June 23, 2008

The Wind in My Hair (A Look Back at She Speaks)

We’re back from down South y’all. My friend Deb and I made it home last night from an amazing weekend at She Speaks.

As you know from my last post, I left with much anticipation and nervousness. Thankfully, most of my fears turned out to be unwarranted. And my outfits and shoes were more than acceptable. With 560+ women in attendance, it was a potpourri of ages, personalities and styles.

Did She Speaks meet my expectations?

As a first-time attendee I didn’t really know what to expect. But deep down, I had two hopes: one, that God would unleash my writing in a HUGE way. And two, that one of the published authors or editors would see the name on my name tag and exclaim, “Oh, I can’t believe it’s you—I’ve read your blog! You’re a great writer with such wise spiritual insight. We simply MUST publish your work!”

Perhaps I set my sights a bit high.

So, what was She Speaks to me? Most of all, it was a chance to live in the beauty of God’s truth for three days. We heard some absolutely amazing women of faith paint personal portraits of a God who’s real. A God who’s faithful. A God who works. And a God who PASSIONATELY loves each of us.

(I am in awe of the Proverbs 31 team and their deep, active love for Jesus. I had the opportunity to meet a few of them and they were just as lovely and sincere in person as they were on stage.)

She Speaks was a time to meet fellow aspiring writers, bloggers, ministry leaders and speakers. And, each was driven by the same passion: to share the amazing truth of this guy named Jesus. In their stories of personal victory, hope and abiding faith I saw not just the Creator of the universe, but a God who uses ordinary women to reveal His extraordinary glory.

She Speaks was a place to learn from seasoned professionals not only how to write better and navigate the ultra-competitive world of publishing, but also to focus on the reason we write: for His glory, not ours.

She Speaks was a chance for my dear friend and I to deepen a friendship born out of a shared love of the Lord. We drove our rented convertible with the wind in our hair, enjoyed late night conversations and shared experiences that are already cherished memories. Best of all, after spending almost 72 hours together non-stop, we’re still friends!

And She Speaks was a place where this reserved girl watched from afar the big experiences, big personalities and big plans it seemed God had in store for so many of the ladies. “But,” I wondered, “What about me?” And then, through Marybeth Whalen's session on Saturday, the Spirit touched my heart and God whispered, “I haven’t forgotten about you. Keep writing. Be patient. I have a plan for you.”

While I wanted the confernce to be a sprint to the finish, I see it was a mile in a marathon. In the end I learned three things. One: I don’t know where God's taking me. Two: I’m OK with that. And, three: the journey’s a lot more fun in a convertible!


Michelle said...

I'm glad I met you and Deb at the conference. I share many of your feelings. What an amazing weekend. I can't wait to what God does in and through us. Keep in touch!

Nancy said...

What a fantastic event. It sounds as thought the Lord met you in a very special way. He is so patient, kind, personal, and creative with all of His children. I am glad He blessed you through this trip.

I enjoyed visiting your blog and look forward to coming again soon!

In Him,

Sarah (GM) said...

So glad to have met you at the conference. Lovely post.

Being fellow Philly fanatics, let's keep in touch.

Justin said...

Hey, Kelli!

Thank you for sharing this blog post with me! Even though I'm neither a woman nor a person seeking publication, I was still gained something from your experience.

I especially love your last paragraph! I could read it over and over again. The one clause that I would add to that paragraph is this: Not only is the journey more fun in a convertible; it is also far more important than the destination. In a sense, the journey IS the destination. The journey IS the point.

Publication is a worthy goal that I'm condident you will achieve. But I hope that you would write even if no one else read your work but you and God!

In other words, I believe that God will use your writing to shape and change others. (I myself stand as proof of that!) But most of all, I believe that God will use your writing to shape and change YOU! And that is motivation and reward enough. ;-)

Lisa B @ simply His said...

“Oh, I can’t believe it’s you—I’ve read your blog! You’re a great writer with such wise spiritual insight. We simply MUST publish your work!”

Um, sorry, they were supposed to say that to me :D Oh didn't you love Friday night what Lysa said about Women of Faith? That was how I was feeling, and it really humbled me.

I'm so glad we met this weekend! I hate that you didn't get to ride on the Harley. Hubby got there at about 12 and we waited in the lobby hoping to catch you before you checked out, but maybe next time! Seriously consider taking a course like we talked about. You'd know by the end of the weekend if riding a motorcycle is a dream that should come true or stay a dream :)

Do keep writing, because now I'm going to keep coming back and checking up on you :)

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, thanks for the report on the conference -- sounds like God blessed in major ways. I'm so glad that He tenderly spoke words of encouragement to you. I'm pretty sure the writing gig is one step at a time for most of us. May God bless each and every step you take!

Rachel Olsen said...

Hi Kelli, I'm Rachel Olsen. I'm a published author, and on the P31 Ministry team. In fact, I'm the editor for our online devotions Encouragement for Today, which reaches over 200,000 women daily. I've read portions of your blog tonight and I'd like for you to submit a devotion for consideration for publication. Email me at rachel@proverbs31.org for the guidelines if you're interested.

I write all this not to show off my titles but to show you that God did not miss you ... there you go - you just had that She Speaks experience you were hoping for.

Smiles ~ Rachel