Expectations. I struggle with them all the time. From bigger events such as my birthday (since I was raised to believe you were Queen for that day, anything less than that feels like a let down!!) to everyday encounters where I am let down, or disappointed, only to realize it was just because my expectations were probably just a tad too high.
She Speaks. The conference I signed up for, a conference for Christian women who write or speak publicly, or are simply trying to develop their skills in it. I really, really tried to have zero expectations. It was hard, since the cost of such an endeavor, plus the flight, hotel, etc was pretty high for us. But it was most certainly one of those things that God seemed to be pointing me to. So I went. With my expectations in check.
And I was amazed.
First of all, I was surrounded by 800 people who all feel led, called, asked, burdened to do the exact same thing I am. Or wanting to. That factor alone was worth going.
Secondly, as a wise friend told me, it’s all about networking. And she was right. I met some pretty delightful women that weekend. Some of these women I met from afar, on stage as they shared from their hearts and life experience. They encouraged us to stay true to our calling, to be bold in the telling of our stories and what God has placed on our hearts to share. They exhorted us to be aware that satan would love nothing more than to discourage us from finding or remaining on the path we are on…and he will do it in any way he can, using our deep rooted insecurities to stop us. Thoughts that creep in when we share our stories, and open our hearts to others. “Who do you think you are, what do you have to say that’s so special, or who wants to listen to you?” And on and on it can go. She Speaks spoke right to that issue throughout each session. Dispelling lies and replacing them with truth. We are daughters of the Most High, and we are here to give Him Glory and to tell HIS story. Period.
There was so much to take in. Since I am new to pretty much the entire writing scene, and everything it entails, I felt like an over-soaked sponge. I was full, and trying to glean as much as I could from the wise women around me.
So here is one, huge, game changing thing I took away from that weekend:
I had a pretty incredible, clearly God orchestrated encounter (as I grabbed my lunch I asked Him to show me who to sit down next to, which I rarely ever do!!!) with a woman who loved Jesus and spoke frankly, right to my heart, and she offered me advice and even a suggestion about my book. After hearing each others stories, and why we were there, she said it sounded like I had more to say than what I was saying. As if I had only begun to scratch the surface on what I was trying to get out through the writing of this book. Because I was articulating (and envisioning) that the whole book would be about infertility, and living in Haiti. But she saw that the under lining theme was more about saying YES to God. Even when I didn’t want to, even when He was saying “no” or “wait” to having a family. And she was SO right. Like couldn’t stop the tears right. I felt like I had so much more to communicate, more than what I had articulated and outlined in the book proposal I worked on non-stop for the last two months. But I didn’t know what it was, couldn’t quite figure it out. But she helped me figure it out. So I want to write about that. I want to write about how often God puts something on your heart, asks you to venture into new and uncomfortable position, asks you to talk to a stranger, give more of your time or money, invite others into your hearts, asks you to move you somewhere you don’t want to, and we have a choice. We can say YES. To those little things He quietly whispers to us. We can say say YES to those big things He asks of us that require stepping out and trusting Him in a way we never, ever,ever have. And there are so many things we learn from saying YES. So many ways we grow. So many unexpected gifts that come from an obedient and surrenderred heart to Jesus.
I want to write a book about that!!
So I am. I am going to start over. Ish. I really only had about 4 full chapters written, the rest were vague outlines, ideas, etc. Yes, it’s a bit hard to think about all the time I spent over the last two months working on that book proposal. All the evenings I forwent watching Netflix, not going to bed early, not reading… all so I could write. Or I think about all those nap times the kids slept, and this pregnant mama desperately wanted to also, but instead I wrote. Or heck, all the evenings, hours, dates, runs, parks Brandon took the kids to so I could have time to write. But alas, all is not lost!! I learned two valuable things from that:
1. I have more free time than I thought!!! (I mean, I truly believed I hardly had any free time with two young children. But turns out, as I restructured my day, and simply made writing my number priority for a while, I had lots of time to do it)
2. My husband is pretty amazing, and supported me in a priceless way stepping up his game and taking care of the kids even more than he already goes (oh, and watching the laundry pile up, eating random put together meals, and dealing with a less than clean house for those two months too was just as hard for him!!)
But we did it. We pulled together and we did it. Which shows me that I do indeed have more support than I realized. And I can indeed find the time to write. And I also am not on a deadline anymore, so life can (phew) resume at it’s normal pace.
SO…I’d love to invite you into this journey with me. As I think about writing about saying YES to God, I can’t help but think it’s obviously something we never “finish”. It’s a constant in our lives, the choice to say yes to Him, or no, or heck often we tend to just ignore what He’s asking. I battle with it often, still, even though I know, have seen, and understand how important it is to say YES to Him.
So, can I ask, what have you recently said YES to God about?
Was did He clearly put on your heart, or ask you do to and you did it? Was it finally talking to the neighbor and inviting them over for dinner? Was it pulling over to help someone? Or maybe opening your home for something? What about giving money to someone/something when you didn’t particularly want to?
I’d love to hear from you. Because I’d love to be encouraged. I know when I hear how other people are being obedient to Him, it makes me want to pause and ask myself what He’s asking me to do.