That Time I Ran A Conference

there are two things that I know and God is teaching me so strongly right now.

one: God isn't found in my comfort zone. Faith and all the good things that Jesus died for is not found in my safe, secure, comfortable life

two. blessing often comes after obedience. 

this past fall, I read a book called Anything by Jennie Allen. It changed my life. She asks the question "if God is really real, if God isn't a fairytale and heaven and hell is real and Jesus really died to set us free then what..." we would do anything and go anywhere with Jesus. I started believing this and praying this to a whole new level. I prayed the same prayer for a couple weeks, "Jesus I'll do anything for you." Then one night while feeding Jackson in the early hours of the morning the Holy Spirit spoke so clearly to my heart and told me to run a teenage girls conference and just talk about the real stuff with them. It was such a clear specific word.

After texting some of my best girlfriends about it, I found out that God had told my sweet friend Steph the same thing (how cool is our God!) and after connecting with some more friends it was clear that God was up to something, stirring our hearts and asking us to step out in faith. None of us had run a conference before, let alone on purity but we wanted to be faithful in what God was asking us to do.

With so much prayer, we started stepping out in faith and just doing the thing. It was costly for me to do this conference. The amount of hours I spent researching how to make a website, to praying for these girls, to organizing all the details of venues and topics, to writing my talk where I shared openly about my struggles was hard, scary and just a lot of work. I was so scared no one would show up and just scared that this wouldn't be received well. I questioned a few times if we all heard God clearly but it was always reassured that we need to be obedient in what He asks of us.

The conference happened last weekend. 29 girls showed up. It was amazing. We worshiped together and talked about sex and relationships. We prayed with the girls and ate delicious pancakes. We didn't go into debt and God provided financially with so many people believing in these teen girls and wanting to help or donate. God showed up. Not in any huge mountain top way but in blessing our obedience. I had so many good conversations, real conversations of girls sharing their hearts and their struggles when it comes to purity and just life.

And I got to share my heart. I am so beyond passionate to be available to love on these teen girls and just walk through life with them, not judging them but coming alongside them as there cheerleader and prayer warrior. In my many years of working with youth I know that many Christian girls don't think sex is a big deal and girls are struggling trying to figure out purity in such a messed up world. High school was so hard for me and as a believer going to heaven, I struggled a lot. I got to talk about porn and masterbation and boys and being defined by sin instead of being defined by God. I got to talk about how sometimes we live saved but stuck in our sin and shame letting it define who we are instead of letting Christ define us. And I challenged these girls that if they want to be defined by God they have to know what He says about them, and how can they when they don't know what His word says, when they don't read their bibles. It was so good. I felt the Lord speaking through me despite the awkwardness of these topics and the vulnerability I had to bring.

But again, obedience brings blessing. 

In no way am I saying I am a good Christian (there really is no such thing anyways) or I did this perfectly. I am the first to admit out loud that I am so messed up, saved by grace and I need the cross every day. But God did ask me to do something, and despite the cost I did it and wow, I met God. I needed God and He showed up. I drew near to Him and he drew near back. I actually had to practice faith and go outside of my comfort zone and when I was out there in the unknown, God was thick and real and tangible. 

Since the conference I now have some girls I am texting and praying over and asking God "now what" with big God dreams in my head. How can I love on and cheer on the next generation of teenage girls? What else Lord? I am willing despite the cost.

Are there areas of your life where you are living comfortably? I challenge you to pray "anything, Lord, I'll do anything you for you" and see where He leads. I'm sure it will be out of your comfort zone but I can promise you through God's word that He is the best and more than enough. You will find the good things of Jesus and get to experience the blessings God so wants to give His children if we would just trust Him and step out.

I'm cheering you on! Let's go after the good things of Jesus, let's get uncomfortable for the sake of Jesus.

ps. if you want more info on our conference that my sweet friends and I ran check out our website here: elmira girls conference

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