I opened my car door to a rush of 95 degree North Carolina summer heat, tipping my coffee cup and sending hot coffee drizzling down my pant leg. (I have no idea why I was drinking coffee on such a hot day!) Thank goodness I had on black pants! Here I was at my very first writing conference and I was a mess. I had stepped out of my comfort zone and driven up to the conference by myself from Florida. It was so unlike me, and honestly, in the days leading up to the conference, I had wavered between excitement and trepidation, almost deciding not to go. You see, I am an introvert by nature. Walking into a sea of strange faces requires a stern internal pep talk. I knew that most people would have traveled up with others and would already be engaged in conversation by the time I arrived.
As I pushed through the glass doors of the conference center, my worst fears were realized. Hundreds of women stood in the hallways happily chatting in groups of two or three as they waited for the first event to commence. There they were in their best business casual attire (I had been an elementary school teacher and a mom…what is business casual?), hair perfectly coiffed, no coffee on their pants. This introvert quickly found something to focus on at a nearby display table in order to avoid the awkwardness of standing by myself. I silently prayed that God would give a girl a break and help me to meet someone nice, perhaps someone who was also there by themselves.
Sure enough, as I sat down at the large round table (tastefully decorated antiquish-ly in natural hues) for the first group meeting, God provided! I met a lovely gal from Texas–a first time attendee who was also there alone. As the weekend progressed, I met many new friends who were there…as I was… for inspiration, for writing tips, and for confirmation of their calling.
God is such a creative genius, designing women with such varied gifts and talents in so many different shapes and sizes. Each with different personalities, different skills, different callings…but, with the very same heart for God and for doing His work in the world.
The weekend was filled with great teaching, uplifting messages from the Word, and soul-lifting fellowship with God’s girls from all over the country. God was definitely in the house!
One point that stood out to me from the conference was that we cannot inspire others until and unless we are living daily under the inspiration of God ourselves. What a simple yet profound idea. We were urged to develop and nurture our relationship with our spouse and our God before focusing on our outward persona as a writer/speaker–only then could we be our true, authentic self.
Another statement from the conference that spoke to me was from the session I attended with Jill Savage called, First Things First. She said, “Ministry for young moms is the little person standing right in front of them.” I am no longer a young mom but have relationships with many of them in my church and community and hope that, as I interact with them, I can drive this point home. If moms will understand and internalize this concept it will change their lives and the lives of their children.
This conference was everything I expected and more! I learned so much about the craft of writing, met wonderful new friends, gained inspiration through the teaching of God’s Word, and chalked one up for introverts everywhere!
I can’t wait for next year! But, how about a table at the door with a large sign that reads, “Introverts Meet Here!”
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