I’m a city girl. Really, more of a suburbanite, I guess you’d say. Give me a house on a small patch of land—big enough for the dogs—and I’m a happy gal. What’s more, I’m perfectly content living in the flatlands of SE Texas, where the only hills are overpasses. (I know, I know. . .some of you are cringing!) Every now and again, though, I love to widen my scope, to see beyond my own backyard. I had the opportunity to do just that when I traveled to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference a couple of weeks back. Yep, that’s right. This city girl went to the mountains. Well, more like hills. With redwood trees. And cherry blossoms. And cabins. Lots and lots of cabins.
Now, I don’t want to lead you to believe that I had to rough it on this adventure. These cabins are gorgeous, completely decked out with all the modern amenities. I settled into my home-away-from-home with much anticipation. I couldn’t wait to see what God would do as pre-conference activities got underway. I didn’t have to wait long. Within my first few hours, I’d met all six ladies in my mentoring clinic. We bonded at once. In fact, we bonded at such a deep level that we decided to stick together in an online group until we can reconnect in person next year. We prayed together, cried together, learned together, and watched in awe as the Lord moved in our midst.
When the pre-conference activities ended, the ‘real’ conference kicked off. I consider myself blessed because I was chosen by my good friend and conference director Kathy Ide to mentor in Susan Meissner’s major morning track. I was also tickled to teach two classes of my own, one on Facebook marketing and another on characterization (the Pandora’s Box method). Liz Curtis Higgs was our keynote speaker in the evening services and she blew me away, particularly in light of what she’s facing in her personal life right now. I was also deeply touched by Allen Arnold’s teaching the final night. To say I had the time of my life at Mount Hermon would be an understatement. God really met me there, and what He had to say has shaped where I’m headed next.
So, what did He say? I don’t want to bore you with the backstory, but the past couple of years have been rough. Most of you know that I lost my mother after years of being her full-time caregiver. Since then, I’ve just been coasting along, not allowing myself to really latch on to anything with the same amount of zeal as before. I’m currently attending a Grief Share group, which has helped a lot, but I knew God had more to say. At the conference, the Lord really began to deal with me about digging deeper—with my writing, my prayer/worship time, and even at my church, (where I’ve also been coasting). The specific words God gave me were “Lock down.” In my mind’s eye, I could see a clamp. . .clamping shut.
No more floating. No more skimming the surface. No more ‘just getting by.’ God began to ask me hard questions, like: “What are you DOING with your life?” Not, “What do you WANT to do?” or “What do you PLAN to do?” or even “What do you feel CALLED to do?” He kept asking, “What are you doing. . .NOW?”
Wow. For someone who’s only been keeping her head above water, this was quite a question. So, I’ve made a decision to keep my eyes on the prize, to work smarter, not harder, to finish what I’ve started, and to remain diligent, as best I’m able. You—my sweet readers—probably won’t notice much difference. This transformation is more internal than external. You’ll still see me producing novels, non-fiction devotionals, and even magazine articles. I’m also going to forge ahead with The Happy Writer, a youTube site to encourage writers. In fact, I’m going to take that a step further and develop a teaching/mentoring group, where I’ll teach/lead 10 – 12 writers over a six-week period in a Facebook group. If you’re interested in this program (which will have a price tag attached) just let me know. Details are being ironed out as I type this.
God met me in the mountains. Okay, hills. I have a renewed sense of purpose and vision for the journey ahead. He also surprised me in one more lovely way—I received a special honor on awards night: the Pacesetter award, (sponsored by editor-turned-agent Nick Harrison). I was blown away, but even more excited to be sitting with my mentoring group when the news broke. We celebrated together.
I’ll end this note by asking you the same question the Lord has been asking me: “What are you doing with your life?” Instead of responding, “Well, one day I’d like to do this,” or “Someday I plan to do that,” stop and ask yourself, “Why not today?”
Be blessed, all!