Ignite: Then and Now

Have you ever tried to water a potted plant that was bone-dry? The water beads up and splashes off the dust with no effect.

Only small drops, patiently dripped, get through the crust.
Just after Christmas, the hubs and I squeezed onto a bus with 56 other people and drove to Indiana’s capital for the Ignite Conference. Ignite is a bit like a family reunion for the several hundred college students and staff who gather every two years from all the churches in the Collegiate Church Network. For two days, we worship, barely sleep, hang out, and hear dynamic teachings designed to re-ignite our hearts with love for God and for people.
When I went to Ignite two years ago, I was like a waterless plant that had forgotten how to drink. Starved for friendship, terribly lonely, and laboring under a false weight of expectations, my hard protective crust blocked out the love I needed.

I’m not saying love was not offered–it was. The sweet women in our group welcomed me, sat by me, chatted as we made coffee. But the wounds I nursed were so painful that I was unable to soak it in. Love splashed off, ineffective. 

This time was so different! The acceptance got through this year and soaked my heart. 

To all the women who loved me that weekend, thank you!
When your engagement secret was shared, I squealed as I anticipated your joy to come.
Adoption hopes whispered over our pillows thrilled my heart for you and your future family. 
You came on an impromptu picture-snatching adventure with me in the bright cold, and I felt like your sister. 

You sat beside me for hours in the dark on a swaying bus, just to talk and listen. 
You prayed with me, 
You smiled at me, 
you weren’t embarrassed to worship beside me. 

But the real thanks welling up in my heart is to the One who has patiently dripped love into my crusty heart. Dripped and dripped so persistently and long. And then He gave me a milestone like Ignite. A two-year bookend–something to hold side by side for the difference–so I could compare the soils of me then and me now. 

He used some of you, and my heart is so thankful!

If you feel like your own heart is impermeable, that it is too dry for love or friendship, take heart. He is a Spring of Living Water, and He doesn’t give up that easily. 

If you feel like you are the water, continually poured on a hard one that won’t receive, take courage. The softening is His job–yours is to be the pipe, the spigot, that He pours through. 

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