Tuesday, January 29, 2008

She Speaks, She Writes, She Leads, She Blogs

My desk was cleared, Microsoft Word was up and running, my copy of Sally Stuart’s Christian Writer’s Market Guide was at the ready . . . and my computer screen was blank. I had no idea of what to write!

I was a stay-at-home mom who was glad to have the opportunity of being with my new baby girl, but was definitely unhappy to lose the accolades to which I had been accustomed in my teaching career. I had led workshops for fellow English teachers, had earned National Board Certification, and was even named one of five finalists for South Carolina Teacher of the Year. Now, however, I got few kudos for the hard work of being a mommy. In my desperation to do something that mattered (Yes, I understand the irony in that statement now!), I latched on to my first love—writing.

I have always loved to write. From writing poems at my grandmother’s secretary, to writing short stories my friends loved to read, to excelling at essays in high school, college, and graduate school, God’s gift to me has been evident throughout my life. It was natural for me to fall back on writing when I was unsure of my identity at this time. I just didn’t know what to write!

Looking back, I realize that my motivation for writing was all wrong. I was attempting to write for my glory, not for God’s. God did not plan for this particular season of my life to be focused on writing. His plan was for me to experience and enjoy and learn from the season of motherhood I was just entering.

During this time I have grown so much spiritually. I can not imagine another calling that fosters more spiritual growth than motherhood! From dawn till dusk (and beyond) we serve. We humble ourselves as our most common fashion accessory is spit-up splashed on our shoulder. We learn patience as we retrieve yet another piece of construction paper and pick up the fiftieth crayon from the floor. We learn self-control when we would love to vent our emotions by screaming out our frustration but refrain when we imagine the look of hurt in our children’s eyes. In short, we learn how to love.

God must have used this time to prepare me for my calling because I have been amazed at how much writing I have been doing thus far in 2008. I am also in awe of how God has used Proverbs 31 to foster this writing.

I have received the Proverbs 31 devotional via for a year or so now and was interested in one where Lysa Terkeurst announced a writing contest. The winning entry was to be published in Proverbs 31 Magazine. I had an article that I had written back in November and decided to submit it. In fact, I got so excited that I created a blog just for the contest!

As a result of posting on this blog, I have found that I have more to write about than I would have thought possible. My writing now is focused on how God impacts my life rather than being focused on myself.

I would love to attend the She Speaks conference and hone my skills. My sister attended in 2006, and I too have wanted to participate since she shared with me her great experience. As a matter of fact, we had a phone conversation just the other day, and I questioned her more about the conference, as God was pushing it to the forefront of my mind.

The conference, held in Concord, North Carolina, consists of four tracks for speakers, writers, women's ministry leaders, and teen girls. Published authors, experienced speakers, and hard-to-contact publishers will lead sessions at She Speaks. Also, new this year, Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer, Sophie from Boo Mama, and Melanie from Big Mama will be available to provide their expertise on blogging.

Hearing from these bloggers extradordinaire on how to enhance my blog would be a dream come true. Participating in a speaker’s critique, as well as learning how to engage an audience, would also be something I would love. In fact, I have already perused the session descriptions and highlighted which ones would most benefit me in following God's calling.

I had resigned myself to attending another year since our finances are tied up in two mortgage payments right now, but I was so excited in learning about the scholarship opportunity. I believe that God has aligned my interest, situation, and gift to correspond with this year’s conference. However, if God does not open the door for me to attend She Speaks this summer, I look forward to the work that God will complete in my life in order to fulfill His purpose for me at a later time.

Until I come give attention to the public reading of the Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you . . . .
(1 Timothy 4:13-14, NASB)

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
(1 Thessalonians 5:24, NASB)


lp8265@gmail.com said...

Its so true about knowing we are writing for God and not our glory. Its such a hard thing to be able to have enough self confidence to be able to write and speak but not crossing over the line and letting our pride take over. I just keep praying for God to increase and me to decrease.

2 mortgage payments-ouch. I hope you will be able to attend the conference. I enjoy your blogs.


sarah said...

Thank you for your kind words on my blog. It would indeed be great to get the bloggers together with their sites listed on their nametags! Hope to see you there!

Elisa @ Extravagant Grace said...

Thank you for your visit to my blog and encouraging words! It came at just the right moment!

I was touched by your own journey of writing and finding God's purpose in it. We have many parallels.

I pray that you have the opportunity to attend, too!

Come by Extravagant Grace any time. I'd love to see you around!


Linda said...

Thank you for your kind comments at 2nd Cup! Maybe we will meet at the conference. I'm enjoying your blog.

Jenny said...

Thank you for your kind words on my blog! I'm praying that God will enable all of us that want to go to be able to, one way or another! I enjoyed looking at your blog.


Nicki said...

I have been so blessed by this!! I think that's the BEST part about this scholarship is just getting to know so many amazing women!! You are truly gifted and the Lord is blessing your life!!

B said...

Thank you for the sweet comment you left on my blog. You don't know the sinking feeling I felt when I clicked over here and saw that AN ENGLISH TEACHER had been reading my hack-like writing.

I certainly hope that you get to go to the conference. Your writing really impressed me.

God bless you.

Genni @ Mother, may I snore?

Miss Sandy said...

Lovely post and I loved the encouraging Scriptures you concluded with. Blessings on your ministry.

MrsProverbs31 said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and for your encouraging comment. I know it is hard when finances are so tight. I share in this painful journey. I keep on telling myself that if God really wants me there, He'll open the door somehow. Without Him, I can do nothing. With Him I can do all things.

Kay Martin said...

Loved this... I realize that my motivation for writing was all wrong. I was attempting to write for my glory, not for God’s. God did not plan for this particular season of my life to be focused on writing.

The temptation to gain our value in ministry is always a major temptation. Oh, the sweet flow that opens up when we mean it when we say, "It's all about Him." Love your honest transparent heart. Keep writing.