just been in a place of feeling spiritually dry and thirsty. Due to my busy schedule as a stay at home mom of 3 young ones, spending days and weeks inside avoiding the freezing cold and nursing sick little ones back to health, having little to no time to myself for bible studies, and mostly due to being without a church home at the moment (another post for another time), I needed this.

So, back in the fall Jenn put together a group of 6 women to plan for this IF: thing. I don't want to get into the details of the planning and the having to re-think and re-plan many things because this post would become a novel, but I just want to talk now about how it all actually impacted me this past weekend.

It.was... I actually don't have one word. It was moving, awesome, incredible, beautiful. It was just what I needed. The group ended up being much smaller than we originally thought or hoped, but in the end, I thought it was perfect. I don't think it was a coincidence that we had the perfect number of seats at our tables. The group was the perfect size. It was just enough to feel like we had a good turn out and just small enough to really be able to open up to one another.

I don't know what I loved more, the amazing speakers (I'll get to them), or the discussions at the table. We discussed deep and honest things with each other like our biggest fears, dreams, and how God has worked and is currently working in our lives. We talked about what it would look like if the church was unified, in every way.

We had a little help on how to get these conversations going with the IF: conversation cards. ;)


When it was all over we went from being complete strangers (some of us) to being great friends.

As for the speakers, all I can say is WOW. In my personal life I've only read and heard mostly from Beth Moore and maybe a handful of others. Probably because my mom is a HUGE Beth Moore fan. ;) I had no idea there were so many more amazing speakers out there, and that so many of them were in our age group (30 somethings). They each spoke to me in a new, fresh way and some even had me tearing up as I felt like God was speaking directly to me through them.

I have a handful of new favorites now and I hope to do their Bible studies in the future. Here's some of my new favorites:
Christine Caine
http://www.christinecaine.com/


Rebekah Lyons
http://rebekahlyons.com/


And Jen Hatmaker
http://jenhatmaker.com/


And although these two weren't "speakers" per say, I really enjoyed the interviews/ testimonies of Melinda Doolittle and Kristin Armstrong. 



To be perfectly honest, I'm still not crazy about the title "IF". BUT, it was an incredible weekend! I feel like it started a new spark for me in my walk of faith. I can't wait for the next gathering!

1 comment:

Courtney said...

It sounds like it was an incredible weekend from everything I've heard. Are they planning on making it an annual thing?

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I am a daughter of the King. Saved by grace. Follower of Christ. I love my God and I believe that he is faithful and true to his word! I'm still figuring out and trying to follow his plan for my life. I am a wife to my best friend Caleb, a mother to my miracle babies (they are my greatest joy and challenge), a sister and best friend to 3 passionate women, and a daughter to 2 amazing parents that continue to teach me what it is to be real and faithful to God and his word. I am lucky to get to be a stay at home Mom (thanks to God's provision). I love music, singing, coffee, cooking, baking, traveling, our beautiful state of Colorado, and mostly being with the family and friends that I love!

Husband, Caleb

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Caleb is an amazing husband and father. He is always so good to me. He is my best friend. He is the romantic one. We love to laugh and spend time together. We've been married for 7 years and I just love that I get to spend the rest of my life with him.

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Elliana Faith... God blessed us with our first miracle little girl in December 2008. She is sweet, smart, spunky, funny, strong willed, precocious, extremely outgoing, vocal and so full of life! She brings us so much joy.

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Ethan James,.. God blessed us with our little boy in March 2011. Ethan was a bit of a surprise and an even bigger miraclle. Ethan is ALL BOY! He is very active, into sports and running around. He is also sweet, introverted, affectionate, and laid back. These days he often has us laughing, he's starting to show a little bit of "clown" in him. He makes our hearts happy too. :)

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Emsley Jeannette... Our surprise baby girl was born on June 11th, 2013 and came into the world 4 weeks early. Her first 2 weeks of life were spent in the NICU, but due to God's hands and the prayers of many people, she grew quickly and came home to join our family! She is an easy, sweet baby and we are enjoying getting to know her personality.

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