The previous weeks had contained so much conflict…. dozens of influential women were on their way to Austin because I had invited them. And who am I to do such a thing? I’ve felt fear ya’ll…. at least I thought I had. But this day…
The fear was so thick.
When some of the women you most respect on earth have paid their way and given up 3 days of their lives and aren’t really sure why they are coming and you, as their host, aren’t 100% sure why they are coming…. fear suffocates you. This was a diverse gathering of people who love Jesus, stuck together in a private retreat for 3 days. Leaders from every kind of background, denomination, race, theological bent … some enemies. Every woman strong, opinionated, tremendously gifted and successful.
Ann and a few other dear friends came in early and spent the night with me the night before, we thought because of flight schedules but actually it was because God knew I needed them.
Ann and I loaded the car to drive the hour to the place that I thought maybe (hoped desperately) God had summoned us all. The drive was… well she and I didn’t speak. We didn’t tell each other we weren’t going to speak. We just didn’t. Songs about Jesus fell into the silence and we wept and we sang and we lifted trembling hands at stoplights. Not one word was spoken but the name of Jesus.
And then we were there and then they were all there. As I greeted them I looked into their eyes. I could see the doubt they had in me, in this, and I didn’t blame them. In their eyes…
Why are we here? There needs to be a good reason, Jennie, for us to pay so much in fear and time and money.
The tension was so thick.
They began to take their seats and I pulled away just before we began… Ann happened to be the only one there again. We didn’t speak again. We looked at each other in the eyes, the fear we both felt sat there in the quiet. I looked at my stupid notes, as if you can prepare for moments like this. My words were so flat. I closed my eyes. I felt no God.
I begged him one last time…
You had better show up. I brought them here because you told me to do it. If you don’t come…. you have to come.
I took my spot. And then….
He came. We all watched as He tore down the walls, the fears, the insecurities, the camps, the tensions, the hurts, the doubts, the ambitions, the agendas. He tore away our names and our bios and our accomplishments and our failures.We all felt unimaginably small and we all wanted God more than any other aspiration we may have previously held.
And He gave us Himself and He gave us each other and He gave us a dream.
He let us taste heaven- every knee bowed. One Name held high. Every heart that loves Him united.
And all of the sudden… all but God and forever felt stupid and tiny and like a possible waste of our lives.
And God was so thick it was difficult to breathe.
We took the cup and the bread… we washed each others’ hands and Ann and I looked in each others eyes from across the room, we shook our heads at our small faith, and I closed my eyes that night and swore to God, “no more…”
No more small faith.
No more small fights.
No more small prayers.
No more small dreams.
No more small God.
IF wasn’t my “idea.” I didn’t have big faith. I doubted He was real, that He could blow into a place, that He could issue visions, that He could move in massive ways that could change us, change the church, change the world.
IF God is real though… couldn’t He?
Couldn’t He call the very most unlikely to gather a generation, to unite his daughters, under His name, on His mission for our minute here.
We are feeling brave enough to find out.