I had the incredible opportunity this weekend to attend IF:Gathering via simulcast (I love the internet!) I agreed to attend so that I could escape the daily grind of motherhood, hoping for just enough refreshment to face another tumultuous week of potty training. I chose to walk in with no expectations and take it in as it came. What I walked out with was a heart and head filled to the brim with encouragement from women I admire. I walked away with a challenge to be bold and courageous in my faith, even when it’s only the size of a mustard seed. I was challenged to really believe that my God is who he says he is. Just. Loving. Powerful. For me. With me.
I was challenged to repent of my secret sins: the impatience, pride, and jealousy… the fear. Unrepentant hearts keep us from God’s will. We become so callused to the “small sins” that we allow those things to become the status quo. Then, we believe we don’t need to repent of those things. After all, they’re only feelings. But God sees our hearts. God made our hearts. He made our hearts to be without sin. Sin is like rust. Just a tiny spec doesn’t seem like much, but it grows without notice, eating it’s way to the heart of the metal until the integrity of the steel is so compromised it will eventually crumble into ruin. Rust can prevent things from working long before they are destroyed entirely. Confession and repentance allow God to remove the rust of sin from our hearts so that we can draw near to him and hear his call. Like the carpenter doesn’t use rusty tools, neither does God use unrepentant hearts.
Every woman that spoke stood up and talked about courage and faith. It was powerful and provocative. Christine Cain said it well: “I am not fearless, I am faithful.” Faith is simply a choice to believe that God is who he says he is. It’s not supernatural, but it’s an invitation for God to do the supernatural.
The way IF:Gathering was closed was so powerful. Each person in the live audience was given a stone. An Ebeneezer. And just like Joshua and the Israelites stacked stones on the other side of the parted Jordan to mark what God had done for them, the women of IF stacked over 2000 stones inscribed with the next step of faith they would make. Stones to mark God’s faithfulness.