I shouldn’t have even been at ACFW this year.
Let me explain.
The last twelve months have been a busy blur, raising our one year old, launching our web design services, and editing my novel. I had little hope of making it to the conference this year, due to the responsibilities of being a new mom, the craziness of our schedule and finances. And I was okay with that, for the most part. It wasn’t meant to be, I told myself.
But God surprised me.
One morning in April, I got a call from Deborah Raney with the news that I had won a scholarship to go to ACFW. I burst out in tears. For several minutes, I just sat there in shock – happy, humbled shock. God was sending me to conference. On no merit of my own, but out of His pure graciousness and plans for me.
I wish I could better describe how honored and humbled I was to receive such a gift. ACFW is an amazing organization and the people are so kind. I hadn’t dreamed I’d be able to go this year, but God smiled upon my insecurities and lack of faith and took me there anyway.
What He had in store for me brings me to tears every time I think about it. My heart is so full this Monday morning after conference. It’s nice to be back in the quiet Ozarks. There’s nothing like home for this country girl. I’ve sat here, sipping my coffee, soaking in the sounds of crickets and birds outside my window, and reminiscing.
I haven’t even unpacked yet. The laundry still awaits and I’ve noticed new cobwebs in the corners of my house that weren’t there before. But all of that can wait. This is more important.
I just want to thank everyone at ACFW for the blessing they are to me. From the gift of the scholarship to their sweet hugs and welcome, they inspire me to be brave and keep writing.
If there was one thing I could take away from the conference this year, it would be the abundant love of God I witnessed in the eyes, hearts, and actions of everyone I met. From the wonderful worship sessions to the individual classes to the conversations I had with friends – old and new. I was so blessed to see such passion for the Lord and watch His hand at work in so many lives.
He was there with us. I can’t help smiling every time I think about. He was there in the songs we sang and the prayers we prayed. He held my hand through appointments, every last nervous moment of it. And He’s with me again today, reminding me of His goodness and love and plan for my life and stories.
For those of you who are too nervous to attend ACFW (but inwardly dream of going), take a step in faith and go next year. If this nobody homebody from the Ozarks can do it, so can you! 🙂
For those of you who weren’t able to go this year, you were greatly missed and your prayers were so evident and appreciated.
And for those of you I had the privilege of seeing this past weekend, each of you inspired me, lifted me up, and made me feel at home. I’m so grateful our journeys crossed!
Looking back now, I see that I was always supposed to be at ACFW this year. God filled up my heart in so many ways this weekend. He refreshed my spirit and breathed new life into my writing. He was with me every step of the way.
Thank you, ACFW, for your hard work and dedication for writers like me. I’m honored to know you and call you my friends.
Hope to see you all next year!