In July 2011, I attended She Speaks, a fabulous conference for Christian woman sponsored by Proverbs 31 Ministries. I heard inspiring speakers like Lysa Terkeurst and Ann Voskamp; participated in a speaker evaluation group; and attended breakout sessions about publishing, marketing and how-to’s for speakers. I loved every minute. You can read my impressions from the conference here.
The thing that sticks out most from last summer’s She Speaks is that I went to Charlotte with a crazy thought that maybe, just maybe I was being called by the Lord to encourage other women through speaking. After three days spent in encouragement, spiritual growth and practical advice, I no longer felt “crazy”—I felt called and empowered. On the plane homeward, I told God that he would have to make his path for me in this regard perfectly clear. As a working mom (and at the time of the conference newly pregnant with Baby #3), I had little time for promoting myself as a speaker. It seemed at the time ridiculous—why would anyone ask me to speak at an event when I had no experience?
Two days after I returned home from She Speaks, I showed up at a Caribou Coffee early before work to meet with a leader in my church’s women’s ministry. The coffee date had been planned for weeks. After a little chitchat, the leader got down to business. Would I pray about being the speaker at our church’s May 2012 women’s retreat? I started laughing and without another word, I said, “Of course.” God is sometimes not very subtle at all.
I’ve just returned home from the retreat weekend. It was meticulously planned and featured the stunning backdrop of Longs Peak towering over our retreat center. Coffee flowed, snacks were abundant and the easy love of Christian friendship filled each room. I was honored to serve and felt grace at every turn. I was nervous, of course, but everyone was beyond gracious. I think my favorite part of speaking was just feeling connected with the other women who had gathered to grow in their relationship with Jesus. Being a part of that shared goal makes for strong bonds.
I’m basking in that post-retreat glow…and grateful I said, “Of course!” And for the next step? I have a hunch it will be made clear, whatever it is.