While we don’t have plans to do a formal (in)RL gathering this year, God has put it on our hearts to continue to encourage and equip women to gather in real life throughout the year — not just one weekend.
Since the last weekend in April holds a special place in our hearts, we want to launch our first “Girlfriend Gathering” Saturday, April 25th. We’ll spend each Wednesday in April sharing our own “friendship on purpose” stories, with topics to inspire you as you gather with your own friends. Then, on April 25th, get together with the women God puts on your heart for a few hours of fun and fellowship!
Each Wednesday we’ll include a challenge, invitation, or resource to help you as you plan, but there will be no set agenda, theme, or to-do list for the Girlfriend Gathering.
It’s as simple as this: Invite your girlfriends to gather. Plan as much or as little as God has put on your heart. Let’s do some (in)RL community together, yeah?
I grew up in the seasonless wasteland of Southern California. In fact, I still live here.
Our seasons move from summer to more summer, from hot to hotter and from dry to drier. I’m not complaining, not really. I don’t have to deal with ice storms or tornadoes or pulling winter boots onto unwilling small feet. I don’t wonder if we will get snow flurries in April.
I know that we here in this wasteland have it good.
But we don’t experience true winter, spring, or autumn. We complain in October that it isn’t cooler like the rest of the country, and we complain in the winter that it’s too cold for us thin-blooded Westerners. Perhaps we are just spoiled.
But it’s dawned on me only recently that spring is special in its own right. Maybe like all of my good epiphanies of this calendar year, it has something to do with turning 40, or maybe this spring actually is a little special.
Just a couple weeks ago we had the vernal equinox. We know it as the last day of winter, but it’s essentially the day that the equator passes the center of the Sun. The tilt of the earth is neither away nor toward the sun. Everything is equal for a moment.
And then we move from decline to incline. Whether it feels like it or not, whether we have ice on Easter Sunday or not, we are moving toward life and heat and warmth. We are moving away from death. Even if it feels like the polar vortex is rearing her ugly head once again, summer is coming.
My parents were both born and raised in the Midwest: my mother is from Indiana and my father from Kansas and Missouri. As young adults they moved, met, and got married in California. And they never left. No one blames them.
I remember my father telling me that I didn’t really understand the spring. Just like the fact that my children do not know how to ice skate or hunt, a by-product of a Southern California childhood is that one does not understand spring and other seasons of the year.
“You can’t understand it unless you’ve lived through a Kansas winter,” he’d say. “The way the air smells, the way everything melts and the rain and everything turning back to life again.”
He’s right: I don’t understand. Not like that. But once in a while I do catch a small glimpse of a spring breeze here in my suburban yard and I do catch a sweet scent on the air.
I’m trying to grasp it this year. Moving from death to life. From hardened to open.
It’s not unlike what we experience with Jesus. During winter we make a big deal of hope and joy and expectancy and waiting. We wait for Jesus, and He appears as a baby, ready to rescue the world.
And then He is born and we’ve gotten what we’ve waited for.
But what we were waiting for? That has still yet to happen. Spring? I wonder if it’s even better than advent.
All that we waited for, quietly and patiently during winter, what we expected as the world quietly slept, all of that is accomplished now. During this season. The reason why He came is evident now. And that joy and hope and expectancy and new life? That all has an even deeper meaning. The baby that was born is now here, alive and rescuing.
And in this seasonless West where I live? It doesn’t matter because He brings life and rebirth wherever we are. So I get it: this spring.
I get it because of Him.
Community Challenge: We know getting together with friends can be easier said than done. So we’re going to be brave together. Will you join us and pray about the ladies God would like you to invite for a fun girlfriend gathering and send them a “save the date?” You can download and share one here.
Join us for a Twitter party on Thursday, April 9th at 9pm EST to brainstorm ideas, chat with new friends, and win some friendship products to use at your gathering!
For more Girlfriend Gathering resources, head here! We’ll keep updating it throughout the month.