Day 9 :: The Ones Who Lead You

on October 9, 2013 in 31 Ways To Speak Love with 5 comments by

31 waysA few weeks ago, I went to Austin with about seventy other Christian women and we discussed leadership and unity and fears and ministry and nail polish and football and food and drink and I swam in an infinity pool.

I want to tell you all about it but I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to communicate it well. So instead of giving you a synopsis of the whole few days, I will give you a picture of one afternoon.

On Wednesday after lunch, we corralled into a room where we were split up into groups of six or so. My group, as it so happened, was a handful of 20-something and 30-something women in ministry- starting out, learning, all doe-eyed and concerned and over-eager….. and Shelley Giglio.

Shelley sits and we begin to answer the discussion questions on this little piece of paper given to us. But it’s only about four minutes until we trash the prompts and ask her questions about how to do this thing. We are all practically sitting at her feet and digesting every word from her mouth. We took turns asking about life in ministry- not just as a woman, but as a full-time hustler who has done this for decades and never quit. She answered questions for me that I was barely brave enough to ask. She spoke into all of our lives that afternoon in ways that since then, we have texted and talked about and journaled to death. The notes I took in that session as she invested in our little small group are one of my most treasured possessions now.

Because I am THIRSTY to be mentored. Absolutely parched. And Shelley stepped in to that place and opened up a firehose one me and the others in our group.

I’ve thanked God more for those few hours that you can imagine.

I thanked Shelley as well. And Jennie Allen who brought us all together. Because in my field of work, I’m often the one leading, standing up front, being the mentor. So when someone leads me well, I relax into it and drink deep from it. I know the challenge of being on the mentor side, so I’m all the more grateful when I get to be on the mentee side, even if it is just for 48 hours in the hill country of Texas.

We got together because of the IF:Gathering. I can’t answer all your questions about it, I can just tell you I’ll be back in Austin in February and I really really encourage you to join me. Here’s a video where Jennie talks about our time together and tells you why you should join us next time:

If : Gathering – The Bigger Vision from If Gathering on Vimeo.

I am thankful for that week in Austin- I’m thankful we wrestled for unity, I’m thankful we held hands to pray, I’m thankful we laughed in the infinity pool, I’m thankful we became a family in ways words don’t envelope. And I’m thankful that the women ahead of us on this journey came to Austin as well to remind us youngins to keep running. Don’t quit. Ministry is hard but the Gospel is worth it.

. . . . .


You have those people too, I bet. The ones who lead you. Parents, pastors, mentors, coaches, Bible study teachers. Maybe it’s the woman next door or maybe it’s Beth Moore who you do not know personally but feel mentored by. [Which is why Speak Love is dedicated to her even though I don’t really know her.]

I believe it is deeply important to thank and encourage the women and men who are investing in us. So today- will you take a minute and call up someone who has mentored and led  you in some way? I can’t wait to tweet and text some pastors and older women who have invested in me. 

And seriously consider joining us at IF:Austin or IF:Local. God is stirring something new in the hearts of women in church and it’s time for us to get together and talk about it.

. . . . .

Who has led you well? Who will you be thanking today?


This is Day 9 of 31 Ways to Speak Love. You can click here to see a list of all the posts in the series.


  1. posted on Oct 09, 2013 at 5:09 PM  |  reply

    Hi! Can I just tell you how excited I am right now? I guess you may want a little back story.

    So, earlier this year someone shared a blog post from Emily Freeman which prompted me to instantly add her to my reader. That’s how I first learned about IF: Gathering, and also the whole #31Days phenomenon.

    Meanwhile, right around the time I learned about IF, a friend recommended Jennie Allen’s “Stuck” study (I didn’t know at the time that she was the visionary behind IF). My girls’ Bible study group just finished Stuck this week, and it ROCKED us.

    God prompted me SUPER clearly that I need to attend IF (even though I still don’t totally know what it’s all about). ***I bought my plane tickets last week.*** (Gee, I sure hope I get a spot before they sell out!)

    So anyway, my Bible study group has been brainstorming about what our next topic/book should be, and my friend Amy recommended your book Speak Love after she heard you speak at Influence a couple weeks ago.

    So here I am “investigating” you (aka internet stalking, obviously), and not only do I see that you’re participating in #31Days, but you ALSO are involved with IF?!

    Hence, I AM EXCITED RIGHT NOW. And not just because of all these little connections, but because I think I really need to read your book. So even if my group doesn’t pick it (they probably will), I can’t wait to read it myself! 🙂

  2. posted on Oct 10, 2013 at 9:37 AM  |  reply

    Those minutes? In our small circle? With Shelley and with you and the others: my favorite moments of IF.1. You encapsulated it perfectly. I felt like I was drinking from a deep well. Love you dear Annie. Praying for that beautiful, big, talented, bold heart of yours.

  3. Alexis
    posted on Oct 11, 2013 at 6:04 PM  |  reply

    Correction (fixing typos in my first message):

    WHY did being where women of ALL different backgrounds and cultures were gathered scare Jennie? She said she was “terrified” of the idea.

    I like the mission of “If: Gathering.” I think it’s great to break down the social barriers and share the agape love as Christians AND if there are ALOT of people are TRULY terrified of being around people who are NOT like them culturally, ethnically, background-wise then this most DEFINITELY IS your MISSION field.

    I wish you the best! 🙂

    • Alexis
      posted on Oct 11, 2013 at 6:08 PM  |  reply

      One more typo correction:

      I meant to say, “…AND if there are ALOT of people WHO are TRULY terrified” (the “who” was missing).

      So SORRY for the multiple messages in reply to one post, I was typing in a hurry! I usually do not have typos in my messages. Maybe you can delete the original one I wrote, Annie and only use the first corrected version along with this one additional correction? As a writer/editor, I aim for no typos. I will have to make a note to myself to take my time when responding to blog posts! 🙂

      • posted on Oct 11, 2013 at 10:27 PM  |  reply

        Hi Alexis! No worries! 🙂 I’m a type perfectionist as well.

        I’m going to speak for Jennie, but I think her fear was NOT about cultural differences or background differences particularly- I think it was more that she had asked us all to gather – a bunch of women from a lot of corners of Christiandom with a lot of different ideas- and wasn’t sure if it would implode with issues or explode love.

        Love won.

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