I've been nervous to write this post.
I'm not quite sure why.
My mind was blown this weekend.
That could be the reason..
I know I won't put it into words the way that it needs to be put into words.
It's hard to describe God moments.
This past weekend, I went to an event called IF:Gathering in Austin Texas.
(Go to their website right now and fall madly in love with all things IF. They have an amazing daily Bible study where amazing women of God talk about the passage for the day. IF:EQUIP.COM)
I was excited to go for multiple reasons.
First, who doesn't want a fun weekend away from their kid with a good friend?
(With all of the tantrums I have been dealing with on a daily basis, I almost left a week early for the conference....MOMMY NEEDS A BREAK)
Second, I was excited to be poured into.
Being in Guatemala for 20 months was a blessing, but also so hard.
We were dry.
We had no church family.
We had no worship.
(Like really bad music)
(I can't even explain the worship at this conference. At one point, I literally felt like I saw the throne of God while worshiping. I know that sounds nutso, but I'm for real. It was a Holy moment.)
We had no pastor.
We had no fellowship.
Our friends were teenage kids who spoke another language, and while I adored them to death, I did not get poured into.
We were missionaries.
We were there to do the pouring, but to be honest, it sucked hard.
Now, I know it is not about us, but I'm just saying, it sucked.
I needed to be poured into, and I had great expectations, even though I had no idea what to expect, that this was going to be a weekend where I was poured into.
(Also, I flipped someone off on the way to the conference and called someone else a dick head. I needed to get some of Jesus's kindness in my life. My fruit of the Spirit was hiding.)
(Not my finest moment. It has been about 6 years since I last flipped someone off. I broke my nail while doing it because my finger hit the roof of my car. I took that as a sign that God didn't want me flipping people off.)
So, I clearly needed to be poured into.
I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.
I immediately became obsessed with all items IF.
(Pretty sure I bought almost everything that was available to buy, but that's a sin issue I'd rather not discuss right now.)
And the speakers, I can't even.
(I'm a bit ashamed to say that I kind of stalked Jen Hatmaker. Not in a super stalkerish way, but just one of those, "Oh there she is. I should say hi. I should tell her that her reality remodel show gave me 6 hours of sanity in Guatemala in the middle of nowhere. I don't want to be that girl though. Should I be that girl? No. I won't bother her. Oh gosh. I want to bother her!")
(I also asked Bob Goff to take his picture with me even though...shhh....don't tell anyone...I have never even read his book, "Love Does." I realize that, that in itself, is a crime. I am sorry. I will read it.)
(I do have to say, that is the nicest man I have met in my entire life. Joy exudes from him.)
(You know those Christians that you are kind of ashamed of and kind of hope they will just keep their mouths closed so they don't ruin it for the rest of us? This is not him. I want to put him up on stage at the Oscars, introduce him, and say, "This is our people! When you think of a Christian, think of him!")
Ok, I am A.D.D-ing it again.
The speakers were amazing.
They spoke truth.
They had passion.
They spoke the word of God.
Their motto is to keep it "Pure and Simple."
They did it, but it was also deep on SO many levels..
(They also dressed fantastically. This was awesome and horrible. I could not stop looking at their outfits and jewelry. DISTRACTION. Next year, they should all wear sweats.)
How do you begin to explain how something like this changed your life?
I can't really point out a speaker.
They were all amazing.
I learned so much from all of them.
I guess I'll point out two things that I learned from Christine Caine.
(My lovely friend Becca, whom I went with, was shocked that I had never heard of Christine Caine. I know. Such a loser. Where have I been? Oh yea. Guatemala. In the middle of nowhere.)
Christine said a bunch that stuck out to me, but I'll go with the two that have been nagging on me since I heard it.
1. We should not talk poorly about the church.
Well, how often do we do this?
I am thinking that we do it a lot.
We all have issues with the church.
Either our own churches, because the program isn't good enough or the pastor is weird, or other churches that we don't go to but have some beef with.
I am a church trash talker, and you know what I learned this weekend?
That is God's bride!
I am trash talking God's bride.
Christine used this example:
What if you were walking down the aisle on your wedding day, and your husband's best man leaned over and said, "Oh dude! She looks bad! That dress is horrible. Her makeup looks bad. She should have chosen different jewelry..."
Hopefully your future hubby would smack him upside the head.
Wouldn't that just be the absolute worst?!
Well, that is exactly what we are doing when we complain about the church.
2. Keep the Bible in your life. Meditate on it day and night.
Now listen. I know what you are thinking. "Of course we need to do that. This is not some shocking new piece of information!"
I get that, but then she said this tragically convicting sentence that made me want to cry: "We should not know more about Reality TV than we do about the Bible."
The second she said this, I said, in my head of course, "Well CRAP!"
I can't even begin to explain the amount of TV I watch.
It is my escape from the real world.
(See, I just thought about the reality TV show "The Real World!" That used to be such a great show.)
(My current favorite reality show is "Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills")
(Can we just talk for a second about how extremely rude Brandi has been on this season? She has always been a hot mess, but I felt like last season she was kind of trying. This season she is just embarrassing. I hang my head in shame for her. Oh man. Makes me sad.)
(The above conversation that I just had with my computer, is why I was so convicted about what Christine said. I have a problem.)
Once Jackson is finished throwing his tantrums and is finally taking a nap, I turn on the TV.
Once John and Jackson are in bed for the night, I turn on the TV.
It is how I escape!
(It is also how I eat WAY too many calories, but let's not talk about that sin issue either.)
She made a few other points beyond the bomb that she dropped when she brought up my precious Reality TV.
She said that we need to be full of God's word and that faith comes from hearing.
She said we need to get in the Word of God and obey, confess, be strong and courageous, work, roll up our sleeves, and serve.
Through this, He will do His work in us, but we need to be willing to HEAR, and we can hear by reading God's word and knowing what He wants us to know.
I should not be getting my examples on life from the TV
When I am stressed and exhausted and am about to lose it, I need to go to God's word to sustain me.
Not Olivia Pope!
(Don't even get me started on that show. I have to mute it and look away half the time. It has gotten so inappropriate. And yet, I stayed up till 1 am last night watching to see if Olivia would break out of that fake jail they were holding her in.)
I got so much more out of this conference, but those were the nagging little tidbits that won't stop convicting me.
We ended this amazing conference by basically living out what this conference is called.
IF God is real, then __________
We each had a stone, and we wrote our next steps on it. Then we took the stones down to the front and placed them all together as a symbol, like the Israelites did, of what God was doing and had done in our lives.
So what did that mean for us?
Well, if God is real, then I need to live my life for Him.
But, what does that look like in my life?
What is my next step?
For me it was something super awesome, but I can't share it because we haven't told all of our family yet, and I would hate for them to hear it on this blog.
(I just realized it should probably be stop watching TV, but I think what He has planned for us is bigger than that.)
(However, think about all of the amazing things I could do in my life without TV..)
For others it was going, staying, letting go, loving, forgiving, etc.
It was different for everyone, but let me ask you this. If God is real, which I fully believe with all of my heart that He is, then what does that mean for your life?
Fill in the blank.
IF God is real, then _____________
If you don't think that God is real, I would love to talk with you about it.
(In a kind and friendly conversation.)
(I'm trying to channel my inner Bob Goff and to be joyful like him. Can't be fighting over Jesus!)