So the IF: Emmaus Denver retreat was amazing! To give you a little background, the IF:Gathering is a conference, retreat-like, gathering in Austin, Texas. Their dream and mission is to be a group of women around the state, country, and globe that gather wherever you are and refocus on what believing in a holy God can do in your life. You can apply to be a host of an event, so one of the sweet girls at our church took the initiative to plan this whole weekend! We streamed the messages from Austin and were able to be apart of something bigger than just our little group of 21. We tucked away into the mountains in Cordierra, Colorado in an amazing, beautiful, just perfect mountain house that a friend so graciously let our group use for the weekend!
Here are just a few of the tidbits of truth, encouragement, and reminders that were bestowed upon us by some of the IF: Gathering speakers!
- He has chosen us to be exactly where we are in this season.
- The Lord’s hold on us is stronger than our hold on Him, and he has no intention of letting go!
- God does good and sacred things around a table.
- “You are working for our good. Even in the valley, you are faithful.” – music
- Don't wait until you have full possession of knowledge to take full possession of God.
- God is higher than us. Amen!
- Set us free for freedom’s sake.
- Give your heart permission to trust Him.
- It’s safe to be faithful to a faithful God.
- Be strong and courageous.
- Our God is a God of “I am”.
- We are unhealthily attached to the sins of our past. Leave it at the cross! It is time to move on!
- Be willing to be a servant and an aid. Serving prepares you for what God has already prepped you for. Service is the key to destiny.
- The call of God is inconvenient. We will be interrupted.
- The Holy Spirit is a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind.
- We need to be a generation that knows, loves, and breathes the word of God.
I had two real reasons for wanting to go to this retreat this weekend: 1) Spend time in God's word and get some sweet, everyday life type of reminders of what it looks like to live a life centered around what Christ has done for us and who he calls us to be and 2) get to know the women at my new church home!
1. As for the first and most important reasons I was drawn to this retreat, we did not truly “dig” into God’s word this weekend through the actual IF:Gathering teachings and messages. This retreat is more geared towards empowering women, lighting a fire in women to live a life for the Lord, and really just providing some motivation for women because let's face it -- life is hard. Like really hard sometimes! I think at this stage in my walk with the Lord – I am really more interested in truly “digging” and “unpacking” God’s word and learning the historical context, the theological and academic side to the scriptures, and really studying the bible. Now I realize that this sounds more like a bible study or school like setting but hey that is okay! It is such a relief to say what you are looking for and just be confident in that. I know that that isn’t where everyone is at and I so appreciate that but that is what I am most looking for. Also – we did get to spend some time in small groups this weekend just talking through some of the ideas or topics that the speakers brought up which was so refreshing and really challenging to think through! So overall – the IF:Gathering is like most Christian conferences in the fact that it is pretty “over produced” and there were some not so authentic “emotional” speeches made BUT the Lord did show up and He wove together so many women’s hearts, grasped hold of hearts and changed lives, and also provided some great real life application of His word through some amazing speakers. On a side note, our favorite speakers were by far: Jen Hatmaker, Christine Caine, and Bianca Olthoff.
2. As for the second reasons I wanted to go on this retreat, I definitely got to spend some quality time with a lot of the sweet, sweet women at our church home! Wow – I was just so blown away after moving to Denver just 6 weeks ago and how open and accepting everyone is here. As our pastor’s wife says, “she hasn't met her friend quota yet.” Haha I just love that saying! I mean A. I don't think I could ever meet my friend quota, but B. What a refreshing reminder that we all have room in our hearts for another friend! We spent time talking, cooking delicious meals together, playing spoons, sharing testimonies, staying up late, getting in the hot tub, going into town to explore, going snow-shoeing, drinking lots of coffee and tea, praying, and laughing! I am just so thankful to be able to move from Fort Worth to Denver and already have such a strong community around me and women that I can trust to hold me accountable, encourage me, and do life with me. And I can also do all these things for them. I just could not have imagined a better weekend! God works all things for His good and His glory and this weekend was definitely one of them! He put all the right people there at the right time and just let all these relationships grow. Amen to that girls! AMEN!
Love in Christ -