This has been a year of firsts for me.
I began my first blog.
I was a keynote speaker for the first time.
I saw my first client as a marriage & family therapist.
I attended my first writer’s conference.
In July, I had the opportunity to attend the She Speaks conference in Concord, NC.
As a new writer/blogger, I was intimidated to go to this conference, realizing that I don’t know what I don’t know about writing.
She Speaks is part of Proverbs 31 Ministries and exists to teach and equip women to step into their calling and giftedness in the areas of writing, speaking and women’s ministry.
All of my life I have been consistent in one facet of my life; I tend to end up in situations by unconventional methods.
My experience in how I ended up going to She Speaks was no different.
I only began blogging in January of this year. I was completely unfamiliar with Proverbs 31 Ministries until a month prior to hearing about the conference and I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but knew that my heart skipped a beat or two the first time I stumbled across the conference website for She Speaks.
There were many obstacles to overcome before I could go to She Speaks. The first of many was my husband. I sheepishly told him of my desire to attend and waited for him to scoff. That didn’t happen; instead he was very supportive of the idea, but ultimately he became the bearer of bad news.
Going to She Speaks was not in our budget.
Until this moment, I did not realize how important writing had become to me.
Initially I felt defeated. I tried to prepare myself to let the opportunity pass by. As I prayed and asked God to help me be okay with not going, my heart was not ready to let it go.
I prayed and asked the Lord to provide a way for me be able to attend. I learned of some scholarship and fundraising opportunities through the She Speaks website and hope was rekindled.
It became clear to me that God was stirring my heart. Recognizing the window of opportunity remained open; I sent out a fundraising letter to some of my close friends and ministry partners, asking if they would support me in pursuing my calling as a writer and speaker.
The response was overwhelming and incredibly affirming.
In 10 days time my conference fees were fully funded AND someone had donated airline miles for my ticket.
So with little more than a few months of blogging under my belt, I flew 3,000 miles to attend She Speaks.
I arrived ready to learn the nuts and bolts of writing for publication, grammar do’s and don’ts and helpful tips from seasoned authors.
What I did not expect was the careful attention to matters of the heart.
Throughout the course of the conference the emphasis was not on creating a highly marketable platform or collecting followers on facebook, twitter and Google+.Rather the focus revolved around knowing the Lord God, listening to His heart, following His unique call and using the gifts He has imparted to each one.
This was a long, slow, deep breath for my soul. I did not need to have the perfect book proposal, I did not need to have an amazing social media following, I simply needed to follow the One who called me and offer Him my heart.
She Speaks may have been my first writer’s conference, but I doubt it will be my last.
I began the conference as a reluctant blogger, but returned as a courageous writer.
I discovered a few things about myself at She Speaks.
I write because I love the written word.
I write because it is where I am able to fully express the depth and breadth of my thoughts and emotions.
I write because the Lord has called me and I want to be responsible with the gift He has given me.
What about you, why do you write?