19 Jan Katie’s IF story
“If Jesus and heaven are real, how should we live?” This simple yet convicting question is at the heart of IF:Gathering, a global community of women who gather together in their local places to become equipped so that they can be unleashed for the glory of God and the good of others.
In January of 2011 my beloved husband lost his battle with a rare liver disease and I found myself a 38 year-old widow with two young girls to raise. While I have been a Christ-follower since childhood and even work in vocational ministry, Jesus became more real to me in that place of pain and loss than I could have ever imagined. I can honestly say that since that day I have never felt alone. The sovereignty of God, His love, and the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit have become such a reality for me that have become a passion and calling to gather and equip other women that they, too, might experience the joy, freedom, and unleashing that I have. So when Northshore Women’s Ministry was recruiting women to host IF:Northshore in their homes in 2015, I enthusiastically volunteered. IF:Local gives women a unique opportunity to participate in the Church globally with their sisters around the world, while coming together in community through the local church. The worship, teaching, and small-group discussions with other like-minded women created space for God to continue to work in my heart, prompting me to respond in obedience to joining the Women’s Ministry Leadership Team at Northshore as the IF: coordinator.
In 2016 we gathered for IF: and again, in this time set aside for entering into His presence, God did a mighty work in my heart. The conference started with IF: founder, Jennie Allen, authentically confessing her own lifelong struggle with seeking the approval of others and striving to prove her value by who she was, what she did, and how hard she worked. That Friday night the Holy Spirit brought forgiveness, healing, and freedom as I, too, confessed I am not enough, surrendered my need to prove that I am enough, and embraced that I am enough because Jesus is enough.
Over these years I have seen God’s redemptive work in my life in so many ways and in the summer of 2012, through a ministry of Northshore, He brought another loving husband and a bonus daughter into my life…but that’s for another story…
These last several years God has used IF:Gathering in a powerful way in my life, and literally the lives of over a million women in fifty countries who have been challenged to live out each day believing the truth that Jesus and heaven are real. I am learning the powerful blessing that comes in listening and obeying to the voice of my Shepherd. God has used IF: and the community of women in my life to challenge me to be stretched and grow outside my comfort zone, a place of surrender where He can do the greatest work in and through us. The first stretch came last summer as I embarked on my first short-term missions trip by joining a group of women co-sponsored by Northshore and Helping Hands to serve women and children in Peru. Most recently I’ve responded in obedience to continue my growth through formal education and in the fall I began pursing another advanced degree by enrolling in Seminary. I do not know how God might use IF:Northshore 2017 but I am excited to find out and invite others to join me in the adventure.
Join us March 10 & 11 as we gather and get equipped, and then prepare to be unleashed! Register here