“We found that when we intentionally remove things in our lives, there is more room for the things we really want to be there; there’s more room for God,” Kaitlyn McCarty said. “I’d read Jen Hatmaker’s book ‘7 ‘ and was excited about what it stirred in me, about the idea that fasting from certain areas can bring new insights and opportunities to draw closer to God. I asked some women to read it for summer book club and attempt some of the fasts, and fifteen joined me.”
“We tried the seven different areas for a week each and we tailored the fasts to what fit us,” McCarty continued. “You’d think if we removed things from our lives we’d be down when we got together, but it was actually exhilarating; we had really rich conversations, and saw changes happening in our lives. I thought it would be fabulous to have Jen come speak, and pastors at ROCKHARBOR agreed. The moms from book club formed a team with me, and we invited others. I never set out to plan a woman’s conference.”
McCarty, who is on volunteer staff at ROCKHARBOR, coordinated the recent “Deeper” conference at the church, which was attended by 375 people.
Jennifer Hatmaker is a speaker and author from Austin, Texas. Her book, “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess,” is the story of Jen’s journey to fight excess, greed and materialism by temporarily fasting from seven areas that are easy to overindulge in: food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress.
She focused on each area for one month, aiming at the number seven; for example, only eating seven foods for a month or wearing only seven articles of clothing. By reducing excess in certain areas, she discovered an increased awareness of God.
McCarty said Hatmaker combined points from “7” and her recent book “Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith” during the Friday night and Saturday conference. Hatmaker expressed her passion for serving the poor, marginalized and oppressed while sharing her stories about adoption, fasting, church planting and loving her community.
“It was really encouraging as well as challenging,” participant Lindsay Thorburn said. “I’m so thankful I went. Jen talked about discipleship, which I sometimes see as a lot of things to do, but there is really no greater calling or honor than to follow Jesus. She gave background on the educational system of Jewish boys, explaining that only the most elite and highly educated could be discipled by a rabbi.”
“She gave a powerful visual example that the sign of a good disciple at the time was that they physically followed their rabbi so closely that when the rabbi kicked up dust while walking, you could see the dust on the disciple; he left his mark on the disciple,” Thorburn continued. “We can follow so closely behind Jesus that His mark is on us, and on our lives. Walking behind Jesus is a safe place to be, because He shows me the way. I’m not forging my path alone.”
Lindsay said that Jen challenged the audience to love others, simply because God said to.
“People know the difference between a relationship with an agenda, and a relationship with no agenda, one that is just based on love,” Lindsay explained. “I am to love and reach out to others because God called me to. And when we love the needy or the hard to love, we are really loving God.”
“We wanted this conference to help women to see what may be holding them back,” McCarty added. “We also wanted it to inspire them to step into something more with God.”
For highlights from the conference, go to http://costamesa.rockharbor.org/events/deeper-rh-womens-conference/
Cindy can be reached at [email protected]