Hello, everyone! I hope you are all well and having an excellent week. I have had the roughest and most exhilarating week. What? I know…I know…I frequently talk in circles. Two things hit me this past week that have left me joyful and thinking…
I went to one of my favorite writers conferences of the whole year – the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference. I always enjoy it so much. I learn, network, and see some of my friends that I only ever see at this conference. But I had an interesting experience this year.
I started not feeling well the day we got to Texas. I progressively got worse. By the third day, we were looking for an urgent care. I figured it was strep, or allergies. The clinic was wonderfully thorough. Hear me when I say THOROUGH. They tested me for EVERYTHING. Strep, flu, UTI, ectopic pregnancy…everything was negative. But when they drew my blood, my white cell count was through the roof. My pulse was high. And my exam proved that my abdomen was tender. So, the doctor is thinking my appendix is inflamed…at the very least I have a couple of signs that point to SIRS (Systematic Inflammatory Response Syndrome). So, my body could become septic. Not good.
On to the ER.
Some tests later, they determine I’m in the safe zone, but I am definitely harboring some kind of serious infection. So, they dose me with an antibiotic there and send me home with prescription antibiotics and pain meds.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because this kind of thing is soooo typical of me. I’m on a vacation of sorts, at my favorite conference, and I end up in the ER scaring my friends and family.
Not to mention all but ruining my time away.
But all is not lost.
If there’s something I’ve learned from my many, many…many experiences like this, it’s that I have to seek the good, the silver lining, if you will. Because it’s there.
God does not waste our hurts, our less worthwhile experiences…He is always reaching toward us, teaching, loving.
So, what did I walk away with?
I ended up being able to attend only two classes from the whole conference. That may seem like a reason to grumble. But, that allowed me to really focus on what I was being presented with in those two sessions. And the second facilitator said something that struck me. Though she was talking about craft and focusing our writing goals, she asked if we had a verse or word from the Lord we had been focusing on.
I have never been one to have a “word for the year”. I actually don’t care much for new year’s resolutions or anything to do with stuff set up during the new year. I am big on goal setting, but I do that throughout the year.
But, I was struck. Was I missing out on something important?
So, as I have been processing this, I have taken the time to quiet my heart and allow God to speak into my life. There is a verse that has been important to me since my battle with postpartum depression (the second round):
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
Talk about overcoming! This verse totally spoke into those insecure places…and still does. He has given me confidence…a sound mind. He is at work in me.
This would be my over-arching verse. He also gave me a verse for this season of my life as I look into the ministries He has placed me in right now and the challenges I have before me:
“You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My Name.” – John 15:16
So, when I am up against a barrier…when life rains on my parade…this verse reminds me that it’s not about me. It’s about Him. And Him in me, producing fruit. That, as I seek Him, He will answer my prayers. (Not always the way I want Him to, mind you.) But I can be confident that He hears me and that He works all things together for my good (Romans 8:28)).
Overcoming and persevering are not easy. Quite the opposite. And whoever said that “God will not give you more than you can bear” was crazy. But when He does give you an overwhelming burden, it’s because He intends to carry it with you.