One of my least favorite tasks when returning from a trip, second only to laundry, would have to be unpacking. Carrying all my heavy, overstuffed bags into the house is exhausting. I survey the work that lies ahead and can think of several of things I would rather do with my time. However, this time is going to be different. After attending the She Speaks Conference in North Carolina last weekend I have so much that I want to share with you. So, grab a cup of coffee, have a seat and relax as I being to unpack.
Reaching into my bag, the first item I pull out is a banner. I am sure many of you are a little confused right now, but let me explain. The women at Proverbs 31 prayed over every single participant for the conference and then placed her name next to a Hebrew name/attribute of God. This held such special meaning for me because not only do I love studying these names, but I also have a section in my book, Get REAL, devoted to these names. Anyhow, my name was placed next to Jehovah Nissi, the Lord is my Banner. I was not familiar with this particular Hebrew name, so I needed to do a little research. I discovered that it means that in the battles of this world, I will hold up high the banner of my Lord for the entire world to see. When people look at me, I want them to see God, not me.
The next article coming out of my bag would be my calling. After this conference, I know that God wants me to be a writer. This is not something I have been able to admit out loud. I would say that I write a blog or am working on a book, but never the phrase, “I am a writer”; that seemed entirely too scary, making myself vulnerable. However, I learned that I only need to keep my eyes focused on the lenscrafter and He will take care of the details. I need to let go of my fears, trust Him and fall into His arms.
Praise and worship time is the third item being unpack from my bags. It was such a welcome surprise. The songs continue to go through my mind as well as the images of over 650 women coming together—united in Christ—to worship. There was no doubt that the spirit of God was present.
My new books and session notes are coming out of the suitcase next. My head is still swimming trying to capture all that I have learned. It amazes me how much information was packed into just a few short days. It was such a blessing for these women to take time out of their busy schedules to come and share their wisdom with us.
The next item would be new members to our family, Bladimir and Ariana. They are from Bolivia and due to various circumstances are among numerous children that are in need of sponsors through Compassion International. I had heard of this organization before the conference. However, to see these adorable faces spread out on the table all longing to have what so many of us take for granted everyday, my heart just ached for them. Thankfully, Mitch was at the conference with me and we went down to the table together to select a child for our family to sponsor. We started out with Ariana, age 4, but Bladimir, age 16, pulled at Mitch’s heart; knowing that the younger kids are more likely to get sponsors. So, we decided to pour some of the blessings we have received back to these two beautiful children. Our family looks forward to learning more about them and their country.
The last item I am pulling out of my suitcase would be my new friends. I went to this conference not knowing anyone else, except through the Facebook group. It was such a blessing to me to make connections with these women. They hold a dear place in my heart as friends, not contacts.
Oh, I almost forgot, there were some things that I left behind in North Carolina. The first would be comparisons. This conference was filled with both speakers and participants that all have an incredible story to tell. The great news is that we do not need to compare ourselves with anyone else. There is room for everyone at the table. God has given each one of us a unique message to share with others.
I also left my doubts. I know that I am not good enough, but instead of giving in to these doubts, fears and insecurities I know that I can rest in the fact that God is more than enough. I am the only me this world will ever see. Therefore, I need to step out from behind that mask, stop trying to be someone else, and just be what God created me to be.
The last article I left behind was my comfort zone. My box was destroyed, not decorated during the conference. I spoke with famous authors, editors and agents—even in the elevator. (And I thought they were kidding about the whole elevator pitch.) I even took a huge step and registered for the She Speaks Intensive conference in January.
God is doing amazing things, and not just in my life or those who attended the conference, but in each and every one of us. He has Big plans for our lives, we just need to decide to stop sitting in our box on the sidelines and get up and take those first steps of faith. I don’t know what He has in store, but He promises it will be good and I don’t want to miss it for the world.
Thanks for taking the time to help me unpack from this amazing journey. I look forward to hearing about the path God is leading you down. I challenge you not to be content where you are; keep reaching and striving for what God has for you.