And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14
Last weekend, February 5 & 6, I was able to go to the If Gathering and I am so thankful I was given the opportunity. The tickets sell out extremely fast for the live Gathering in Austin, TX and I was only able to get one. In addition, there are also If Locals throughout the world that I was able to go to last year and I really enjoyed that as well. If you have a chance next year (it is always the first weekend in February), I strongly suggest going to an If Local.
I can’t possibly even start with a recap for how incredibly amazing the entire weekend was. The entire weekend was spent going through John with four sessions of speakers. There was live worship from Christy Nickels, Layla De La Garza, Andrews Lage, Tann Smith and B. David Stevens. They did an amazing job of keeping everyone energized and on their feet.
The speakers though, oh my goodness, the speakers. They were i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e! It was just one amazing talk after another. I am still trying to process what happened this weekend. Jo Saxton, Jennie Allen, Ann Voskamp and Communion were all Friday night, in addition to some other fabulous speakers such as Jeanne Stevens, Biana Olthoff, and Lauren Chandler. Everyone’s talks worked so cohesively together. Eugene Cho spoke Friday night and I had never heard of his book but now it is on my need to read list! Friday night it took a while to get to bed as I was trying to process everything that had been said and we had been doing. Throughout the talks we had times when we got into groups and answered discussion questions about Jesus and who He was to us, How we see Him etc. It helped to provide practical application of Scripture and what we were hearing.
On Saturday morning we got right into it and heard some an amazing group talk with Rebekah Lyons, Esther Havens (her photography is incredible!), Margaret Feinberg, Vivian Mabuni. One of the most touching moments was learning more about International Justice Mission. They have the 4 R’s of Rescue, Restore, Restrain and Repair. They are truly doing work for the Kingdom of Heaven and while it broke my heart hearing about it, it was incredibly the work they are doing.
We then heard from Jen Hatmaker, who is as real as they come. If you have not read her book, For the Love, I highly suggest reading it. One of the blessings of the afternoon session was Angie Smith speaking. She was real and raw and wasn’t supposed to speak and then she did last minute. And it was amazing. David Platt spoke last. His talk was something I am still trying to process. He gave us three things to remember, 1- Recognize the unique place where God has put me, Realize what is at stake in the lives of those around us and 3- Remember the simple purpose God has given us.
The whole conference was amazing, absolutely incredibly. I think one of my favorite things about it was the fact that it was women from many different backgrounds, circumstances, life stages, everything. The speakers were single, mothers, married with no kids, older and younger. They did not just have ‘one type’ speaking but were all inclusive of where you were in your life along with others. Their talks did not focus on just one stage such as motherhood, or single adults, but the talks went throughout all ages and stages. There were teenagers through grandparents present and it was absolutely wonderful.
If you are interested I highly encourage you to check our their website. There is also IF:Equip which is weekday Bible reading plan with a piece of scripture and then some thoughts to ponder. It is the same women who put on the IF:Gathering and the God given talent they have to share scripture and encourage is highly evident.