If last week was a week of doubt, of questioning, then this week is one of faith. I don’t consider it at all an accident that just days before IF:Gathering, every question was rising in my head. I don’t consider it at all an accident that for two weeks before IF:Gathering I was beginning to feel anxious heart palpitations and a tightening in my stomach. No, I believe the enemy had sent an assignment of doubt to kill my faith. I believe my logical, sinful self tried to take over and make me doubt what I’ve always believed: Jesus Christ is who he says he is. He did what he said he did. He loves us like he says he loves us.
Words fail me for what God did in my heart this weekend. I gathered with a handful of friends whom I love dearly and we sang and we listened and we got real about our doubts and our hang-ups. We spoke truth and encouragement to one another. Something in me said this is how it’s supposed to be.
Right from the beginning, Jennie Allen reminded us revival starts when we repent and believe. Believing is hard but that’s what our cloud of witnesses are for. We’re not alone in this. There are others both around me now and in the Bible that say yes, God really is who he says he is.
Christine Caine reminded us that what should have taken 11 days for the Israelites to get to the promised land took 40 years because of fear, doubt, murmuring, unbelief and complaining. We can be delivered from our slavery but be kept from our freedom because of fear and doubt. It is time for our generation to have our own cutting away of sin so God can do a new thing. We have to believe the truth of God’s word over the facts. The Bible says if you abide in my word then you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. We must be a people that immerses ourselves in the truth. And, I love this part, she says we believe crazy stuff at the cross, we may as well embrace all the crazy.
Ann Voskamp reminded us that we must put down the comparison stick. My life and calling are not going to look like my friend’s.
Rebekah Lyons taught that the anxiety we feel is because of unfulfilled responsibility. We know God has called us to something and we’re not doing it. There were two very specific things I’d been struggling with doing for months. MONTHS. And I was letting fear and doubt stop me. I cared more of what others thought than what He thought. She reminded us that “we’re it.” We are God’s church sent to be his mouthpiece. There is no one else to share about him. We are the salt and light of the earth and we must live boldly.
Jen Hatmaker reminded us that we must stop treating our world like our enemies. The world is looking for someone that is constantly making their belief real. She asks who is the forgotten and neglected around us that we need to go along side to serve? We don’t have to do everything but we do have to play our one note.
So many more speakers shared truth. I wrote pages and pages of notes.
So, let me tell you what this boiled down to for me:
I must stop doubting and believe. I need to get back my childlike faith and take him at his word. I can have a confidence and boldness to share those beliefs.
My anxiety was an unfulfilled responsibility. God is calling me to some things and it’s not a big, gray dreamy calling. Sometimes, it’s things like take a plate of cookies to the new neighbor. Make some breakfast casserole for your friends. We can find these out like manna every day. He is a light to our path and he will give us just what we need as we go.
A local gathering of women is powerful and effective. It is time for us to stop caring what each other think and start caring about and for each other. I am more convinced and convicted than ever that God is using women to reach the lost. We have been silenced and neglected and abused for years (I speak of the church at large) and I believe God is redeeming us, graciously using us to bring people to Him.
My battle cry here for years has been to grow, grow, grow. I wanted to do more and know more and be used more and wanted others to do the same. I’m afraid I’ve gotten it all wrong. My heart’s desire, and what God has been trying to show to me (remember the feather at Allume?) this whole time is I want people to be free, free, free.
We don’t have to be anxious or depressed, unsure of our future, trusting no one and believing no one really loves us. We have a great and mighty Savior who we can believe, without doubt. One who will provide everything we need when we need it.
He says all who are weary come to Him, his burden is light.
Friends, I am praying that God has given me a new heart of belief that lasts—that this faith he so graciously poured out through his spirit this weekend will not be dampened again by fear and doubt. And get ready because I’m praying a double portion for all of you.