Last month, Ashley and I had the opportunity to attend Sparrow Conference at the Music Hall at Fair Park. We had gone to Sparrow conference in 2017 and we both agreed it was our favorite women’s conference we had been to. This year we knew it would be no different and we were both excited for how God was going to move through Sparrow this year. If you are not familiar with the conference, it is held in Dallas each year and exists to catalyze the next generation of reconcilers. The theme of this years conference was together, we are together reconciled to God and reconciled to one another.
I would love to explain to all of you every single beautiful detail of Sparrow Conference 2018, but really I just wish you could have all heard it. My favorite part of Sparrow Conference 2018 (and 2017) was the worship. It. was. SO. GOOD. There is something so powerful about hundreds of women of all ages, who don’t all look the same, and who express themselves uniquely, worshipping Jesus freely with hands in the air. There was dancing and clapping and rejoicing. The voices together were full of harmony and full of the joy of the Lord. The Holy Spirit was in the space of the Music Hall. We sang “Spirit Break Out,” and I kept repeating the lyrics to myself that it was a “sound of Heaven touching Earth.” Truly that’s what Sparrow Conference was to me, a taste of Heaven on Earth. While it won’t be exactly what we experienced at Sparrow, you can listen to the playlist on Spotify named "Sparrow 2018 Worship."
This year at Sparrow we studied the book of 1 John. Did you know that the apostle John uses the word “abide” 43 times in the gospel of John and in the book of 1 John? Ruth Chou Simons spoke on the meaning of the word “abide”- to stay, remain, be true to, dwell, be near to, physically stand strong, stay engaged, keep in step with Christ, and not yield to the world. One of my favorite takeaways from her talk was “what you really love is where you’ll call home and stay steadfast.” She also posed the question, “if we believe that the gospel is enough to save, but do we believe it is enough to sustain us?” This really struck a chord with me because my word of the year is “enough” and I not only want to remember that God says that I am enough, and believing my worth, but also to remember that God is enough for me, to provide for all my needs and to sustain my heart. You can follow Ruth @gracelaced on Instagram, she is an author and also artist and makes such beautiful prints!
Jada Edwards was another one of the speakers this year. She spoke last year at Sparrow 2017 and I absolutely loved her teaching. Not only is Jada hilarious, but she brings the truth, and makes you think differently. One of my favorite takeaways from her talk was from 1 John 4:12 “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” She said that love is what you do and how you do it, and reminded us of the power that God has given us to show the world an unseen God with the way that we love. She also used the analogy of Christ’s love being like Chick-fil-a fries, and let me tell you any lady that can relate to my love of Chick-fil-a fries and is someone I can totally relate to. Those are holy fries! You might be wondering how these two could be related, but what she explained is that Jesus’ love permeates, it’s a love that lasts and that others can “smell” on you because of the way that you treat them. In the same way when you have chickfila fries in your car, the smell lingers and anyone who rides in your car the rest of that day will know your little secret.
We ended the conference on Saturday after listening to the hearts of Rachel Joy and Elizabeth Woodson on the topic of racial harmony. The topic of racial reconciliation is one that is met by a wide variety of emotions and reactions. Because it can be polarizing, it is a topic that is not always discussed in the church. We admire Sparrow’s willingness to enter into a hard, but necessary conversation on the issue of racism. One of my very favorite parts of the weekend was when Elizabeth said “change is possible-- not just in heaven but here on earth.” I do believe that we as a generation have the capacity to change by the way that we love each other. I want us to be women who show up for each other, who remind each other of our identities as children of the light and not of darkness, and that walk with each other no matter what it takes. I want us to be women who enter into these conversations with open hands seeking to learn from one another, thus growing together and becoming a force for the Kingdom of God.
Sparrow Conference we will most definitely be back next year and if you’re in the DFW area we hope you’ll join us. Even if you aren’t in DFW it is worth a weekend trip and we would love to host you so that you can come with us!
We were honored to have Rachel Joy, the founder of Sparrow Conference, write a guest blog post for us earlier this year, Transformed Noncomformists, in which she shares why believing in Jesus and His Gospel bids us to continue the work of MLK. It is a must read!