she speaks

I need to blog about the conference before it slips my mind altogether. If you’re just joining us (us?), She Speaks is an annual conference for women (there were 560 this year) who have a desire to speak, write, or be leaders in women’s ministry. It’s put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries.

3:11 pm (6.20.08)
I’m sitting in the hotel waiting for the conference to start. Feeling a little lonely and alone. But not discouraged. I think I’ll go check out the prayer room.

I had promised Gabe I wouldn’t withdraw and be shy and not meet anyone or talk the whole weekend. Soooo, I couldn’t let him down. It seemed like everyone was with someone except for me. I heard someone mention a prayer room, so I went to find it. It was dark and peaceful with chairs and pillows and candles and instrumental music. I prayed, “Lord, help me to open up and introduce myself to people and be brave. I’m not feeling brave. But I love you and I trust you.”

3.33 pm
There’s a woman in here crying (or maybe just has a cold?). I’m going to ask her if she wants to sit with me.

Her name was Joanie from New Jersey, and she was sent to me straight from God. I fell in love with her immediately. So sweet, honest, real, heart-on-her-sleeve, hungry for God, ears and heart open to whatever He has in store for her next, mom to 2 girls. The whole weekend whenever I’d go to a meal or a new session, I’d have my eyes peeled for Joanie and make a beeline for her if/when I saw her. We had such a wonderful time.

Right after the first session started, someone asked me if I was using the empty chair beside me. I said no, and a different woman came and got it. A BooMama woman! (the one who did the super-cool give-away for me on her blog) As soon as she sat down, I turned around, walked back to her chair, got in her face, showed her my nametag, and gave her a big ol’ hug. She came up and sat by me for a bit, and we got to chat. I was thrilled. I love that girl, and she’s fabulous in person!

I met some neat gals in my speaker evaluation group too. There were some amazing speakers–like real speakers who had points to what they were saying and had stuff memorized. Wowzers. Like I mentioned before, it was awfully humbling. I’m a good talker and I’m good at putting people at ease and making them laugh, but hoo boy! I need to work on putting together a good talk with real meat to my message. And not run out of time every single time I speak. Anyway.

My favorite sessions? The blogging ones with girls whose blogs I’ve been following for quite awhile, Bringing Passion to Your Platform (Marybeth Whalen), Embracing Your Little and Your Lot (Karen Ehman). There were a couple that didn’t do much for me, but I think I’ll be able to choose more wisely if I get to go again next year.

I sold a few books while I was there (always fun) and gave away a copy of Blushing to a bunch of people. I felt God speaking to my heart. I met some really neat women. I got to eat lunch with an old college pal. I thought a lot about what God has planned for my future. I realized just how many people would love to be doing what I’m already doing (very humbling).

I know there’s more, but I need to get back to my day. If any of you want to go next year (I think it’s July 31-Aug. 2), I think we could make it work.

Have a wild Wednesday!!

22 thoughts on “she speaks

  1. ClutzyButtercup

    Glad the conference went well…I am one of those people who would love to be doing what youo are doing.  I have had a couple of opportunities to speak but really believe that God would like to do more with that area of my life.

  2. kkakwright

    since i’m usually “that woman crying in the prayer room”, thanks for making the effort to seek her out.  that, is one of the many, many reasons why i love you.  🙂

  3. ergirl053

    Sounds like the weekend was very encouraging. I always get so nervous when I go somewhere alone, that I am usually paralyzed with fear and end up not going. Case in point, I was thisclose to not coming to xangafest and driving right past C-bus because I was one nervous nelly. And now, I can honestly say it was a day that changed my life forever 🙂

  4. ahigby0214

    It’s funny you mention going “next year”.  I’ve never told anyone this (except you…and now the 1000s that will read this public comment on your blog) but I’ve always felt that I had something to say.  not just that I like to talk (which I do).  But sometimes, I sit in a women’s event and think, I could do this.  I could relate to people.  I could tell my story and it could matter.  But no one’s ever asked.  I just figured it’s because the times I do speak (which are always informal or introducing people) I’m usually really nervous and hem and haw about wanting to do it.  But somewhere down in my heart, down in my spirit, I’ve felt like I’m supposed to tell people something.  I’m not sure what that something is…but something.  It’s weird.  Is that weird?  It’s weird, right?  Anyway, I thought that “hole”, if you will, would be filled by blogging.  To a certain extent, it is, but not COMPLETELY because I blog about my family…not heart stuff.  Okay, I’m rambling.  Anyway, thanks for stirring the thought of “next year” in me.

    And way to go on reaching out and meeting people!

  5. Anonymous

    I am so interested in this conference.

    I am completely head over heels in love with Girls Ministry. My husband and I have been in youth ministry for 10 years and have just now transitioned into a different phase of student ministry. I miss the connection with my girls. Next week Ernest (my husband) is speaking at a youth camp and I am doing 4 girl sessions. I could not be more thrilled and MORE AFRAID.

  6. kellycohan

    Love hearing about answers to prayers. So glad the weekend was great! And I concur, I love getting recommendations for good blogs. I’m such a fan of BooMama and Amanda already. They are so cool.

  7. faithchick

    think you could make a linked list of some of your favorite blogs?  besides xanga, i’ve never really read many; but this past weekend i found some really cool home-decorating ones and i’m hooked! 

    no pressure–if not, that’s okay.

  8. faithchick

    so far, wild is right!
    the conference sounds cool.  i’ve only ever had 1 opportunity (well, besides the “conferences” at cedarville) to go to a real-live, full of tons of people and lots of great sessions conference.  It was DC ’97 for teens.  anyway, i loved it.  I love how they’re set up and everything.  I can picture how pretty cool it probably was.  I’m glad you got to go and I’m really glad you met some people.  I don’t think I could have been that brave.  I would have been totally overwhelmed!  But, God is good, yes?!?  very cool!

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