Today was just…wow. I don’t even have the words to describe it. Tears. Joy. Conviction. Truth. Grace. It was all there in heaps.
The Holy Spirit was present, and He moved.
If I had to summarize Day 1 of the IF: Gathering in one sentence, it would be this:
Ladies, it’s time to get back into the race.
This was not a day about navel gazing. We were not focusing on ourselves, our messes, our insecurities, our baggage. There is a time for that, no doubt, but at some point it’s time to stop the introspection and to LOOK UP. Look up, and look out. Quit sitting on the sidelines and get back in the race marked out for you.
That’s what every speaker challenged us with, in one way or another. There is a time to heal, but there is also a time to run, and too many of us have tapped out of the race.
Along those lines, here are some of my favorite highlights from the sessions:
“I was built to run races for God, eyes fixed on Jesus, but I was missing it.”
“We have prayed for a movement of God, that women who are afraid, scared, in bondage, would be set free. That you would run your race. Because this is our time. This is our leg of the race.”
“My biggest fear is that we would walk away and do a bunch of great stuff. A great movement of God is not doing a bunch of great stuff. A great movement of God is 10,00 women all around the world on their knees repenting and coming to God in brokenness.”
“By faith, we could be a generation that wasn’t fancy, wasn’t perfect, but we lived like our God was real.”
“The wilderness did not denote freedom, but deliverance. It was for freedom that Christ set us free, but many of us settle for deliverance.”
“It’s time to lay aside the weights and the sins that ensnare us—unforgiveness and jealousy and bitterness and anger. If we set these aside, some of the injustices of the world would be solved over night.”
“You came out of Egypt, but Egypt is still in you. But God wants to get Egypt out of you so we can walk into the Promised Land free.”
“The most potent force on the planet is not a missile of the atomic bomb. The most potent force on the planet is the blood of Christ. It sets people free.”
“Many of us prefer the comfort of victimhood over what it takes to be free.”
“If you want to see the promises of God worked out in your life, then you must believe the truth of God’s word over your circumstances.”
“Most of us base our lives on the facts, and that’s why we never go into the Promised Land, why we never walk in freedom.”
“Let’s build our lives on the truth of God’s Word, not the facts of our circumstances.”
“If the Body of Christ becomes a business, doesn’t it become about prostitution?”
“Prostitution is only pretend passion; it’s only a transaction business model, to get what you want.”
“What if the church has become more like a business than real passion? What if we only give ourselves to Jesus in exchange for the certainty of a good return.”
“What if we stopped this transactional model and broke all the measuring sticks. The world isn’t a forest of measuring sticks. Everything isn’t a marker to make me feel behind or ahead.”
“They don’t make a scale that could ever measure value, worth, or the weight of a soul.”
“Souls defy measuring. You can’t measure souls. You can only love souls.”
“Come suffer with the broken, with those who have been measured all their lives, and we’ll break the measuring stick together.”
“We break all the measuring sticks because Christ broke the bread. As the sisterhood that is broken and made whole, we make all those broken measuring sticks into a table.”
Today, we were challenged to cast off the many things that entangle us–woundedness, victimhood, comparison, sinful motives–and to really start running again. It’s a challenge we don’t hear as often at women’s conferences, which is what made it so incredibly powerful here.
Today was also a good reminder of the big picture. For many of us whose days are spent chasing small children and surviving the daylight hours, it can be easy to forget the large vision, but I think Jen Hatmaker summed it up well in her opening prayer:
It’s time for our generation to take the baton that’s been handed to us, and we will not drop it. We’re going to run the race….and then we’ll pass this on to our children.
Yes and amen!
Be sure to tune in Saturday for Day 2!