it’s time: a movement for our generation

This may be only the second time in over 7 years that I have posted twice in one day. But I really wanted to get this post up tonight, partly because I’m tired of writing it and re-writing it in my head and partly because I just can’t wait any longer to join in. This post, to me, feels incomplete. But maybe that’s the point – and also this is what happens when I write at night. Fair warning.

November 2011 through January 2012 was a delicate time for my family. John was on sabbatical, which for us at the time was the polite way of saying if your husband doesn’t stop doing ministry for a few months, he’s going to burn out and it is going to get ugly.

gather

We closed ourselves in for a time and allowed our souls the space they needed to settle into the shape for which they were made.

It was during that time I read Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. As I read her words, I realized that even though she wrote in my language, her words were in some way foreign to me. One concept she introduced me to was the breathing prayer.

“The breath prayer . . . does not come primarily from the mind, which is where most of our words come from; the breath prayer arises from the depths of our desire and need. It is powerful because it is an expression of our heart’s deepest yearning coupled with the name for God that is most meaningful and intimate for us at this time.”

After reading her words, I spent time in silence to discover my own breath prayer for that time in my life. I took the name of Lord Jesus and coupled it with words from a prayer by Ted Loder, words that were especially meaningful to me during that tender time of our lives. And so I began to pray these simple words:

Lord Jesus, Gather me now to be with You.

Whatever that means for this moment. Whatever that means for my life. Gather me now to be with You in my anxiety, in my happiness, in my fretfulness, in my vocation.

Gather me now to be with you.

Last year, that prayer was deeply private for me. It still is. But I believe the Lord is in the process of smoothing another layer of that word upon my soul.

Gather.

But now, not just gather me.

Gather us.

***

This word came up again when I heard from Jennie Allen a few months ago. Years ago, she had a vision – a deep in her bones desire to gather and equip our generation. She hasn’t been able to shake it. She hasn’t wanted to shake it. You can read her tell it on her blog.

It seems that desires that come from the heart of God are a fire to warm the whole Church, not just one person. This vision – to gather and equip a generation – is beginning to have skin.

You can read more about the details here, but the simple truth is it starts now, with you and with me, breathing in Lord Jesus and breathing out Gather us now to be with you.

Christ in me is the most powerful and miraculous reality that exists in the universe. And so is Christ in you.

If you are made in the image of God, what does that mean for your family, your community, and the world?

If Christ lives within you, how might he want to come out? 

If God is real, then what?

These are some of my questions. You can read more questions here and here and here. You have questions, too.

Some gatherings don’t happen in person. Some are a gathering of like-mindedness and vision and a linked-arm agreement that God came down to come in. And now he wants to come out. Of you and of me, the Church. What might that look like for you personally and for us collectively?

We want to talk about these things, in person, online, in prayer.

We want to talk in our living rooms and our classrooms and our kitchens. We want to talk on stages and in pulpits and on the park benches while we watch our kids play. We want to talk about them with you in Austin, Texas on February 7 -8, 2014 – to ask questions and wrestle and to do it together.

And then we want to stop talking and we want to move. That statement terrifies me. But let’s move anyway. Let’s move into the lives of those around us as the women we fully are – awake and alive, equipped and armed with the Gospel. Let’s take the time to accept the shape of our souls and then have the courage to share it with others.

IF

I’m joining in. What about you? To learn more, visit IF:Gathering.

Lord Jesus, Gather us to be with you.

Comments

  1. says

    When I read the first post today (I read Jen Hatmaker’s first), I was super interested – this sounded like something I could definitely be on board with. But as I’ve continued to read several more posts filled with passion and vision and a deep longing for more of Him and a strong desire to arm together to serve Him, I just can’t hardly contain my excitement. I’m not just interested, I definitely WANT IN! I’m just so excited to see how the Lord continues to move in this!! February seems so far away!
    Emily G.´s last blog post ..Graffiti Summer: Broken for Others

  2. says

    “But let’s move anyway.”
    Really beautiful, Emily, the way you share. I suspect it feels vulnerable to share your breath prayer. Or maybe not. But to me it feels brave and wonderful and like you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.

