So, this weekend was pretty stellar. And by stellar, I mean gut-wrenching. But in a good way. I know, it sounds crazy to me, too.
A few months ago, there was some buzz going around my little spot of the world about a new gathering coming called, IF:Gathering. Basically, no one knew what it was going to be, what was going to be happening and what it all meant. But those of us who had heard about it felt like it was going to be something good. And boy, was it ever.
I still can’t answer the question I’ve been getting the most about this weekend, which is, “What is it?” But I can tell you what has happened because of it.
I am wrecked. Completely, utterly, wholly wrecked, shattered, broken, a mess. God took a gathering of like-minded women who love him, that come from every denomination you can possibly name, from every walk of life and poured out truth over all of us and I am undone. Places I didn’t even realize were broken have been put under a spotlight with every fissure and crack glaringly obvious. The things I held onto deep down in the places I didn’t even allow my husband admission? Yeah, those things were brought forth and I cried an ugly cry like you have never seen.
Can I confess to you? Can I be completely honest?
I have been living my life as though I do not count. As though I do not matter and I have been trying so incredibly hard to count. To matter. Never mind I have an amazing husband who is gorgeous and talented and devoted to me and our children, and who, get this, LOVES me. Me. Not someone else. Me. I have felt isolated, alone, afraid, depressed, purposeless, talentless, useless and it goes on and on.
People, God spoke to me this weekend. I am convinced that the reason for this whole gathering, conference, whatever you want to call it was for me. And guess what?
I am none of those things I thought. By God’s infinite, undefinable and yes, amazing, grace, I am holy. Redeemed. Righteous. A co-heir with Christ. Pure. Friend and Beloved to Jesus. Things I always knew in my head, but never allowed to penetrate my heart because come on now, there has to be a catch. It can’t really be as simple as letting God make me new by believing his son died for me. But it is. And I am still crying every time I think about what he showed me this weekend. (This isn’t to say that I wasn’t saved or a Christian before this weekend. I have been a Christian for a very long time. But this weekend, God opened my eyes fully to the miracle and undoubtedly undeserved truth about what his grace really is and does for me.)
I was blessed to be able to share this experience with four very special friends. We sat in one of their living rooms and watched this gathering unfold online (um, let me tell you, technology is amazing. This was happening in Austin, Texas and here in Rochester we could see it live and participate via a TV. Awesome.). We talked, we encouraged, we spoke truth to each other, we cried and we comforted. And we ate. We ate some delicious food, everybody. Just being honest.
I wish I could speak more eloquently to exactly what has changed and exactly what has happened, but I just can’t. I am still trying to wrap my head around everything and process and it’s just so much. Nothing has changed really, and yet, everything has changed at the same time. I still had smelly diapers to change and small people to feed and beds to make and dishes to do that are still piled high in the sink, but I just keep thinking (and crying, again, being honest) about the whole experience. Jesus is real, y’all. He is real and he loves you and even more astounding, he loves me. The rape survivor, the post-partum depression survivor, the momma who loses her temper too often, the insecure friend, the wife who isn’t always very nice to her husband, the one who thinks she doesn’t matter. He loves me.
Yeah, I’m wrecked. But I kind of like it.