"Our prayer for you this weekend is that you will be encouraged, equipped and empowered as you prepare for God's unique calling on your life..."
This was the purpose the Proverbs 31 ministry team listed in the front of our GORGEOUS She Speaks conference books, and it was fulfilled.
I'm still in the process of pondering, but I must write...it's time to let some praises ring.
This She was encouraged:
* I was encouraged by corporate worship. To sing and pray along with Cheri Keaggy, as well as 600+ women set my heart on fire, and released my tears to water it.
*I was encouraged by a group of women bloggers (a group too large to mention each by name but will probably end up in the form of a story at some point) who all "knew" each other and invited me to join their lunch parties anyway. (photo below) As I listened to them talk, I was so blessed by their heart to minister to women with their own unique voices in the world of blogging. I also learned that I am not a true blogger; instead, I'm a writer who has a blog. Believe you me, this is true. (But I know who to call with questions, no doubt). And I laughed. And laughed. And spewed that sugary sweet North Carolina tea all over. Heather, especially ;) would get me rolling, then Lisa would calm me down (and get me to the airport on time. Thank you.) :)
*I was encouraged by my roommate, Amy Bayliss. We talked, we laughed, we prayed, we got past the surface. She is more amazing than I ever imagined. And besides, she brought me a beautiful journal, the best-smelling candle ever, and CHOCOLATE. Need I say more?
*I was encouraged by the speakers, Lysa TerKeurst, Jennifer Rothschild (my spiritual hero on earth), and Renee Swope. I will be chewing on their messages for an ENORMOUSLY long time, applying them as God enables me to do so. I'm compelled to say that every single time Lysa prayed, I cried. I've been starting my day with "Good morning, my Jesus," and ending it with "Good night, my Jesus" ever since.
*I was encouraged by Suzanne Eller, who happened to get the seat right next to me on the airplane ride home. For me, that was no accident, only a God-incident. She encouraged me with her powerful story, her wisdom in the Lord and in the writing business, and she confirmed some of my thoughts about ministry as well. I am ordering her book, "The Mom I Want To Be" today, and I can't wait to read it through the grid of the authentic and beautiful person I met on the airplane.
*I was encouraged by Zoe Elmore and the rest of my speaker evaluation group. Hopefully, they were mutually encouraged by me. But Zoe made each one of us feel relaxed, and she pumped us up in the process. I can't wait to read her book when it's completed (wink). She is already an AMAZING speaker, and quite stylin' I have to say.
*I was encouraged by catch phrases like "Grace, Grace, Grace," and "in ministry, there should be no competition." Can you imagine what our world would look like if all of us lived with those beliefs out in front of us?
This She was equipped:
*I was equipped with so much incredible information about speaking and writing through the workshops that I know I will be processing it for many months. Micca Campbell was a HUGE highlight of my weekend, and I can't wait to buy her book and soak in the message that she speaks and lives. I also need more of her sense of humor. It is ADDICTING.
*I was equipped with resources galore. I had access to books, music and advice from professionals to help me become better at my calling. I even learned what colors fit my skin type by the "What Not To Wear" expert, Shari Braendel.
*I was equipped spiritually. This team put more emphasis on giving us what we needed spiritually than they did in any other area. They know the secret to any success in life at all starts with a relationship with Jesus Christ. As someone who is passionate about ministry, this impressed me above anything else.
This She was empowered:
*I was empowered with God-confidence. Each and every time I felt inadequate or unable to do what I was supposed to be doing, the Lord used someone or something at the conference to build me up. And I saw this happening ALL OVER THE PLACE.
*I was empowered with God's Word. Truth was everywhere you looked and listened. All that was needed was a soft, surrendered heart for that Truth to sink in and make a difference. It did for me.
*I was empowered by the Holy Spirit. He worked on me, He moved in me, He strengthened me, He humbled me, He showed up. Especially in the prayer room the team set up for us. I spent some time there allowing the Holy Spirit to still and speak to my tired, anxious and hungry heart.
*I was encouraged and empowered to live out my calling. And yes, it is a calling. It doesn't matter to me if I communicate his name to ten or to ten hundred. It doesn't matter to me if that is through writing, speaking, outreach, giving or encouraging. I will live out my calling in Spirit and in Truth with the Lord's power and strength doing the work in and through me. And if I forget this, it's right here "out loud" on my blog for any of you to remind me at a moment when you see me thinking otherwise.
Many thanks, and much love to the Proverbs 31 staff and ministry team, to all my new friends, and especially to my Jesus. I paused. I pondered. And now I praise You, my Lord, my Savior, my Life. Thank You.
Out to lunch with the blogging ladies. Wowzer, if I only had an ounce of the knowledge they do...and they have the gift of gab too, which of course, I know NOTHING about. My sweet roomie, Amy. She is a woman inspired, and she inspired me in more ways than ten. Kidnapped to lunch from the conference (shhhhh). I need a boot camp after that burger & pile of fries I consumed. My speaker evaluation group. I was in awe at the stories these ladies shared. We all went out on a limb to share a piece of ourselves (albeit just 3 & 5 minute pieces...though we tried our hardest to stretch the time), and I was enriched in the process. Amy and I kept running into Lisa, and it would've been cool to have her as a 3rd roomie. She took the time to pray over me before I walked into my 2nd publisher's meeting. I can't wait to share with her why that ministered to me so much. "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 4:11