What IF?

IF:Gathering 2018 / TiffanyAOlson.com

IF 2018 … umm I think my hair has finally reached … too blonde

Hello Friends! This past weekend was an event called IF:Gathering. The live conference for the past 5 years has been held in Austin, Texas in a venue that holds about 2500 people. They keep it small on purpose and then do a live feed via the internet so women all over the world can gather in their spaces. The smaller venues are called IF:Locals and the purpose is to Gather with the people you are already doing life with. To grow closer to Jesus together rather than leave the area to go have your own experience and then come home.

This year’s Gathering was based on the book of 2 Timothy and the focus was discipleship. 50 women from our church got together. We stepped out of our comfort zones a wee bit, made new friends while we were also reminded to continue to invest in the lives of those we already know.

Discipleship is a very “Christiany” word. It feels lofty and sacred and not much like something I can do. But when I break it down, it means to hang with people. Walk through life with them. Show up. Pray. Answer questions or find the answers together. For me, during this season of my life, the people I am “hanging” with are my kids and their friends. We are in the thick of the teen/tween phase of life and what better people to show up for than the ones that live under my roof and their buddies who eat out of my fridge?

My girlfriends and I have been bemoaning lately how little time there is to get away together. There are 16 children between us ranging in ages from 21 down to 11. Finding a weekend where everyone is open is proving to be an impossible task. We have begun to get creative at staying in touch with each other and are excited for the day when it will actually come together. The truth is though I am loving this season of life with my kids. I love driving them around in the afternoons and hearing about their day and what happened at school. I love dance recitals and baseball games. I have a captive audience in the car for several hours each and every day. We laugh and cry and talk about God, friends, hopes, dreams, and disappointments. We sing to the songs on the radio and we pray as we drive to school. I have added some extra kiddos to my driving routine in the last year and now I am getting to learn about their lives and aspirations as well.

Discipleship isn’t lofty and weird, it’s taking the time to invest in another person’s life for a very long time. My kids and their friends are going to grow up and move on in several years. My hope is that the time I have intentionally spent with them will impact them forever. I hope they will not be afraid to ask hard questions of themselves and others because they had a safe place to ask them when they were young. I hope they step out and love others because they know how much they are loved.

I have wrestled for a while now about the direction of my life and if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I struggle with feeling like I should be doing more or be more. What I am realizing is that I am right where I want to be. I have 7 years left of kids at home and I don’t want to miss it. I don’t need to be at every class party or field trip but I want to be at the games and recitals. I want to drive them around and help them process the events of their day. I want to grow and learn together so they know that they always have a soft place to land.

What IF, you showed up for the people in your life who are already there? I stepped out this weekend, I showed up in the middle of the church I have been attending for the last 10 years. It wasn’t glamorous. It was food prep. In the midst of stepping out, I was reminded that the best people for me to “disciple” in this season are the people under my roof. It’s not fancy or flashy but my prayer is that this life we are living together will one day change the world.

Have A Beautiful Day My Friends!

 

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