If you are not familiar with She Speaks, it is a Christian writer and speaker's conference. It was new to me, but it was the 12th annual event. I don't plan to miss any in the future, as long as I believe God has still called me to speak and write for Him. ☺
It's almost funny. I went for the reason to learn to be a better speaker and writer among like-minded believers—yet God met me in ways I was not expecting.
Be careful when you attend a conference that has been bathed in prayer. God moves in the hearts of the people. It was in the extended times of praise and worship with over 650 women in the room with worship leader Michael O'Brien, that God can spoke to my heart the loudest—albeit a whisper—about things I didn't even know I needed speaking to about.
I won't bore you with everything He showed me, but I will hit my most memorable ones (that resulted with me taking some kind of action when I got home).
Other than the first one being foundational, the others are in random order. No one ever said these words to me audibly. I knew it was God's voice speaking softly to me. Here goes:
- I want you to see my heart. I'm gently reminding you have lost your first love. I was busy doing lots of other things, many of which are important, but I had ceased making time with him a deliberate intentional period of quiet of sitting in His presence, worshiping Him, reading my Bible, asking Him to speak, and praying. (I was missing days, or rushing through it to get to my "list" which included writing about scripture among other things.) He wants me to seek Him daily in His word for no other motive except to build my relationship with Him.
- I want you to see my heart on the man I've given you. Love on your husband more. This included doing some things he had been asking me to do. Like he wanted me to get a maid, and I kept conveniently forgetting. I think maybe I felt bad that I was not able to do it. I got an excellent one on my very first hour of asking a couple friends and within 48 hours the maid had come and cleaned everything from the blinds to the ceiling fan blades to the baseboards.
- I want you to see my heart about the people I've given you. He will give me the list to do, and it is not necessarily "ministry" work like my writing. It's building relationships with the people he has placed in my life that have open access to me. (my husband, my children, etc) He has other things for me to do with this inner circle that are important that He does not want me to be rushed in or distracted by other things when I am doing them. (like thinking about how I'm going to tweet back to a comment that I did not think was true, and letting that occupy my mind. This one is very difficult for me. Even my blind child knows immediately when she is talking to me if I am distracted.)
- I want you to see my heart in what needs to be done today.
Don't think because it is summer, I can fly by the seat of my pants and get away with it. (as I had been doing) My time belongs to God. I came back from the conference and immediately (pretty much) began an extended, relaxed, undistracted time with God in the morning. (I don't have little ones) Out of that flowed a much better routine of prioritzing deliberate reading and talking with my youngest.)
- I want you to see my heart for special needs people. That's why I had the one special needs person in the whole conference sit in the empty space next to you at the dining table. You see Juana, as a Christian, you will have to look at the world upside-down. The first will be last and the last shall be first. The greatest among you is the least among you. I show my power best in weakness. I really love the special needs people because I show my glory in them in a mighty way that I only show in them. That's why when T.J.'s wheelchair rolled next to you, you felt like you were sitting next to me.
I've gifted you with your Mary, and you will know what to say and do and write if you keep looking to me to share my heart for special needs people. People will stand in line with aching feet to meet with people who have fame, or to meet with an agent or a publisher for a few minutes, and you would naturally gravitate there—but that is upside down. I want to do a super-natural work in you. I want you to get in the imaginery line to meet the special needs people. Just start the line, Juana. I'll do the rest. Now stop writing this and make breakfast for your daughter*—and remember when you read to her, make her breakfast, help her with whether her clothes are inside out or not—you are doing it for Me.
Below is T. J., and her caregiver and friend, Jenn. Tears flooded my eyes—I lifted my heart to God at the table as I witnessed the friend Jenn was to T.J. I prayed silently that one day my Mary could have a friend to love her as Jenn does T.J. It was beautiful.
I learned a few tips (tips is not the right word more like major overhaul) about writing and speaking, but I guess that wasn't the big stuff God hit me with. At first I thought it was expensive to attend the conference, but I had my husband's full support and blessing to go. It was not too big a price to pay for what I just told you he showed me. There was more, but that's enough for us to chew on I think.
While there, I was 1 of 650 people that won an advance copy of the book, "Greater," by Steven Furtick. To me, God might just as well have written a message in the sky that said, "Juana, read this book. I have so much you need to learn that I'm sending you home with a book." So I want to add that to this list. I just finished it and will tell you next time about it. You will want to know, I promise you.
Walking by faith,