A small confession, when I first heard about the party at Jen Hatmaker’s house, I didn’t really want to go (insert confused looking face here).
Weird, I know.
The truth is, sometimes I’m bogged down by logistics and planning and I just don’t want to deal. I mean, in theory it sounded awesome.
But in real life I thought about all the time and money and effort that would go into making a trip happen and I sort of wanted to tune out.
Yes, there’s a definite but.
I felt the Lord nudging me and even gently challenging me to take a risk with this thing.
And so a few weeks ago, I did.
I flew down to Austin, Tx with another “For the Love,” friend and decided it was worth it to be all in. Essentially, I think that’s what happened. I decided to commit.
I committed to potentially awkward situations, and riding it out.
I committed to joining conversations without someone else introducing me.
I even committed to high humidity, unknown sleeping conditions and lots of transitions.
But come what may, I decided I would do my best to show up.
Something happened in my heart the few weeks before I left for the party, an odd sense of peace covered me and I realized even if some pieces of the trip were a flop—it would still be worth it.
Guess what? It was.
From one of the best traveling friends I could have flown with, to a surprising amount of refreshment in my time with my housemates, to being encouraged again and again in the living out of, “For the Love.”
All over the town, we painted Austin with joy. Because how do you not get excited when a tribe of people decide it’s worth it to love Jesus and each other well?
And then there was the party.
It was no big deal, just 200+ (kind of strangers) hanging out in Jen’s backyard.
The twinkle lights and humidity seemed to mix well and for me, for a brief moment, I wondered if this might be a little like heaven. Not because it was perfect, but because of the mass intersection of so many dear hearts in one place.
I’m glad I committed to being okay with awkward, because there were many of those moments, too. But there were also moments where I was able to hug the necks of women who have spoken life into me many times in the last 6 months. Each one had become special to me in a unique way. Sadly, there were many souls I didn’t get to meet in real life. I can only hope our paths will cross again.
And then when my internet friend and now real life friend, told me that she believed in me and my writing and when I write a book “she would launch it like a boss,” I may have grown a few inches. What a gift to receive. In a way that’s what the spirit of the night was like, showing in word and deed that we are FOR each other.
And then there was the time I took a deep breath, got a little emotional, and told Jen Hatmaker exactly how much her work and leadership means to me. I told her the way I value her heart for justice and her desire to empower women around basic mental health, boundaries and leaning into imperfection (that part was pretty great). After, I felt slightly astounded that she cared so much, but mostly humbled.
As we left the party that night, life felt a little surreal.
What a beautiful time we’d had, but I began to wonder, does any of this goodness matter when we return to a world that is hurting and broken?
I think it does.
It’s an anthem that has played through the ages, but yes, one light on a hill matters. Our joy on this night will not diminish the heartache or pain that may come, but it most certainly does matter.
One piece of hope, one warrior who claims they will not let the dark win, one soul who says I will make room for beauty, and one group of people who desire to love well; this is the holy work we get to engage in daily.
And so as I return to my life, I choose to tuck this goodness into my heart, and allow this gift to spill over.
I choose hope today, will you join me?