The She Speaks Writer’s and Speaker’s conference has begun registration. Those of you who have followed this blog or are friends of mine know that I attended the conference last year for the first time. Lysa Terkeurst is running a contest to win a scholarship to the conference. You can read about the contest here: http://lysaterkeurst.com/2011/03/she-speaks-scholarship-contest-2011/
This post is my attempt at winning a scholarship to attend again this year.
The conference itself is an incredible opportunity for anyone interested in pursuing teaching God’s word to women through writing, speaking or as a woman’s ministry leader. Last year I was completely overwhelmed by the wealth of information that is provided. The opportunities for learning were beyond my expectations. You can learn more about the conference here: http://shespeaksconference.com/ or you can use the button on the left side of this blog.
So why do I want to go again this year?
Well, quite honestly……
I don’t know.
Please bear with me as I explain.
It hasn’t been until recently that I have wanted to write and speak. I didn’t realize until late in life that I had this dream buried deep inside. Even after I acknowledged my dream, I never thought I was capable. I still don’t understand. I don't know why I have this desire. I always enjoyed books and reading. That doesn’t make me a writer does it?
I stumbled upon Proverbs 31 Ministries about 6 years ago when I was working full time and needed to find a free email devotion. From there I discovered Lysa Terkeurst and all of the other wonderful women of Proverbs 31. I began following their blogs. Each of them had their own stories and ministries. Every day I received encouragement through their teachings of God’s word.
That’s when I felt the first nudge.
I wondered if it would be possible to ever do what they were doing.
Was I smart enough? Pretty enough? Did I have anything to say?
Then during my church’s missions conference we had a guest speaker. I was completely captivated by the way this man gave his message. I remember thinking “I want to do that. I want to inspire people. I want to get people fired up about God.” After that day, I signed up to go on my very first missions trip. As a requirement of the trip, I was asked to write my testimony. This was something I had never done before. No one at my church knew my story of how I came to Christ. They didn’t know I had tried to kill myself as a teenager. I was terrified, but I obeyed and wrote the testimony.
That was the second nudge.
I began to write constantly about events of my life. It was like a dam breaking. I showed some of what I wrote to a woman I knew who had taught English on the college level. She gave me wonderful feedback and encouraged me to keep writing. About this time I found out about the She Speaks Conference. I felt a desire to go but I quickly brushed it aside. I had lots of excuses. The price was too high. I just didn’t think this was something that was for me. I didn’t think I had anything to write or say. What business did I have writing a book? What would make me think that I could stand up in front of people and speak? God couldn’t and wouldn’t use someone like me, would He?
Deep down, though there this bud of a dream had begun to grow even though I couldn’t explain the reason why it was there.
Little by little the nudges kept coming. I started a blog in an attempt to win a scholarship to the conference. I didn’t win, but I kept the blog going.
Last year my husband paid for me to go to the conference. I didn’t even realize he knew I wanted to go. I had kept this part of myself a secret to most people including him. I was happy that he had done this for me for all of about 5 minutes. Then the doubts started again. Thoughts that creeped in and reminded me that I was not capable. I am too ordinary. I am not qualified. I don’t have enough education. People like me don’t write books or speak in public. And really? There’s a part of me that believes those thoughts. Sometimes I wonder if I’m chasing after something that isn’t attainable. I worry I might be wasting my time.
And then right before the conference I received an email from Lysa Terkeurst. Now she sent it out to everyone, but it felt like she was speaking directly to me. In the message she talked about how she felt the first time she went to a conference. She had been scared, nervous and unsure too. It seemed like she had also felt like she didn’t belong there. She made it a point to encourage each of us who were going with these words: “Sweet sister, can I put your heart at ease? Right now, the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks prayer team is praying for you by name. The office staff is putting together a packet of registration materials with your name on it. There is a badge being printed with your name on it. There are slips of paper being prepared for the conference prayer room and one of those slips has your name on it. Your name. The name that the Lord says is engraved on the palm of His hand. Your name. There is a reason your name is on the registration list for She Speaks.”
Oh, I can’t tell you what those words meant to me. For the first time since being nudged into this journey I felt like I belonged. I didn’t know why God wanted me to do this, but with those words from Lysa I was sure that it was ok for me to be there. I was sure that this dream that was growing was doing so for a reason.
Since the conference last year, I have become more confident and am writing more than ever. I joined a critique group. I have been blessed with positive feedback from the women in my group. I have even been told that I should write the book I’ve been planning for a few years now in my mind.
I considered that another nudge.
If given the chance to go to the conference again this year I will be bringing the proposal for that book.
I still don’t know why God would use someone like me. I don’t know why I should even attempt to follow this dream. I struggled with entering this contest. The only thing I know for sure is that I am going to continue to be obedient to those nudges from God and follow this where ever it leads.