Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Texas, Tacos, and Tons of Women  

For the first time in 20 years my husband and I were at the airport with boarding passes of our very own. We were flying to Austin, Texas, to meet a couple hundred online friends. Who does this? I mean we are cautioned about meeting one person from the internet but I was about to meet many. Was I frightened? Not at all.

Two weeks ago I had an experience that ranks up there with one of the best of my life. Many have questioned what it was like to meet the New York Times Bestselling author and HGTV personality, Jen Hatmaker, because they imagined that this was the highlight of my trip. “It was good” is my reply. They can’t seem to understand the lack of a fan girl attitude or over excitement. It’s because Austin for me was much more. It was an experience unlike any I have ever had.

(Please excuse our glowing faces. It was about 1,000,00098 degrees at 7p.m.) 

Evert single moment of the trip was amazing— just so fun. I have never had another trip go so smoothly. If a trip could be perfect this one was. The only detail I would have changed would be to crank down the temperature dial several more notches below 100 degrees. Josh and I expected some things from this trip. Time together, check. Staying with and enjoying our friends, check. Meeting new people, check. Having an adventure, check.  We did not expect the city of Austin to be so very beautiful, the people to be so amazingly friendly, and the atmosphere to feel so small town while we were in the midst of 900,000+ people. We did not expect to have such a renewed passion and fervor to minister and share the gospel and never would we have imagined that meeting 250 strangers would give us a foretaste of heaven. 

First of all, Austin. Go there. Maybe move there. I just can’t explain the love Texans have for their state and the pride they display. And yet, they are so so welcoming. The housekeepers at our hotel had Don't Mess With Texas stickers even on their trash cans! Everything (I mean everything) is covered in stars. A girl who served us at Starbucks saw my mug with Texas on it and dreamily sighed, “I just love Texas.” It really is unbelievable. An interesting experience. It is like small town America blew up and welcomed everyone and it turned into a huge city. And the sky? It goes on forever. There is diversity, hospitality, and everything is a little bigger. Such a (hot) beautiful place. Oh, and Barbecue. I can't even. 

I don’t really know how to explain what happened between the women of this launch team and myself but I do wish each of you could experience something similar in this life. A woman brought us together with a book and, without intending for it to happen, we are living out the book. A community formed that is not about us but God. We have prayed for one another, shared heavy burdens, bought a car for someone, sent snail mail, raised 2500+ for orphans, and just laughed and cried. We came together with nothing but Jesus in common and he is what we shared with one another. It felt like what heaven will be. 

I remember a conversation while standing in the Hatmaker’s yard waiting in line to hug Jen. A few ladies were discussing how we were the ones who were chosen for the team. Most of us agreed it was random, maybe the first 500 people or something. But then we remembered that even in the random God is in control. He controls even the “casting of lots” in the Old Testament. In all these ladies lives, it is evidenced, that he put us together for this time and it is spilling out in our towns and communities. Women are meeting and bringing other women and pulling them along. What Jen had prayed and hoped for is now happening. My prayer is that you too will be plugged into a community that is rich and deep and strong. 

Pray for it and God will show you the steps to find it. Who ever thought six months ago that I would go half way across the country to meet up with total strangers? Who would have imagined that just being there with so many of us focused on him and his presence would make me excited for heaven? 

Texas is full of the most amazing tex-mex, pride, and beautiful people; boots, hats, and hot weather. But I will always fondly remember Texas for the moments in a yard in Buda experiencing Christ, in the flesh, residing in beautiful, strong, diverse women. His body, all the pieces, not bound with denominations or past relationships or any other thing. Just bound by Him alone. 

1 comment:

  1. Great job, Gina! I have never visited Texas, but your glowing recommendation makes me want to go! I'm sure it was amazing to be surrounded by a bunch of women connected through the love and blood of Christ. Soooo glad you had the opportunity to experience this, and I look forward to more blog posts. Keep writing, my sister!