For some reason when the first ever She Is Free registrations went on sale, I thought I’d buy 2 – one for me and one for my best friend from middle school who I hadn’t spoken to in about a year… and who lived across the country! Even wilder, she said yes(!) and a NYC reunion was in the works!
To be honest, I was a bit nervous. We hadn’t seen or really caught up in a while and my life was drastically different from when we had last seen each other. I wasn’t sure how it would go but was so excited about the event and having her to visit that I just ran ahead. The best part of that first day was finding that God had radically changed her life since last time, too! Here we were, at a clear God-appointment after a complete 180 in both of our lives, running wildly, kinda gracefully, at our new found freedom and daughterhood.
We’ve now been to both She Is Free’s together and after the shock and awe of meeting a wholly transformed (and even more beautiful than ever) April at the first one, I learned one of the richest lessons of my life over the second She Is Free. I did not have the nervous uncertainty this year, instead I had presumptions: I had grown certain ways, she must have grown there, too! Instead, I found someone who had spent the time between each conference certainly growing, like a weed even, but in vastly different ways than I. She had depth where I was just grasping things and vice versa. I had learned lessons differently or different lessons were learned. I was humbled and… how crazy, she seemed to have her very own, personal, brilliant, customized relationship with God that looked nothing like mine and yet everything like mine all at once!
To my great blessing, I met more of God just by processing and learning and laughing and worshipping with her those 4 days and had a complete paradigm shift in my understanding of God’s relationality. As I learned from my oldest best friend how to host a guest speaker and sought her wisdom, I marveled at the woman she had become and the differences and sameness of our walks with God. I also realized that the same must be true of my friends here in front of me. The ones I do life with every day and might not notice the change over the passage of time. I’ve learned to celebrate the color of God they bring to the masterpiece instead of inspecting it and trying to conform or compete with it. I’ve determined to not compare walks or measure growth in any worldly sense. I endeavor to seek out what others can teach me about my Lord, rather than be threatened by it. And I’ve certainly thanked God for middle school awkwardness redemption!
Meet her yourself – below are some of April’s brilliant tidbits on doing this together:
– After worship the first night of She Is Free as both of us were on our knees weeping, we knew this was powerful
– I got to meet a whole community of women and stay in touch with them throughout the year so by the next She Is Free, I truly felt like I was visiting a whole bunch of friends
– Sarah’s and my friendship has such a deep bond now because we encountered God in the same space, in the same presence, and got to “decompress” together about all God was telling us
– Throughout the year we got to check in with each other to “do life” together from coast to coast. Whether we send each other Bible Verses, sermons, blogs, thoughts, etc – I knew Sarah was in my corner
– This She Is Free I actually got to serve with Sarah and watch her become a leader at Liberty and watch the church grow and expand. That warms my heart! I feel like it’s a win for me too!
– From exceptional Liberty Pastors, generous volunteers, amazing worship, incredible art pieces, generational support, and power packed preaching and teaching, She Is Free is something you can’t afford to miss.
– She Is Free exposed me to women of all shapes and sizes, all walks of life, coming together under the banner of freedom, love, and grace.
Invite someone(s) and be blessed beyond what you imagined!