I have this habit of throwing myself into things headfirst, no holds barred, all-in. I sound my barbaric yawp, I suck the marrow out of life, I love with all the passion of my fiery, intense soul. The good news: I experience the very fullness of life. The bad news: I get hurt. And yet, somehow I keep going--my relentlessly optimistic spirit believes the best, always. I truly believe love wins. I believe the cost is worth the pain. I believe in doing brave, courageous things. And courage, perhaps, is the reason why I somehow found myself invited to join a gathering of women--women who long to see change, healing and transformation in our world. At first, I was totally freaked out. Charismatic, worship-y Jesus-women scare me silly. I don't know their songs. I don't speak their language. Texas-megachurch-Christianity make me jumpy. I mean, I'm Catholic! Also, I'm the woman who hides out in bathroom stalls during small group Bible Studies! Contemporary worship songs give me hives!
But I decided to go anyway because COURAGE.
And what I discovered was that stepping out from behind our computer screens, joining each other at the feast table, raising our glasses together, praying our prayers and smiling into the REAL, HUMAN eyes of other Christian women---well, our differences melted away and love won.
It has taken me over a month to process what I experienced among these women. What happened to me at IF was that I was loved. I was embraced. I was welcomed. My voice was affirmed, my questions were considered important.
At the banquet table, our shared love of Jesus united us.
Best of all, what happened among our small group of women can happen on a larger scale. Like I said, it has taken me more than a month to figure out what God was trying to say to my soul, but here it is:
I believe the next revival in the Church will be led by women.
We are tired of doctrinal warfare. We are tired of division. We believe in love and reconciliation. We desire inclusion, not exclusion. We believe in scandalous grace. We believe love wins.
I will be joining the IF:Gathering in Austin to help facilitate this developing conversation. The Austin event is already sold out, but I would LOVE to see you, my readers, join us by gathering locally where YOU are. I especially want to invite fellow Catholic & Orthodox women to join us--we need your voices! If you're interested, please check out the IF: Local signup.