IF: Gathering 2018 – Jennie Allens’ vulnerable confession of doubt

My woman’s group hosts an IF: Gathering each year where we join thousands of women across the world for a weekend of powerful speakers and calls to action (IF is a Christian conference, for more information click here.) This was my second year attending, and after the year of spiritual growth I’ve had, I honestly wasn’t sure if the messages would resonate with me in the same way they had in the past. I approached the weekend cautiously optimistic but with very real reservations.
Friday night we watched remotely as Jennie Allen, founder of IF:Gathering shared her personal struggle with 250,000 women worldwide. She asked us: “What is the darkness that comes against you that threaten the flame of your faith?”

Great Suffering and Great Love: The Tension of Faith

This may come as a surprise to no one- but I identify very strongly with Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet of the Christian Old Testament. I feel things- suffering specifically-so very deeply I am sometimes paralyzed. A simple conversation with my husband about gender roles and careers has had me sinking into a quick sand of thousands of years of patriarchy and “this is what we do to women” in a matter of minutes. And before he knows it I am sobbing for all the women of generations past with unrealized dreams because they were unfortunately born with the wrong sex organs. I can hear a sermon with only male gendered pronouns and find myself weeping for girls being sex trafficked in countries 1,000 of miles away- the connection so clear to me it pumps through my veins and leaves me exhausted from pain.

You Stepped Down into Darkness: Suffering & Psalm 44

This week my hometown community lost someone very special-my childhood pastor, my only pastor, really. A man who was exceedingly loving and kind and passionate. He devoted his life to his church and to his faith. His family was a pillar in the faith community. He was the type of father a fatherless daughter couldn’t help but envy.

When I finally allowed myself to feel the loss it came in waves. My sadness and heartbreak turned into confusion- How? How could this happen to someone who was so faithful? If anyone deserved healing it was this man. If any family deserved a miracle it was this family.

This loss came on the heels of a rather rough few weeks for me. You may have noticed I’ve missed a few scheduled posts. Been a little absent. A little off the radar. I’ve brushed it off as “being in a funk”  or “seasonal depression”- and that’s probably part of it. But underneath that is something more.