Friday, March 11, 2011

She Speaks contest be or not to be?

I'm hoping to attend the She Speaks Christian conference this summer for women interested in speaking, writing and/or women's ministry. 
This is my entry for a chance to win 1 of 2 scholarships being offered.
More information regarding the conference is at the end of this post. 

My husband Gene has always been the main provider of our family of five; often working 13 hour days between both of his jobs. Three years ago life as we knew it changed for what we thought would be a short season. Over time we would see that God had something else in mind for us.

April 3, 2008 Gene had back surgery and after 3 nights in a hospital an hour away from our family he was discharged. On April 9th, I left Gene in bed to recover and rest while I took our teenage daughter to a hospital and witnessed the birth of our first granddaughter. As summer came to a close, I realized my husband wouldn't be returning to work anytime soon, so I kept my day job and got an overnight job to help pay for medical bills and diapers. April 2009 my husband had a second back surgery and in June our daughter had her second little girl. 

Two surgeries, two grand babies and two jobs. 
This was not the happily ever after I had dreamed of living out.

In the fall of 2007 I stumbled upon a blog written by Rachel Olsen of Proverbs 31 Ministries. I had never heard of either and was captivated by not only her writing, but the ministry itself. P31 offers free, encouraging devotions sent daily by e-mail, an affordable monthly magazine that focuses on God and blogs written by some down to earth, godly women. The ministry also offers an annual conference called She Speaks to equip writers, speakers and women with a passion for ministry. The summer of 2008 I attended my first She Speaks in Concord, North Carolina registered for the writer's sessions. 

I remember sitting in my first session and the speaker told us how we needed a platform such as a book, a ministry or writing for magazines. It was as if  Ms. Insecurity suddenly took a seat beside me and began to whisper doubt into my ear. As tears began to fill my eyes I realized I lacked a platform and I began to question the why of my presence at a writers conference. Who was I to waste the time of the publisher's I was to meet with the next day, one of them being the man speaking about platforms. And then he said it. 
"If you have a blog, that can be your platform". 

I sat straight up, blinked my tears back in and elbowed Ms. Insecurity hard enough to knock her off her chair. Instant validation. 
I belonged at She Speaks and the only time being wasted was when I listened to the enemy whisper sweet nothings in my ear. I was right where God wanted me to be and He had already given me a platform; I just didn't know it until that moment.

Before I ever stepped foot in North Carolina, God had given me the idea of doing Bible studies and I was excited about hosting one in my home. Since God knew surgery and a grand baby would bloom in the spring, He closed a door I thought He had opened and it left me confused and frustrated. After reading "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" by Lysa TerKeurst, the idea of leading a Bible study re-surfaced, but it was clear I was to do it on my blog instead of in my home.

My first online blog study was a few months before She Speaks. A group of women I had only met through the internet joined me and we read and then blogged our thoughts on one chapter a week. I named the online study "Yes to God Tuesday's". After attending She Speaks, I led women through four more online studies. 

I began to see the difference between my vision and what God wanted me to be doing. While I wanted to lead a small Bible study in my home, He took me around the world through my blog. I met weekly with women from all over the United States and even three women from different areas of Australia. He also introduced me to a woman in Malaysia named Sheena who wrote me to tell me how she was inspired to start her own "Yes to God" group after participating in my 3rd study.  

One thing that stuck to my heart when I heard it at She Speaks was when Lysa said how after attending a conference and she was leaving, "feeling excited only to be hit with a shocking dose of reality back home."
She then encouraged us to "not resent the task of your everyday life because it is preparing you for ministry."

I don't resent the last 3 years. 
I embrace them.
Grandma of two beauties before I even turned 40.
Total of 4 surgeries and being diagnosed with other health issues keeps my hard working husband unable to work.
I'm still working both jobs to make ends meet. 
Not the life neither one of us had planned, but we can honestly say that we wouldn't trade where we are with Jesus for anything and of course those babies have been the biggest blessings.
The last 3 years have changed us for our good. 
I have to continue to share Jesus with others, but I believe it's time to be shared outside the walls of my blog. 
My blog is comfortable for me and I truly believe God is ready to change the platform again. 

Currently I am not doing blog studies. 
Instead, God gave me the green light to lead a group of women through the book, "Made to Crave".
I get to meet with a small group of women every Monday night. 
His group. 
His platform. 
One amazing God.
And I want more of Him.

I hope to win a scholarship to She Speaks so that I can continue to live out the plans God has for me and I believe this Christ-centered conference will give me the tools necessary to keep moving forward. To write and speak about Jesus Christ, my One and Only.

If writing, speaking and/or women's ministry is a fire burning within the walls of your heart, don't let it blow out. Instead, let God flame the fire that He Himself lit. 
Check into going to She Speaks in July. 
I have no idea what your story is or what He wants you to share with others through the spoken or written word or both, but what I do know is that He is worth speaking and writing about. 

Click HERE to be directed to Lysa TerKeurst's blog to read her post about the contest and how to enter no later than Friday March 11th.
Recipients of the scholarships will be announced on Monday, March 13th on Lysa's blog. 

To visit the Proverbs 31 Ministry website click HERE and get signed up for the free daily devotionals.
Thank You Jesus for where You've brought me from, through and where you're taking me.
I choose to say YES even before I know what You have planned
To read more about She Speaks click HERE for all the information about this year's conference.  



elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I hope you can come, sister. You've been so faithful in your walk with Christ over this long season; I know you will be blessed by time with good friends and with Jesus.

I hope I can come as well.


Melanie said...

I enjoyed reading about your journey!

Mari said...

I am praying you win. I am hoping to go this year. God seems to be clearing the way where it seemed like only roadblocks. I would so love to see you :)

lisasmith said...

oh girlfriend, how i hope to hug you there this summer!! you bless me xoxo

phzlt said...

So glad you posted a Lysa's blog today! Your comment yesterday on mine didn't leave a link - so I couldn't find you. I am praying for you. I hope God provides and you are able to attend She Speaks this year. He is more than able.
Blessings, new friend!

Zoe said...

Thank you for your open and honest post on my blog. I'm praying the Lord will meet your EVERY need with HIS perfect provision. I hope to continue to learn from you s you continue to post.