I have a simple truth that I want to share with you: Dreaming about a desire is easy. Taking the steps to make your dream come true–something you can hold in your hand like a book, for instance–that’s the hard part.
This truth you probably know. But let me share another truth that may surprise you: When God takes you by the hand (or sometimes the scruff of your neck) and plants you and your dream smack down in middle of His will, it can be downright scary. Why? Because when God has a plan for our lives (and our talents), He is going to require us to lean entirely on His wisdom, His strength and His provision in ways we never have before. If He is going to use us to bring glory to His name, we are going to come to a place of need.
That is why I want to share with you my experience with Proverbs 31’s excellent She Speaks conference. When I walked through those conference room doors back in 2007 I had no idea what I was walking into.
I’ll never forget it. As soon as my feet carried my introverted self into that room full of hundreds of women, all carrying their hopes and dreams and talents to offer to the Lord, I literally felt a wave of the Spirit wash over me. It was as if I had jumped into a warm ocean wave on an hot August day, a wave so strong that my knees felt too weak to withstand it. I stood there shaking, taking it all in. The words that came to mind were these: This feels just like coming home after a journey of years. I know God is going to show up in a big way.
Whenever we encounter the presence of God, as I did during that 2007 conference, we will be immediately humbled. I was floored. What do I have to offer a God so great? And yet, He had called me there. Of this I was certain beyond a shadow of a doubt.
That is why I say this is conference is not one for the faint of heart. You will experience God there. You will see Him in the eyes of the women, many having experienced lifelong hurts, carrying their pain in on their faces, women who desperately desire to be used by God to spare other women of the mistakes they have made in their own lives. You will hear Him in the messages and scriptures shared by the electrified P31 Speaker Team. You will feel His arms wrap around you in a love that leaves you both delighted and trembling in awe in the same moment.
This conference is not for the faint of heart. It’s the real deal.
If God has placed a dream in your heart and you can afford to go, get there. If God wants you there, He will provide a way. I know my God. He is Jehovah Jireh: The Lord Who Provides. When you go, go expecting something wonderful. Expect God to show up. I promise you, if you go there looking for Him, you are going to find Him.
So what happened when I was able to attend back in 2007?
God had given me a dream to share scriptural promises with parents of children with autism (like me) in a book. I had no means do it myself. Yes, I have a journalism degree, but mostly I am a marketer. No one knew my name. I had no connections, no money to self publish, and not a lot of time with an autistic child at home. But I had a God Who loves to choose the least likely of persons to do some amazing things. I am certainly qualified as one of the least. I pitched the proposal to two publishers. The following September I was awarded a book deal. In March of 2009 that book, Autism’s Hidden Blessings: Discovering God’s Promises for Children with Autism and Their Families was released.
I wish I could tell you that the journey was easy. It was anything but easy. Writing the story was sometimes excruciatingly painful, as God worked His truths through my soul and then out through the keyboard as I typed. It was humbling. I often felt overwhelmed, doubting I had anything of value to say. (Thankfully, God provided the words.)
However the most surprising thing happened after the book was released. Again, this is something I did not expect. After walking on that mountain during the writing process in such intimacy with God, I came down off of it with a crash. When I experienced a taste of God’s holy power and presence and suddenly I could only hear silence, it was almost more than I could bear. I have struggled with the silence for much of the year, making 2009 the hardest year of my life.
There are significant lessons that God has been walking me through since the book was released. In the book, I promised readers that “If love is all I have to give my autistic son, then God would see to it that love is enough.” I want you to know that every promise I shared in the book is being tested in my life right now. It’s almost as if God is asking me, “Do you really believe what you wrote? Do you really believe I am enough? All that you need?”
When I wrote that love would be enough, I didn’t expect to have to find it out for myself! But with the downturn in the economy and with half of the household income that we had in 2007, God has proved to me that yes, HE IS ENOUGH. When we can’t afford to take Alec to his specialist, HE IS ENOUGH. When we can’t afford his medicines, HE IS ENOUGH. When I look at our list of needs and wonder how we are going to make it, I have learned and continue to be reminded that HE IS ENOUGH.
As I write this post, I am preparing to speak to a group of 150 autism moms in Pennsylvania. I cannot wait to share God’s love with them! I am about to burst with excitement: Yes, God is speaking!
When I walked through the doors of the 2007 P31 Conference, I had no idea what God was about to do in my life. If I had known, would I have walked in anyway? I would like to say, YES. God’s way–no matter how watered with tears- is always best.
Yes, I would like to go again. But know this: This conference in not for the faint of heart. You are going to meet God there.
Are you ready? Say a prayer. See what God is speaking to you. If you feel His nudge, Get going!
You can register here:
I forgot to add:
There is a contest to win a scholarship on Lysa TerKeurst’s blog. Hurry and enter by Friday!