  3. says

    When we are gathered close to Him, we can give our lives away. That is my word, this year, from the Lord. I’m focussing on giving my life away through serving in ministry. The more time that passes causes me to realize that when I give my life, I’m really giving His. Together we can touch so many more. Through word or deed He can use us. I like the concept of gathering. Thanks for sharing.
    Jennifer´s last blog post ..Spiritual Sponsors…

  4. says

    Oh Emily, when I saw this yesterday on Jen and Jennie’s blogs I signed up immediately. I am SOOO happy you are a part of this, too. Excited for what God is and will continue doing.

  5. Mindy Seekford says

    It is so good to read this! I felt a stirring in 2011 to be woke up by God. I foud myself face down praying for God to wake me up, wake up my family, and the Body of Christ as a whole. I have seen God move in my life and in the live of my family and community. God woke me up and moved me, and I still feel a pull for this very thing you wrote about! I’m in. If for some reason I can’t make it, I’ll be covering it in prayer. What an awing thing to see and hear others talk about something that God places on my heart. He is calling us, moving us, uniting us. Oh praise be to our Father God!!! He is alive in us. Praise Emmanuel!!!

  6. Sarah Schulz says

    Emily–this sounds wonderful, but what about those of us who aren’t there yet? Who have just finally arrived at “Christ in us” after 20 years of seeking him and prayer and trying to be good? Who can barely open up to our spouses or blog readers, never mind the rest of the world?

    I’ve just begun questioning what my witness is, since being good and loving others (in self-erasing ways mostly) and even working to be able to talk about Christ did not work? I think it’s going to be a while before I know. I think I need time. I hope I can find people to wait with… so I don’t end up striving once again.

    • says

      Sarah, these are just my own personal questions – of Christ in me and you and what that might look like. But you bring your own questions and other bring theirs. We are, all of us, on our own journeys.

      I can’t say for sure, but we could the people for you to wait with. Being good will never, ever work. And as you continue to uncover that, I hope you’ll find your people – this gathering and equipping is for the waiters, the movers, the listeners and the in-betweeners.

      • Sarah Schulz says

        Thank you for your gracious response; I think I posted out of fear, before. It’s a slow journey at times, but I’m so glad I’m on it, now. (And grateful for your book, which has been incredibly helpful.)

  7. says

    With Healing In His Wings

    “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. Malachi 4:2

    Gather me under your wing, Oh God
    Like a hen with her young
    Hold me close so I can hear
    Comforting words you’ve sung
    Like a shepherd with a lamb
    Or a child on your knee
    Hold me in the palm of your hand
    Help me cleave to Thee
    Reassemble me

    Reassemble me
    That I might resemble You
    Grant me a new heart
    Take away the old
    Try me in the furnace
    That I might shine like gold
    So others see Your glory
    Within me here reflected
    Hopeful for the day
    When my faith will be perfected
    Forever joyful at Your feet

  8. says

    I am reading this with chills down my spine and tears in my eyes. My husband just yesterday made a bold move-we have realized that we are being compelled to a different kind of ministry. It’s vague. It’s undefined. But we know we must move anyway. Our hearts are yearning for something fresh and new for a new generation of young parents, young families. And we have no idea what that means but we know that gathering us all together is at the heart-gathering closer to Jesus and gathering closer together in community.

    At any rate-we’re scared but at peace.

    And your braveness to just move anyway inspires me. Thank you.
    Gina´s last blog post ..the summer house

  9. says

    I am so excited (and intimidated–in a good way) by this! (I read Jen’s post yesterday with a huge WHOO-HOO shouting in my head. :) (And the breath prayer–I need that–thanks for sharing.)
    Gini´s last blog post ..Photos of Photos

  10. says

    I’m working through Priscilla Shirer’s “Gideon” study right now, and yesterday’s focus was on our identity as God defines it. So reading this…

    What if it is true that God has equipped and called me for a specific purpose, in this time, this place?

    What if it is true that He thought of me, chose me, before He even made the world?

    What if He really wants to be with me? Just hang out? What if it’s a good thing that I just want to sit and be quiet with Him? That I ache to see His face?

