I reached out to my local friends. Jacque, Becky, Mindy, Melissa, and Syrone. Then I reached out to friends around the country and beyond. Together we are linking arms and hearts for this journey we’re on together — a journey in faith, marriage, friendship, motherhood, and creativity.
And every woman is invited.
There’s a place for you here. Because none of us can do this alone. We need each other.
In recent years I’ve watched the Body of Christ come together at events likes conferences and retreats. And I’ve experienced God move every time. So I’ve longed to bring a spiritual retreat for women to the West Coast. Because we need respites of quiet to hear His voice. And we need each other for encouragement and friendship.
I love the Church, and I want to see the Church come together in spirit and in truth.
So I began to pray. And one by one, the Lord has brought women into my life. These women have helped me believe that a genuine sisterhood is possible. Because I’ll be honest. I’ve had my doubts. But God, in His mercy and compassion, refused to let me remain in isolation. God has wooed me through the love of these sisters . . .
In March 2011, I attended my first Christian Writer’s Conference at Mt. Hermon in Santa Cruz, California. I had been to Mt. Hermon countless times before — first as a teenager for summer camp, then as a young married 20-something for women’s retreats. But this was my first writer’s conference.
I participated in an advanced writers’ workshop, and I met Donna, a fellow SoCal gal like myself. Her love for Christ exuded in everything she did. And she loved to write too.
That week at Mt. Hermon felt like a homecoming for me. Over 300 Christian writers gathered to worship the Lord and grow as writers.
I had found “my people.”
I returned home and knew that I wanted to experience that again. There’s just something about the Body of Christ coming together who share a particular passion, in this case, writing.
At She Speaks, I reconnected with Donna, and I met a number of other women too — Natalie, Doris, Tracie, Cheri, and Lyn — who would soon become dear friends. Meeting these women were divine appointments. I know the Lord wanted our paths to cross.
Something was happening at these conferences.
I watched as the Lord knit hearts together. Mine and theirs.
This was new territory for me too. Because I was raised in a family with all brothers. I’ve never had a sister. And I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have one.
Then in October 2012, I attended Allume, and once again the Lord brought several more women into my life. Alia, Kathi, Lizzie, Michele-Lyn, and Teri Lynne. Again, I felt an instant kinship with each one. We were sisters in Christ, and I wanted to support them in their ministries.
I started to wonder if this is what sisterhood is like.
So I became something of a conference-junkie. In January 2013, I returned to North Carolina to attend the She Speak Intensive Conference and absolutely loved the small, intimate atmosphere. I spent most of that weekend hanging out with Natalie and Angie, and when I came home to California, I told my husband how much I wished something like that was available on the West Coast.
Seeds of a dream began to stir.
In April 2013, I flew to Nebraska — a state I had never been to before — to attend the Jumping Tandem Retreat. Holley Gerth spoke that weekend of God-Sized Dreams. She encouraged us to dream big, and to dream unafraid.
I knew the dream I harbored. A dream to invite women together.
For worship. Communion. Prayer.
For teaching. Learning. Growing.
The Jumping Tandem Retreat was a quiet weekend on the prairie. A place where women could take long walks with their Savior. And a place where women could savor long conversations with friends by a fire. My friends Alia and Kathi were there, and I made some new friends too. Nasreen, Rhonda, Diane, Kendra, Linda, Jessica, and my roommate Sheila.
Before flying home from Nebraska, I drove my rental car to a coffee shop in downtown Omaha, and I met Tami, a blogging friend whose words I had been reading online for three years. We talked for over two hours about faith and family and friendship. We shared so much in common. It was hard to believe we had only “just met.”
I returned to California convinced there’s more to this Internet thing than building subscriber lists. We’re building friendships. Real friendships. When we write blogs and Facebook posts, we’re sharing a part of ourselves, and we’re connecting with souls far and wide.
My dreaming turned into praying.
Months later, I attended the Declare Conference, and I met September. She has since become one of my dearest friends. I continue to thank the Lord for her friendship and godly counsel. September is a true sister who I never would have met if it weren’t for this crazy world of blogging and Christian conferences.
Then I took a second trip to Allume in October 2013. I sat in a workshop led by Deidra and Nasreen, and I listened to them share their story of how the Jumping Tandem Retreat came to be. And the whole time they were talking, I was praying.
Lord, I want more people to experience what I’m experiencing. I want more women on the West Coast to be able to connect with their sisters in Christ.
At that moment, I heard Deidra and Nasreen ask the whole group this question: What is your deepest heart’s desire?
Lord, my deepest heart’s desire is to invite women to come together to worship You and to grow closer to You. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to look like. I just know that I want to gather a sisterhood.
As I was praying, a Bible study I taught years ago came to mind.
It was a Bible study on the call of the disciples. I had studied in-depth each passage where Jesus called the disciples. One story in particular stood out to me. Just before Jesus invited Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow Him, Jesus asked them to push out into deeper waters and to let down their nets on the other side of the boat.
To push out into deeper waters didn’t make sense. As fishermen, they knew the fish hovered near the surface of shallower water where it was warmer. But the fishermen obeyed, and contrary to conventional wisdom, the catch of fish was supernaturally large.
And in that room at Allume, I heard the Lord’s voice whisper to my soul . . . I want you to push out into deeper waters too. Don’t worry about the things that don’t make sense. Just trust Me.
This has been my song for years.
I have a hunger for God’s Word, and I want to know Christ in deeper and fuller ways than ever before. I don’t want to simply create another website with another group of bloggers. I want to create a place where women feel safe in community.
At all of these retreats and conferences, I have stayed up late, sharing hours upon hours of deep conversations. At Allume for the second time, I met more and more sisters. Caryn, Sandy, Amy, and my longtime blogging friend Kathy. Then earlier this year, I met Elisa. We were teammates and roommates at the Raising Generations Today Conference — an amazing weekend for moms, hosted by our friend September.
I have met so many wonderful sisters around the country, even beyond this country’s borders, that I couldn’t possibly name them all here.
And I know the Lord isn’t finished. He is adding to His Church daily.
So with the help of some friends, I’ve created this space. And I’ve pulled up an extra chair. It has your name on it.
There’s a place for you here.
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Deeper Waters Ministry was birthed in prayer with a desire to gather a sisterhood of Christ followers. <Share on Twitter>
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We are linking arms and hearts for this journey we’re on together. <Share on Twitter>