Sometime in the past 20 or so years I have become old enough (chronologically anyway) to be called a “mentor”. I have no idea when or how it happened but apparently it is here.
I am keenly aware that in order to be effective in this place, I must always keep learning.
At one time I heard a group of women in their thirties and forties refer to my generation as the one “above us”. While that may make sense because our age is a higher number, it couldn’t be further from the truth in life. I do not want to be above you dear one and I do not want you below me.
There are two places I want to be, across from you and beside you.
My eyes want to take in the depth of your expressions. I want to witness your tears with your voice cracking. When every shred of hope has been drained from you heart I want to speak life into the empty spaces. I want to be “Jesus with skin on”.
First, I need to love Jesus. My first job is to abide in Him because while He abides in me. (Thank you Sarah Bessey for the reminder!)
I must stay attached to the vine to grow and flourish and give shade to you my young friend. When the heat from the world has left you parched from being exposed, I want to know His words so deeply that they flow naturally from my soul to yours.
I must be full of grace all the way to my bones where the life giving marrow resides. As His grace showers freedom over me I see the new life He births through me. In this we become life givers who speak into hearts with love and live and grace.
In this, can we stop “doing church” and start “doing life” with each other? Even better, let’s “do love” together. Let’s start being the church. Isn’t that what we are called to into anyway?
Let us stop carrying the banner of the name on our buildings and step under His banner.
His banner over me is LOVE.
The parables Jesus gave about the lost coin and the lost sheep pressed in on me today. Very few of us are going to find the lost in our midst. The programs of my generation, designed to bring the lost to us have missed the mark in this, it has made us comfortable to leave the lost…well, lost.
We’ve left those who need Jesus most out in the cold as we cozy up in our comfortable pews or padded chairs. We speak of their need without using what we have to fulfill it. As Jen Hatmaker puts it, we are “serving saved people and blessing blessed people”.
I have kept my eye for far too long on the ministries I have felt shut out of.
I am so done.
Today was the long awaited weekend of the beautiful IF:Gathering in Austin Texas with countless IF:Local gatherings tuning in around the world. The long anticipated event trended on Twitter, filled Facebook walls and blew up Instagram from churches to homes to coffee shops.
I wanted to attend our local gathering but I wasn’t feeling well enough to make it so I watched from my bed. Poor Russ, I kept making him sit down with me, “Listen! You have to hear this one.” (I may or may not have done that about six times.) Because, I mean…this was anointed stuff my friends. This is the real deal and the beauty of God’s love being preached with passion and truth.
This is only the beginning.
What many who have been looking forward to this may not realize is this, there is another group of women waiting in the wings, ready to lift up this generation. We have been standing behind you in prayer and are ready to walk beside you into the next phase of this amazing journey.
Many of us have passed through stages of life you find yourselves now. Some of us wish we knew then what you know now. There are those of us who are bursting through the barriers we’ve believed to be impenetrable for so long have your voices to thank.
Then there are those like me who have prayed for a safe place for our daughters to live out their faith. You are helping to shape a world we have dreamed of but felt helpless to create.
At the time of this writing there are close to two hundred “IF Mentors” on Facebook. We have been praying about our part, sharing our journeys and encouraging each other to love well, to be available and to be ready when needed.
Here we are, ready for the next phase. Jennie Allen tells us there is more to anticipate coming soon. You can be sure we are ready and willing, only God can make us able.
Let’s do this thing,
PS For my readers who have wandered in and do not know what this “IF” thing is all about, check it out HERE.