From our team: It was a joy to see how God used the Revive ’17 conference in Indianapolis this past weekend, as 2,900 women joined together to worship Christ and study Titus 2 together. The grace of God, shown through the incredible honesty of the speakers and the humble responses of the attendees to the Holy Spirit, was so visible. We wanted to give you a taste of the event, so we asked our friend Kelly Needham to share her experience of attending this year. (If you missed the messages, you can watch them here until October 14. And keep your eyes out for our new small group study on Titus 2 and living out the beauty of the gospel together—available to order next month!)
Surprisingly, I didn’t need the infamous package of tissues in my Revive Our Hearts tote until after this year’s conference was over. For our group of twelve women, two days packed with worship, teaching, and prayer meant we needed to debrief! After a laughter-filled dinner, we headed back to our hotel to do what we do every year after the conference: share what God was speaking to our hearts over the weekend and pray for one another.
Our group this year ranged from college students to empty nesters. Each person took a turn to share—some through tears of joy and others through tears of sorrow—the many workings of God in our lives over the weekend.
Young moms shared the grief of having put husbands on the back burner; older moms spoke words of encouragement that only painful hindsight can produce. College students shared the heaviness and anxiety of not knowing what to do or how to live; middle-aged women shared that they still don’t have it figured out, but they are learning to trust God amidst the myriad of uncertainties that still exist in their lives. By the end of the night, we were united in our weakness. What sweet peace to look around and see how helpless and dependent on God every one of us is! It is a fresh reminder that neediness is not the wrong address after all.
When most of us picture mentorship, we often imagine an older woman with her life put together teaching the inexperienced young women how to do it all right. Maybe this is why it’s hard for us to reach across the aisle and lean into these friendships. We’re expecting the wrong things from them.
Young women fail to find that older woman offering a step-by-step plan to solve all of life’s problems, and older women stop offering themselves because they know their own problems so well. In our disappointment, we keep to ourselves.
But as Susan Hunt so beautifully reminded us this weekend, modeling weakness, not strength, is the goal. In our weakness, God’s strength is perfected. In our weakness, we’re forced to our knees. We don’t need to learn how to eradicate our weakness but how to trust God in our weakness.
That means, older women, the only requirement you need to help us younger women is your weakness and your trust in God. We need to see you live in your weakness so we know how to live in ours.
I think we all hope that next year we’ll finally figure it out. We’ll finally have it all together, living in perfect balance and not sinning so much. So instead of waiting on the Lord, we wait on the next season hoping it will solve our problems. That’s why hearing the struggles of an older sister can shock us into reality. It can expose the lie that our insecurities, struggles, and sin don’t go away with age. It can shake us free from the assumption that the goal is to become less desperate on Jesus.
We need each other. We need to break out of our lane and build friendships with women who are in different seasons. But to do that we need to change our expectations. We aren’t chasing a life free from weakness but rather a God-dependent life within our weakness. It’s not what we want, but it’s what we need.
The Gospel: A Message of Weak People with a Strong God
I was so grateful for the way every message this weekend came back to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is not a self-improvement message. It doesn’t tell us how to clean ourselves up to be good. Instead it tells us no one is good, not even one. It reminds us there’s only one way to come to the Father, and it has nothing to do with our attempts at goodness. Jesus and His Spirit alone can produce the fruit we need.
Older women, we need you to let us see you trusting God in your weakness. We need you to remind us we aren’t going to figure it out in this life. Younger women, we need to stop looking to our older sisters for quick and easy fixes to problems.
Let all of us teach what accords with sound doctrine—that the gospel doesn’t give us self-sufficient strategies for a better life, but there is the all-sufficient Christ who has accomplished the work for us. Our job is to cultivate dependence on Him in the midst of our weaknesses, struggles, and unanswered questions. May we live out the gospel of Jesus as we walk alongside one another.