Restless Bible Study || Danville, Illinois Edition || May-July 2014 || women loving Jesus and each other



in may i read a book by this amazing, real, beautiful woman named jennie allen. 
and it changed me. 
the book was called restless. 

my heart was so needing to do something.

all i knew  was : 

i had a passion for women. 

women who need Jesus. 

women who already knew Jesus. 

women who wanted to know more about Jesus. 

women who need other women.

women that i need in my life. 

women that need me. 

so, 

where do i start?

what do i do?

after reading this book i knew i had to move. 
i knew God was tugging at my heart telling me to do something but i had no idea what the heck he wanted me to do.

 i thought he couldn't possibly be asking me to lead a bible study because i'm pretty close to the last person on earth who should ever lead a bible study. 

i don't speak well in public. 
my heart races and i talk funny. 
i sweat. a lot. 
and i'm just a mess. 

but my heart was so changed by this book that i just didn't even care. 
i just needed to get women in my house to go over this study with me. 

i found the restless study  and decided to jump. 
i put it out there and waited to see if anyone wanted to join.

i sweated while i waited.

15 girls! 
15 women who committed to coming every week. FOR EIGHT WEEKS. 
to learn and study about their Creator! 

just.
wow. 

they were really kind. 
i didn't know what i was doing and i have a fairly small house.
it was great. 
one of the moms let me borrow their kids bean bag chairs. 
(which i still need to get back to her. sorry, sarah.)
another friend gave me all her chairs, too. 
(also. need to get those back to her. thanks, beth.
and your ice tea pitcher.)
(basically, never let me borrow anything.)
and i have one couch and one love seat. 
and a few photography prop chairs. 
we made it work and it was amazing. 

oh, yeah! and we also didn't have AC for.. well, a lot of the weeks. 
the most hot weeks. naturally. 
so we were very sweaty. 
and that was okay. 
Jesus is just that important. 

throughout the 8 weeks we grew. 
we grew together. 
we grew closer to God. 
we explored together. 
we struggled together. 
we shared our hearts and we were extremely honest. 

it is so so good to know these women. 
and i know (because they told me last night) 
that it has been so good for them to meet each other and work through this study. 

we are all different ages. 
we are all in very different stages in life. 

i just wish i could share with you the words that these women shared last night. 

i just have so much i want to share in this blog post. 
 it's actually completely overwhelming (in the best way,) that i can't even handle 
typing it all out for you. 
i think it would take me 4 days to get it all out. 

we're learning of God's grace. 
of his mercy. 
of his wrath. 
of his jealous heart. 

how he wants us to live. 
how great his Word is. 

we're learning how he loves. 
and how we should love. 

we're learning to love our places. 
(some of us are having a harder time of that than others ;) ) 

we're learning to love our people.

we're learning to do life. 

we're struggling though this life together. 
we are not alone. 

we're creating a safe place to be a woman. 
as messy and as beautiful and as broken as you are. 

find some people.
do this study. 

if i can do it, you can do it. 
honestly.

so, for our last hurrah i had to rent out this gorgeous white oak barn at our favorite park.
i had this planned since we got to visit this beautiful
 location while working a sweet wedding rehearsal back in june. 

i thought, man this would be a gorgeous location to celebrate with my bible study babes. 
that's what i call them. i just made it up. 
i don't know. 
i do these things. 

they fill my heart.

 i hope you can feel the hearts in these photographs. 

these woman are real. 
they have real aches and pains. 
they have real joy and real sorrow. 
they know Jesus and they know they are loved. 
they want so much to learn God's will for their life. 

and they know now to start living for eternity instead of living for ourselves. 





normally i'm the one taking the photos.
now, of course you know i still take plenty of selfies.

but i just will love this image forever.
it reminds me of exactly how i felt in this moment. 

and i have this memory captured for a lifetime.
thanks to my babe for capturing it. 

my heart was so heavy but also free & light at the same time. 
a little bit because i was nervous but also because there is just nothing more important to me in life than talking about and sharing the name of Jesus. and that puts an incredible weight on my heart. 

i loved setting up for this celebration. 
i was quiet and tried to breathe it all in. 

i love making things look pretty. 
i love art. 
i see so much beauty in queen anne's lace in a simple mason jar. 
i love barn wood and campfires. 
i love women. 
i love Jesus. 
i adore gatherings where women just pour their hearts out and know they will still be loved at the end of their crazy rant. because we get it. 
we're crazy, too. 

i need this in my life. 
i need more of it. 
i need women to know that God loves them.
and wants them. 
forever and ever. 
he sent his son for them. 
he shed his blood for them. 

it's so so good.