Proverbs 31 Ministries' She Speaks conference usually turns out to be one of the spiritual highlights for me annually, and this year is no exception. I can only say that gathering with 650 like-minded, Jesus loving women creates a glorious synergy unlike anything I've experienced.
This week I'm participating in Kelly Combs' She Speaks meme answering questions about the event and what I learned. You can participate or read other women's answers At Kelly's Blog.
1. What was the best advice you got at She Speaks? On Thursday evening I sat with Robin Phillips, an editor with Zondervan, during dinner. Each of the eight women at our table introduced themselves and shared a bit about what they did. When my turn came, I guess my discomfort about becoming an author showed, and Robin waved her hand in front of me and said, "Own it, girl!" God really used her words to show me that I need to embrace His gift and the process of becoming an author, instead of feeling awkward or unworthy. As Robin told me later, "You've signed a contract and you're writing a book, and that's a good thing." Thanks, Robin! Whatever gift God has given YOU, sweet blogging friends, I encourage you to embrace and own it!
2. What was the best lesson you learned in a session? Emily Freeman shared a powerful insight that made me think of the gift God has given me in an entirely new way. "Shouldn't we respect the gift (of writing) God has given us as much as we would respect the gift of being a doctor or a lawyer?" I immediately realized that I've wrestled with reluctance, fear and doubt over becoming an author and while some of that is natural--as transitions cause these issues to rise to the surface of our hearts--it never occurred to me to respect the gift. This places the precious gift of communication He has given me in a new, holy light. When we respect the gifts God has given us, we honor Him and we use the gifts wisely.
3. What are you going to do with what you learned/What is your next goal? I'm determined to practically walk out owning, embracing, and respecting the gift the Lord has entrusted to me. This means I will not allow fear, doubt or reluctance to hinder me. Practically, this means I will pray every single time I sense any of those feelings imposing themselves on my heart, and I will engage in positive, scripture-laden self-talk. I also intend to establish a daily schedule which maximizes my writing time. It's one thing to receive a gift, but it's our responsibility to embrace and nurture our gifts so that we can accomplish our God-given destinies and bring Him glory.
4. Anything else you want to share? (Good, bad, or ugly?) I arrived at the conference Thursday afternoon and was met at the airport by long-time blogging friend Bonita Lillie, who blessed my socks off with her sweet offer for a ride, her precious, calm disposition, and her touching prayer for me in my hotel room that covered everything in my heart. By Thursday night, I'd already experienced four divine appointments, including two powerful prayer sessions, and the weekend was just getting started.
I helped Glynnis Whitwer take care of a million details for conference publishing guests, hung out with my roomie, Leslie, met Rachelle Gardner, and met tons of Twitter and blogging friends, like her and her and her and many, many more--far too many to include here. What a joy!
But mostly, I met with Jesus. He is front and center at She Speaks. Because at She Speaks, He truly speaks. And that, my friends, is what it's all about.