In 2015, I was invited by a friend to attend a Christian women’s conference I knew nothing about. The second annual IF Gathering in Austin, Texas, was being live streamed that year at Fellowship Bible Church in Texarkana. I had originally planned to be on a girls’ trip that weekend, but my heart was stirred to skip it and to check out this gathering instead. Attendance has been a priority in my life every year since.
IF was unlike any event I had attended before, and I was unsure what to expect. I did not know anyone who would be there other than the person who invited me, but it soon became clear it was the place I needed to be. My decision to lay down my plans and attend marked a pivotal moment in my life. I chose what my heart told me I needed, and I believe that “Yes” changed my life; it turned into a spiritual awakening. The event speakers and the worship music moved my heart in a way I had never experienced. It was as if the scales fell off my eyes and opened to the One who should have held first place all along. In that season, my focus switched from girls’ trips to church trips as I craved more and more.
It is hard to believe how such a small decision can so fundamentally change your life. Answering that call of the Spirit led me to Rwanda, Africa, three times. I quit my job to focus and be intentional with my family. We downsized our home and cars to accommodate my job change, and I began a humbling season of focusing on the Lord instead of chasing earthly possessions. I had spent a lot of time fixated on outward acceptance, caring more about what the world thought instead of seeking approval from the one and only Almighty God. I am so grateful that even though it took me a while, He never gave up on me!
Recently, a group of thirteen Texarkana women joined me and thousands more from around the world as we attended IF: 2023 in Dallas. We came together from different denominations and backgrounds, leaving behind thirteen husbands and twenty-seven kids to worship together and reset our hearts. I am already excited about next year as we have doubled that number of Texarkana gals who are already registered and counting down the days! It is incredible to see God move in so many people’s lives. As we celebrate Easter, I pray we all reset our hearts, remembering all He has done for us and focus on the true meaning of Easter.
Spring is a season that brings people together. We gather for Easter celebrations, dinner on the patios of restaurants across town, the upcoming Four States Fair and Rodeo, the Texarkana Wine Festival, baseball games, fishing, and other outdoor activities. This month, we have wonderful stories about some of these events taking place in our community. As you read and take part, I encourage you to fix your eyes on the One at the center of the miracle of Easter and see how much sweeter everything is when you do!