We just had the Snowpocalypse of the century and I did not take even one picture of my kids playing in the glorious white powder.
While my three oldest "babies" (they hate when I call them that - declaring "MOOOOMMM we are NOT babies anymore!") were out playing in the snow, I was able to watch the livestream of IF:Gathering, which took place in Austin, Texas this weekend. (NOTE: The livestream is available for FREE until 10:00pm tonight at this link.) Wishing about now that I had some cute snow pics to pepper my writing. But, alas, I don't. I hope you'll read anyway, even without their cute smiling faces to urge you along.
You can check out what IF is all about at this link. The basic idea is "IF God is real, then what?
One of my dearest friends planned an IF:Local here in Salem to watch the Austin conference. I wanted to be there. Author and Jesus-lover, Jennie Allen, was the main catalyst of this conference. Jennie's book, Anything, was one of those books that felt in many ways like reading my own heart poured out onto paper. But, our season of life - with a nursing baby and big kids with lots of activities - was like a roadblock preventing me from attending the conference.
Enter Arctic Chill 2014. Proof that when God wants you to experience something, He makes it happen. The snow meant all of my kids activities and bday parties and even church were cancelled. The snow meant we were house-bound with no where to go. The snow meant that the IF:Gathering livestream was available in my own house, where I didn't need to leave my nursing baby who has an unpredictable schedule. The snow meant that my three older kids were occupied for hours and hours and hours out playing in the backyard. The snow meant I had glorious TIME to watch IF!
Praise Jesus! IF:Gathering was a crazy blessing to me. If you've been reading my blog at all over the past couple of years you've heard, with as much honesty as I can muster, some of the things that Jesus is working in my heart. I was brought to tears listening to other women at IF as I realized that the Holy Spirit is at work all over the country, all over the world, working similar things into the hearts of women everywhere. Every woman has their own story, their own circumstances. But, through those unique stories, the Lord is weaving common truths about who He is and who we are in Him.
As time and life allow, I'm hoping to write about some of what I heard and am thinking about over the next few weeks. I've got a ton of thoughts in my head and I need to work them out on here.
Here's one little snippet to start off. Shelley Giglio shared on Psalm 84 and I learned so much!
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise!
Okay - so the swallow is a super common bird. (Also super annoying - we have had them build nests in our dryer tubes twice, grrr). They are on every continent. They are everywhere. Just like people. Lots and lots of them all over the world. The swallow built her nest (for her young) at the Lord's altar!
Do you hear that?? The swallow, a common non-extraordinary creature, built her nest at the Lord's altar! Right next to God! The audacity of it! And the beauty! It means that we too are invited to be with God and building at the same time.
So often, I think of life in such a compartmentalized way. Spend time with the Lord. Then go to all the other stuff I think He expects me to do. Spend time with the Lord. Then go work for Him. Spend time with the Lord. Then go take care of my babies.
But NO! God wants us to do our building in His presence. At His altar! Us! Common people! As a mom of little people, it was especially significant to me that the swallow was building a nest for her young in His presence. I'm not 100% sure how this is going to play out, but I know the Lord wants me building for His Kingdom in His presence! With him! And He says that those who dwell in the Lord's house are blessed.
So there is just a little glimpse of what I took from just one session of IF. My brain is spinning and my heart is full from listening to these women who love Jesus. More to come . . .