Since I’ve been home from the incredible weekend I had at Proverbs 31 Ministry’s fantastic She Speaks Conference, I have been at a loss for how to blog about it. That’s right—Jenn couldn’t find any words. (Yes, I hear all my friends giggling in disbelief.) And since so many of you prayed, supported, and helped me prep, I wanted to give my best report.
How do I fully describe what an amazing, God-led, Spirit-infused, holy conference this was? How to take you to sit with me to the banquet hall as I listen to the hum of 700 women, called by God to speak or write His story in their lives, sharing their stories? Seriously, the sound of 700 women who love words is amazing. How do I do justice to the moments set-up by the God of all creation for women to come together with no competition or pettiness and cheer each other on? Even praying with random strangers when we discovered the other had a publisher meeting? That’s not even including the amazing women I met. Where to begin?!
So what helped me finally find the inspiration to begin sharing? A flat tire.
This conference was an amazing amount of information and encouragement. Its purpose was to equip us for the call God had placed on our lives—big or small. At the preconference opening session, speaker Lynn Cowell shared about her first time attending She Speaks. When she said she left early because she felt as though she’d drunk from a fire hose and could not take in any more, I thought she was nuts. Leave early? Are you kidding? I’m here to learn as much as I can! I was eating those thoughts on the last night when my brain turned to oatmeal.
I attended sessions on blogging and book writing, publishing books and honing my craft, building your platform and rediscovering your creativity, and so much more. In the keynote sessions, I was privileged to hear Lysa TerKeurst share from a place of vulnerability, the theme of her new book, The Best Yes, “Lord, unrush me!”
I heard from Christine Caine that we had better make sure God develops His image on us and accomplishes His will in our lives before we step into the spotlight or that spotlight will ruin us. Her talk was sobering in its spiritual depth.
Author Shaunti Feldhahn reminded us that we don’t have to figure out the next steps. God’s got that part. We just have to follow the stepping stones as He places them in our path. My notes from her talk include: “Don’t try to figure out HOW He’s going to do it. Go join Him and watch what He does.” She encouraged us, as did Glynnis Whitwer, that a “no” from a publisher was not necessarily a “no” from God. It may be “not now” or “rewrite” or even “not this publisher.”
So how is it I could feel so encouraged and equipped and at the same time return home and have no idea what to do next? How is it I could feel my blog needs so much work that I don’t even know where to begin or how I’ll pay for changes? How is it I can be armed with so much information and still feel like Ralphie sitting on Santa’s lap in A Christmas Story, unable to speak or move?
So I sat at home, snuggling kids in need to attention after a week away from mom, and rested. I waited. I gave a blog a stab and discarded it. Then today I took Jarod, my teen learning to drive, for a quick trip down the street, only to discover, he had a flat. Guess it’s time to teach him a life skill, I thought. And please, God, let me remember how since it’s been over 16 years.
As we began to tackle this task, I wrestled with calling someone to help. But deep down, I knew I could do this. I have done this. God had given me experience and knowledge to do this and teach it. And there began the answer in my head about my writing.
God had given me the experience to do this. He had given me a way with words that is unique and a story to tell that glorifies Him. This past week He provided tools to begin and places to go for information. Most importantly, the words of Christine Caine from a recent Facebook pic came to mind: “If you can figure out a way to make it happen, you need to dream bigger.” His dreams are beyond me!
God is still the one directing my path. It is the path He already laid out for me and, as promised in Ephesians 2:10, He is preparing me to do the good works He’s already planned for me. There is release there. There is freedom in letting go and trusting Him for what’s next.
For those of you who prayed for my conference and publisher meetings, thank you! The first publisher was a sound no. The second was an open door. She took my proposal because I “intrigued” her. The third was another open door. She wasn’t sure about my format but is willing to make notes on how to alter it to become what they are looking for and return it to me for changes. Even that was encouraging. If God wants something else from me, Oh Lord, let me be willing to change!
For those unfamiliar with publishing, those are two maybes on a long road. They could turn into no’s. They could turn into “yes, but….” But figuring that out isn’t my job. It’s God’s. And as I taught my sixteen-year-old to change a flat (and welcomed the help of a passing stranger), I felt the peace of knowing God will set before me the steps I need to take next.
Funny how God can use even a flat tire.