I can still hear their voices, their laughter, their tears. With all the joy and sadness there was honesty and transparency radiating from that quaint living room. They were beautiful and brave.
Our small gathering began as a church home group for young college, millennial women. I would never have imagined such a diverse, lively, eclectic group of women would come together. This group had the signature of the Lord. I could sense He was about to do something far more than we ever have dreamed. We were caught up in Him and we were joining in His gospel song together.
These women wanted community, depth, and mentorship. Some of them loved God and some of them didn’t, but they came because they longed for connection, and they knew there was something more. They gathered in my living room to be taught but their words and their stories taught me. The Lord used each and every one of those girls to challenge me and push me toward a dream that I tucked away for a long time. Life and circumstances kept this dream at bay. With each story, this dream was unlocked and my control of what it should be and the timing of it all didn’t matter anymore. I couldn’t just sit idle any longer. He was moving and I wanted to be a part.
The stories that were shared were excruciating- rape, pregnancy, abuse, hurt, regret, perfectionism, comparison, addiction, anxiety, eating disorders, codependency, homosexuality, to name a few. When I close my eyes I can see their faces- the broken beautiful tapestries of God’s love and redemption. These women were black, white, Asian, Hispanic- hurt and brokenness knows no bounds. It takes no prisoners. I got to watch the Lord work miracles that year. Women were experiencing freedom from sin and shame and tasting joy for the first time. Healing began.
While dealing with the pain of the past, and learning to put one foot in front of the other- we began to dream together. What would it look like for young, millennial women from different ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, and walks of life to come together for a weekend, worship the Lord and open the scriptures under one roof? What if we provided a place for women to hear truth, experience freedom, wrestle and find their identity in the Lord and realize their purpose? What if we could appreciate each other’s differences and rejoice in our commonality in Jesus Christ? We wanted to reflect the kingdom of heaven. We wanted to ask the Lord to break down walls in our hearts and reconcile us to one another.
Most of these girls that wore holes in my leather couch and sprawled across my living room floor grew up in schools and cultures that were one ethnicity and one social class. These lines and divisions were all too familiar. They were seeing it now on their college campuses and at work. We wanted to press against the division and say, “no more”. God is light and in Him there is no darkness. We wanted and prayed that His light would illuminate and unify hearts for His namesake.
Each of these women, myself included, at one point or another, had strayed from our identity and significance in Christ alone. The struggle was and is REAL no matter your age. The search for worth will keep you on a never- ending manhunt, no pun intended. No man, no job, position, or thing will give you the satisfaction of what you are truly after. I have learned this “identity” issue plagues most women whether they are willing to admit it or not. Our sin and idols grow from a desire to worship and feel worth.
As we were dreaming, this idea of significance was a melody in our hearts. “Sparrow” is the name given in the Bible to a bird that was considered to be an insignificant, bothersome creature. Sparrows would gather in noisy flocks, making their nests in the eaves of the temple. However, the gospel of Luke states, “Not one of them is forgotten before God”. If God is concerned about the sparrow and knows its fate, how much greater must His concern be for man. It is interesting that God chose the most common of birds to teach a profound truth: in God’s eyes no one is insignificant.
The Lord is infinitely sovereign and ferociously loves His children. Our significance is to be found in Him alone. We are not defined by our circumstances, past, current struggles, or this world. Our search for significance can lead to an array of dead ends that are unfulfilling. But significance in Christ moves us to grow in a deeper relationship with the Father. Finding your identity in what the world has to offer will disappoint time after time, but a woman that knows who she is in Christ and is deeply rooted in His Truth, will have an eternal hope and purpose.
In the fall of 2012, by God’s grace alone, our gathering began. We felt God pressing on us to call it Sparrow Conference. Or as some lovingly refer to it as simply, Sparrow. We are amazed at all the Lord has done these past three years as we continue to watch miracles unfold. Would you join us in this movement of diverse, millennial women? Let’s call on the name of the Lord together as a generation of women who desire Him alone.
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.