I love that Courtney DeFeo is hosting a blog link-up* on her site today! (*That means any bloggy people can “link up” together on her site and exchange ideas/conversations about a certain topic.)
Major thanks to @LilLightOMine for constantly championing us to engage in deep thought, rich community and selfless service all for the glory of God. She is just plain awesome!
WHAT I LEARNED AT “SHE SPEAKS 2014”:
1. I still get nervous when I walk into a situation where I don’t know anyone. Honestly! You’d think a 4o-year-old (I was 40 back in July) mother of 4 would just be happy to be by herself on a plane, in a taxi and in a hotel room (and believe me, I WAS)! But goodness gracious, I texted Courtney within 10 seconds of checking into my room to see if she knew anyone that needed a buddy for dinner. (I knew Courtney had a dinner reservation with the conference presenters. woot! woot!) Turns out she knew someone. Which leads me to point #2…
2. God is in the business of divine appointments. As it happened, Courtney’s roommate (the other Courtney whom she had literally just met in person thanks to their online friendship in world-wide-blogosphere) was free and, lo and behold, she didn’t know a soul either! So we shook hands, grabbed a shuttle to the nearest non-Applebee’s restaurant and shared our stories with each other over chips and salsa and just maybe, a peach margarita. I wanted to know what it was like to be Blessed by Brenna and boy did her words touch my heart. I love the friendship God sparked that night. (Courtney Westlake is an inspiration and I am excited to cheer her on as she dives into the publishing world in her own right. Her book will be amazing!) I always want to anticipate God’s presence and keep my mind open to the idea of divine appointments in the midst of everyday life.
(PS – Courtney DF was also a divine appointment two years ago when I plopped myself in the chair next to her at She Speaks 2012 when, once again, I knew no one.) God is a serious event coordinator. He thinks of everything!
3. Apparently, I also still care what other people think of me. As an aspiring writer (I’m guessing this might plague artists of any genre), it’s hard to separate my art (especially if it just so happens to be a story largely ABOUT our journey as a family) from who I am as a person. You can read more about this little journey in some of my recent posts. I know a lot of it’s “just business” and “not personal.” But such rejection, however logical it may be, still stings the flesh every now and again.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” — Ernest Hemingway. ‘Nuff said.
4. Rejection (if embraced) can lead to revelation. The keynote speaker the very night of the “tears” incident was none other than bring-it-home Pentecostal preacher, Christine Caine. Let me tell you! God packed a lot of passion and fire and “what-for” inside her little 5′ frame. Ms. Caine brought the house down with her inspired teaching on the anointing of King David. David waited TWENTY years between the moment he was anointed king of Israel and when he finally took the throne. That’s a long time. But all the while, God was impressing HIS IMAGE onto David’s heart. After years in “the darkroom,” soaking in the solution of God’s Spirit, the door opened and God announced that it was time.
“If God has assigned you, He will find you.”
“Don’t short-circuit the process. God uses the broken. The level of anointing directly coincides to the level of brokenness… A testimony (by definition) must be tested!”
— Christine Caine
5. God isn’t finished with me yet. This journey is exactly that – a journey. He’s not finished with me and He’s not finished with you. (Can I get an amen?!) What sad, entitled, boring people we would be if we “arrived” anywhere short of our God-ordained “arrival date.” He is the author of our story – the perfecter of our faith. New wine must be put into new wineskins. (I love that Jesus continually used wine as a metaphor – that’s my kind of guy.) I don’t ever want to revert to the old me. I long to press on into WHATEVER God has for me on this crazy journey.
6. God is a gentleman. He doesn’t force. He invites. He pursues and He woos. And I for one, want to keep walking hand in hand with Him. No matter how unsure I feel, no matter how often I forget what really matters, He will always keep putting His plan in front of me and that is for sure a #best yes!
7. Moms are serious goofballs. This year Proverbs 31 turned 22. Is that as clear as mud? Anyway! One night, the banquet room was ablaze with flickering candles on each table and filled to the brim with about 800 women away from home. Need I say more? Strike up the band! Those talented musicians belted out Taylor Swift’s song … you guessed it! “22” And all the moms of pre-teens and then some sang the lyrics with serious fervor. And then, the beach balls came out! Yes, that’s right. Beach balls. Those things started flying around the room and (bless our hearts) we tried to keep them afloat. We tried to muster our inner teenager, but those balls landed every which way. Glasses of water and sweet tea were spilling left and right. I could NOT keep it together. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. Phew. Thank you, P31 ministry team, for that. Good times. And happy birthday!
8. Last but not least — You’re never too old to pursue a dream. I used to write – in high school. And then, I grew up. I forgot about this love of words that God wove in me all those years ago. As the years passed, I pursued other good, noble, lovely things – but I forgot how much I loved to write. I forgot how writing brought fresh salve to my soul. I forgot how I loved to look at the world with a tilt in my head and an eyebrow raised and wonder just how to process what I saw and felt. I never fancied myself an artist, but I suppose when you’re the daughter of one (i.e., the grand creator of the universe!) you can’t help but carry some of that DNA.
I learned that I am still learning and following God is worth it.
Might as well swing for the fences!