Written by Bethany Hengst on September 14, 2021.
130 women recently gathered at Alliance’s first Devoted Conference to hear from author and licensed counselor, Nicole Zasowski. Nicole “came up the mountain” to encourage women to live as fully devoted followers of Christ. Based on Romans 12, Nicole highlighted that God‘s devotion to us is our “essential starting point” which enables us to have authentic devotion to Him and His people.
Nicole is no stranger to suffering. Through five miscarriages, an incurable disease, and the sting of exclusion, she still maintains: “A dark world doesn’t reflect the character of a devoted God, nor is He the author of our suffering.” He is devoted to us regardless of our circumstances, independent of our performance, feelings, or degree of faith, and He is the source of Hope in times of struggle.
Because of God’s devotion, we can be fully devoted to Him as living sacrifices–holy and transformed. Without reliance on God’s transformation, our love is driven by the “bad fuel” of fear and perfectionism and results in a form of love that is phony, inconsistent, and selfish. In our flesh, true love is impossible, and we revert to loving only those we find easy to love—the people who look, talk, and think like us.
Yet, “There are no circles [cliques] at the foot of the cross,” Nicole asserts. Christ is just as devoted to the one who struggles as He is to anyone else. We need to “avoid avoidance” and work out our differences since “destructive behavior doesn’t occur in a vacuum.” Fueled by God and a full appreciation of what He has done for us, each believer can walk in true humility with a love that is sincere, patient, and hospitable, so that “all the ways Christ shows up for us” are fully realized within ourselves and our communities.
The Devoted Conference offered times of intimate worship and four breakout sessions including, “A People of Testimony: Ordinary Words of Devotion,” “Movement Breaks,” “Bible Journaling,” and “Boarding School: Charcuterie 101.” Each attendee enjoyed lunch and a gift bag with Nicole’s latest book, From Lost to Found.