He Goes Before
By: Natalie Razavi, IF:Local Leader in Boulder County, Colorado
In January, my dear friend Meggan and I began dreaming about the women in our county in a new way. We had served them together for seven years, but the Holy Spirit was expanding our hearts and breathing fresh vision into our souls for greater unity. When we heard the vision of IF for the first time, we were captivated. With coffee mugs in our hands, our 3 boys playing in the background, we sensed God awakening us to His heart for women in our generation.
In the days that followed, our awe turned to action, and we began reaching out to other leaders in our area.
On March 10th, we had our first IF:Local gathering. The glow of twinkle lights danced on wine glasses; bud vases were delicately placed with red tulips. The room filled with the warmth of femininity and great anticipation.
Our hearts swelled with joy as eight women from five local fellowships came that evening. We had invited them to come hear the vision for IF and IF:Boulder County. We hoped to gather strategic leaders who would own the vision and lead with us in their respective communities. We had a beautiful evening together and as the last friend walked out the door, we believed we had our leadership team.
The women that came that night were excited for the vision and at the same time, for many different reasons, could not commit to leading with us. The sting of disappointment fell heavy on our hearts. Were we too ambiguous? Did our insecurity get in the way? I have a distinct memory of giving God my concession speech: “I thought you gave us this vision, but maybe someone else would carry it better.”
In the middle of my uncertainty, God whispered hope into my heart- “My beloved daughter, this challenge is an invitation to press on. Don’t you know I have already gone before you?”
Our best intentions don’t always lead to the outcomes we hope for, but we can take confidence that God moves ahead of us, preparing the way. God came near to Paul in Acts 18 when the heaviness of religion had blanketed his hopes for the Gospel. He said, “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you… I have many people in this city.” Paul stayed in Corinth for another year and a half and saw many experience the salvation of God. His disappointment didn’t give way to defeat-it drew Him into deeper places of trust. Faithfulness for Paul was continuing to steward the vision God had given him with confidence.
We were tempted last spring to see our experience as a signpost of failure. Instead, God used it to deepen our trust in what He was already doing in Boulder County. In the days since our March meeting, we have seen God do what only He can do. We have added to our leadership team and witnessed the beauty of nearly 100 women being touched by the vision of IF. With every step we take by faith, God confirms His heart for our county and gives us confidence that He has gone before us.