It’s Friday morning.

One week ago today, Friday morning found me sitting on a porch in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Alongside the rest of the gIRL team, I sat working on last minute details, trying to calm the butterflies in my stomach as I thought about the group of women we would welcome that afternoon to our first gIRL Gathering…many of whom we’d never met.

We’d been praying for this group of women, by name, since they registered, and for the weekend as a whole, for months. As the gathering date approached, the enemy was unbeLIEVably active in ways we never saw coming. But the Lord was MORE active, affirming us in incredible ways, and urging us on to a work that was much bigger than we could handle on our own; HIS work that required faith in HIS strength alone.

We knew just a few things for sure, as we sat on that porch:

  • There would be 25 women, if everyone came.
  • We would all be housed under one roof.
  • We would not listen to one keynote speaker, but work through discussion questions in small groups, keeping our focus on the Lord and His Word, alone.
  • We would be talking, in depth, about authenticity.
  • We would present this weekend in the way He had orchestrated it (and trust me when I tell you that everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – was changed from the way we first imagined it to the way He wanted it)

Beyond that, it was as if we were coming as attendees; we were unsure of how God would move and what it would look like, but we were EXPECTANT.

God did not disappoint.

As I sit in my home a week later, these are the things I’m pondering in my heart:

  • All 25 women came.
  • With only 25 women under one roof, everyone talked with everyone. There was no one excluded and it felt like family.

  • The group, as a whole, and in our small groups, dug deep in the Word together. We shared ideas, and asked questions, and found a safe place to dare the release of our authentic selves.
  • In the embrace of authenticity, we watched as God did the miraculous, working through our stories – our messes – to minister to each other.

  • There were gIRLs praying for and with one another everywhere you looked.
  • There was the sweet sound of praise lifted up through God’s creation.

  • There were gIRLs setting themselves apart with their God.

  • There was sweet camaraderie, cleansing laughter and tears, and the name of the Lord lifted HIGH.

Months ago, as Mary and I were prayerfully imagining a gathering, we had written characteristics on a piece of paper.

Mary said, “What we’ve got here sounds like the Early Church.”

Indeed, it did.

The Lord, by way of saying “you’ve got the right idea,” sent us into a study of Acts 2:42-47.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

I dare say that we each carried the glow of His glory as we came down from the mountain. The “early church” experience that met us there is something we can pass on in our spheres of influence. Each of us, living authentically and sharing our lives with others, helps build authentic community and strengthen the body of Christ. And what started between a small group of women on a mountain, could, in the hands of God, change the world.

*missing three gIRLs in this photo! :o(
**pictures courtesy of Susan Hood, Leah Adams & Mary Snyder

To find the links to other posts about the gathering,
check this post on the gIRL Blog. We’re planning the next Gathering for Spring of 2011. Will you consider joining us?