    Questions, deep questions.
    Marie´s last blog post ..A Reminder

  11. says

    “If God is real, then what?”
    yes.yes.and yes! a question churning inside me so long – so what? now what?
    there’s gotta be more than the hallowness, shallowness i so often feel in my christian life.
    ann voskamp’s post today struck a chord along these lines with me too~

    so excited to link arms with my sisters in Christ and see what He can do.
    i’m in!
    amber´s last blog post ..Thursday, June 20, 2013

  12. says

    This is rich and exciting and scary, too. I’m wondering if there is space for generations other than yours or if this gathering is purposefully age-specific? Praying and encouraging I can surely do, but I and others can also offer stories and experiences (and a few of us even do spiritual direction) and hands-on blessing and anointing, too. Wonderful to see the wide swath of names from across the spectrum, too.
    Diana Trautwein´s last blog post ..The Widow’s Portion: a Story of Faithfulness

  13. says

    Praise the Lord the time for your generation to gather is NOW! As soon as I read this moving post, the Lord spoke, telling me to “tell Emily about CART so there is equal access communication for everyone woman who longs to take part in this beautiful movement. This is a link for CART and explain everything.

    http://deafness.about.com/cs/cart/a/cart.htm

    Jesus has been my Savior since 1977. In 1986 I suddenly became “late deafened”. Meaning I became deaf after learning speech and being part of the hearing world. I was 39. My children were only 5, 10, 12 and without going into details here, Jesus became Lord of my life as well as my Savior from then on. I never knew about CART until several years ago and as is true in all fields technology has moved rapidly over the years. Please read about CART in this link and offer this in Austin. I have a heart for the Lord and for “late deafened” individuals who also share my heart, no matter what generation, but who cannot be part of functions because of hearing loss. I will, of course, being praying for this movement, praying for Austin and praying that every Dear/deaf individual who wants to join you in Austin will have the opportunity. Blessings and prayers to all of you.

    • says

      Lynn, Thank you for speaking up. I have my degree in sign language interpreting for the Deaf and I know the especially unique struggles the late deafened have in community and family and in a million other ways I can’t even imagine. I know the heart of this movement is to be inclusive and I will definitely bring up this accessibility issue.

  14. says

    Hi sweet friend. I can’t remember if I’ve ever told you the name of our little church. Just in case I haven’t, I’ll tell you now: The Gathering Church. We’re still a start-up congregation–or at least an upstart. We still meet in a school gym. But more than any fellowship I’ve ever been a part of, we have an awareness of the fact that God has gathered us together. That awareness makes a big difference in everything.

    I’ve been so scattered lately that your breath prayer resonates deeply with me. I need the Lord to gather me to be with Him–all of me, the pretty and the ugly, the good and the bad, the messy and the neat–and even the parts of me that I don’t even know about yet. Thank you for sharing that glimpse deep into your soul. I appreciate it.
    Richella Parham´s last blog post ..Grace at Home No. 63

  15. Jackie says

    I am a prayer struggler. Usually feels awkward and like a conversation I would have with my boss. A few years back I grabbed hold of a prayer that has worked for me. Just realizing while reading your post that it’s my own breath prayer. “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” After praying this for me several times, I change “me” to a person in need or other people the Holy Spirit brings to mind and pray their names. I find myself praying this often during the day, and I start and end most days this way….often falling asleep while praying. Going to sleep while talking with someone who loves me is such a wonderful way to slip into sleep.

  16. says

    This is a beautiful post. The breath prayer captured me too. I want to know more. I think I have that book at home on the shelf, but I am away from home right now, I am going to ask the Lord to help me form one. I have been reading about Jennie’s challenge. Not sure where I fit in this. I am doing her Anything study over on GoodMorningGirls.org. God is moving.
    Paula´s last blog post ..Three Little Words

  17. says

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I especially love this: “Let’s move into the lives of those around us as the women we fully are – awake and alive, equipped and armed with the Gospel. Let’s take the time to accept the shape of our souls and then have the courage to share it with others.” I may be going to write this nicely and stick it on my wardrobe door where I’ll see it every morning. Thank you …

  18. says

    Your thoughts are so deep and heartfelt. I specifically like this line of yours, “Let’s take the time to accept the shape of our souls and then have the courage to share it with others.”.. Thanks for sharing. :)

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