I was 22 when I first wore mascara. In our home beauty was a scorned woman and adornment her harlotry. I asked for my first nail polish when I was nine and my father offered toilet water instead. I ran crying to my room and it was a family joke, but I still don't paint my nails.

My brains were my brawn and I was the first and only to graduate from college and twice over. I made a tent of my blankets, lit by a flashlight, and read Emily Dickinson, the plain and proper poet. Women are workhorses and beauty is fleeting; fear the Lord and the father, never be a robust and full and beautiful woman. She is the whore on the street stealing innocence from the eyes of boys.

Be smart, but not too smart.

A few years ago a friend told me what he appreciated most about me was my femininity, that I was wholly his sister and he my brother; that my femininity was trustworthy, and I wept from the backseat.

My womanhood is the biggest wrestle of my soul, every time I glimpse a peek at the beauty within, I convince myself of its vaporousness and it flees. Charm is deceitful, but it doesn't always say you are the most beautiful, sometimes it says you are the most unworthy.

My heart, more than anything, is to take the faces of women around me, wipe the black from the eye-rims and the red from their lips, point them to a mirror where their blemishes are bold and say, "This. This is the you He loves. This is the you He values. This is the you He came to redeem."

Because we are so hurried in our covering, so quick to fix, and slow to let bloom.

I have never thought myself as a teacher, but like Robert Frost said, "as an awakener." I want to awaken the worth in the heart of women, to show them their minds and hearts are as valuable as any other attribute, maybe more. I want to wake it in myself, but I know of no other way to do that than to do it alongside others. I want to ask the question: If, then?

If God created and it was good, then what?

If God knit us together, just as we are, then what?

If God formed our minds, our bodies, and our souls, then what?

If God, then what?

Will you join a generation of women in asking those questions?

On February 7-8, 2014 in Austin, Texas, we'll be gathering to discuss, dream, and determine what it can look like it we see God at the helm of us, and all of us poured out, blemishes and brokenness, and all to Him.

Sign up now for the IF Gathering.

Join Jennie Allen, Lauren Chandler, Ann Voskamp, Jen Hatmaker, and all of us as we work to awaken our generation of women to the beauty of God's goodness and design.

IF : LEAD We are gathering and uniting a team of women, who already lead our generation, and unleashing them to lead in their spheres of influence. Together we will create a community and foster an ethos – connecting, encouraging and collaborating together.

IF : GROW We are creating a blueprint for intentional equipping – reaching women with tools that are holistic, strategic and deep. By providing easy online access to a like-minded community and relevant resources, we will release women around the world to live out their purposes. // Online · 2014

IF : GATHERING A fresh, deep, honest space for a new generation of women to wrestle with the essential question: IF God is real… THEN what? This 2-day conference brings women together and wrestles out how to live out the calling God has placed on our lives. // Austin, TX Feb. 7–8 2014

IF : GLOBAL By partnering with organizations like Food for the Hungry, coming alongside women around the world, fostering relationships and utilizing our God-given gifts, our hope is that this movement will not only transforms hearts but leave a tangible impact on the world.

Sign up now for the IF Gathering.

Read what others are saying:

Jennie Allen Lindsey Nobles Jen Hatmaker Sarah Bessey Sarah Markley Logan Wolfram Kelly Stamps