So I flew to Texas, ran to a gathering of women though I knew not how to explain to others what it was that I was seeking, what I would be given were I to attend. I just knew in my bones that I was supposed to go. So after mishaps with tickets, miracles with tickets, miraculously affordable air fare and perfect in-law baby sitters, I came. My Rachel and I, we came. Arms and hearts and minds open to whatever it was God was leading us toward. As I sat in the Austin Music Hall, at a farm table expertly decorated, my friend by my side, I prayed and wrote the first thing that came to mind in my journal.
I felt empty, I felt tired and weary from a life that I didn't feel I was living particularly well. This isn't self deprecation, it's an honest assessment of my feeling that my days were meant for more. I home school my oldest, I nurture my youngest, I serve and honor my husband in every way I can, I keep a relatively clean house, I cook from scratch, but it all has felt so empty and mundane, and at IF, God showed me why.
One of the speakers alluded to IF as to the manna in the desert, the "what is it" that was exactly what each person needed each day while wandering in the wilderness. And it WAS. Every one who attended or watched received something so different, but for me, God showed me that all the things I want to see in myself, my family, my home, my writing, my LIFE, can only be achieved with one thing.
So simple is this truth that it feels absurd. Truly "the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." I have wanted to lead a powerful life, but have not, perhaps in my entire journey as a disciple of Jesus, ever loved Jesus. It feels uncomfortable and odd and foolish to even say that. I know that some who read this will not agree that there is power in it, but I truly believe, in my mind, that "God made foolish the wisdom of the world." I desperately desire for my heart to catch up.
Many facets of the many speakers spoke so loudly to me, but the one that keeps resonating and reverberating in my heart was from Shelly Giglio. She spoke from Psalm 84, verses 3 and 4 say this:
A term from my science studies of past was used, describing the sparrow as having a "cosmopolitan distribution," you can find them thriving on every continent. The only other animal with the same global representation? It's us. People. And much like the sparrow, many of us are plain, nothing flashy or attention getting in our very nature, yet God made a place for this bird not outside of his house, but near the altar. How much more does he have a place for US in his house? And I have sat in this emptiness thinking that I just can't "build my nest AND be near to alter of God" because of the daily busyness of life with littles. I think I need to do grand things, that I have to lead devotionals and pray arduously and fill every second of the day with God's goodness, but what I really need? To fill my own heart with a love of Jesus, a depth with God, and allow that to organically flow out in my home.
I don't have a plan for how this will happen, because no genuine relationship was ever built on a process or a plan. Instead I'm taking every day to remember Jesus, finding his love in the word, often just a small passage while my littles eat cereal and I stand at the counter over coffee. I'm choosing the Bible over Facebook, inspiring blogs over Instagram. I'm using different language to bring peace to sibling rivalry, expressing to them that they are each precious and made perfect in Jesus, how then can we choose not to forgive, not to love another? We've had some great talks already about what it means to be precious, and I'm finding that what comes out of my mouth about God, is formulating what I and what my family thinks about Him.
I have so much to unpack. Layers of baggage built up in my heart, layers of truth God spoke over me and my life and the power in this new Esther generation of women that we are. I will unravel it here, slowly, but mostly I will focus on Jesus. I will look at my children with mercy and grace, with less restriction and hard lines and more gentle guiding.
Your servant is listening.