My husband and I had never even heard of the conference until this past February when I was surfing one of my very most favorite blogs, Chatting at the Sky. I think I was avoiding some monumental task like cleaning up after dinner, when I came across Emily's story of how she was offered a book-writing contract at last year's She Speaks! conference. Reading her story made my heart really super excited (you know, like beating really fast, can't click fast enough kind of excited). Because I recognized my dream as I read about hers. (BTW, I so greatly admire this woman -- for her heart, for the way that she writes, for the way that she makes me think about mundane life stuff from an adoring-God kind of perspective.) So I took a risk and said it out loud to my husband. I told him I wanted to go to this conference. I reminded him of my dream. The one about being a published writer.
It's a dream I've not talked about much until recently. Because somehow saying it out loud makes failure accessible. What if I never do it? Or worse yet, what if I give it my every ounce of the best I've got and then fail? It's also a dream that my awesome husband has never, ever let me forget about. Like the birthday eight years ago when he rallied my parents, his parents and my sister to pay the registration fee for me to attend a Christian writer's conference the following summer. Even though I learned a lot at that conference, I never did anything with what I had learned. And I have always felt guilty about that, even though I was four months from birthing my first child and entering a season of life during which my only ministry focus would be feeding babies and wiping their
That night, I started praying that God would get me to the conference if that was what He wanted for me. So when I applied for the scholarship the next month, I expected God to saturate my entry with the same dew that He used to soak Gideon's fleece.
I didn't get the scholarship.
You might imagine that I was dissapointed. But, believing I had seen the fleece in all of its dryness, I asked God if He could maybe soak it for me next year.
Then my husband decided to surprise me for my birthday. He'd prayed about it and believed that God was leading us to send me to the conference!
I spent the next few months wondering if I'd finagled my way to getting what I wanted. I can be manipulative, you know. Then God nudged me one day as I sat upon my lawn mower praying. And with clarity, He reminded me that it was He Himself that planted this dream inside of me. That day, my question changed from "Will I succeed?" to "Am I willing to pursue it for no other reason than that He asked me to?"
Very first night, very first session. Lysa Terkeurst asked the same.exact.question.
Do you see what I wrote in my notes as she spoke that night?!? "Will you go just b/c He asked you to?" Yeah. I know!
While I was at the conference, I partook of immeasurable wisdom. Those Proverbs 31 ladies are anointed by God!!! Seriously! (And so many of them are southern that I was seriously beginning to wonder if God could annoint a northern girl like me to bring it. Then He put Karen Ehman on the stage, and, well, she definitely brought it! So -- thanks, Karen, for representing us northerners so well. :-P) And, again, He brought me to a point in my spirit where I had to deal with more questions...
- What am I afraid of -- if God is with me? (um, He promised. So He is!)
- Do I believe that He called me to this? Even if I don't "succeed" by the world's definition of that word?
- Am I willing to stand right smack inside of what God has called me to, not comparing my calling with anyone else's? AND Am I excited for other people when it is their turn and not mine?
- Why do I want this? Is my purpose to make God famous? Or is it to make myself famous?
- Am I really on the same team as these amazing women of God or are they just somehow especially annointed, extraordinarily called?
I am still processing. Thankfully, I had all of last week to begin the process of the processing while on vacation at the beach with my family. But, in all honesty, most of that time was spent, well, swimming. So I am certain that you will be reading more bits as I soak in more truths from my weekend at She Speaks!
Oh, and I even got to meet Emily! We're friends now. ;) Just sayin'.