The BIG day had arrived. With bags packed, the long awaited Allume Conference was on the horizon. In just a few short hours I would head out to pick-up my friend, Cynthia Stuckey (happygostuckey.com) and off we’d go! I remember trying to figure out if I felt excited, fearful, or somewhere in-between. Excited to get away for a few days and learn more about the writing process, but a little fearful, as well. A novice, on some level, as I had never attended a conference such as this. A “new thing,” I told myself, with sweaty palms and clinched fists.
Not that there is anything wrong with “new.” I love new … new shoes, new clothes, new phone, new car, new restaurant, new store! But this is a different kind of “new.” The kind of new where you don’t know what to expect, and you have to meet new people, share ideas, and make small talk.
(Did I mention that at my core I’m an introvert, which makes small talk very draining to me! Yes, I really am an introvert – although no one on the planet believes that! I think many writers could claim this characteristic. I love people but really small talk – ugh!)
I knew that ultimately this “new” outing had learning and having fun written all over it (two things that I love doing), but with “new” comes other things like, “change.” Ugh! I didn’t sign up for that! But, I told myself, change is good. Change keeps you sharp and focused, and change makes you have to say goodbye to the familiar and easy way of doing things and hello to the new and perhaps better way.
Here’s what God showed me, though, as I readied myself for this “new” adventure … He brought this verse to my mind …
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:19.
I love the second part of the verse which says, “I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” God will make a way! He will make a way for whatever “new thing” He begins.
So I began to tell myself: He will make a way for me this weekend at Allume. All I need do is look to Him and trust Him. I don’t need to fear. Why? Because fear causes me to pull away from God rather than draw near to Him. The emotion of fear contradicts the character of God. Psalm 27:1 reminds us that Truth. It says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
If I really believe that God is who He says He is (which, BTW, I do), this belief simply affords me no room for fear.
So I went … and boy did God show me His love, care, and grace every step of the way. Here are highlights from my first day at Allume.
Day 1, Thursday, Oct. 23 (Highlights)
The DRIVE … uneventful (thankfully) but all the way there I had a knot in my stomach because Miss Happy Go Stuckey had talked me into making an appointment with a literary agent. How does she do that? She talks me in to all kinds of things – it’s an art, I’ve decided!
The SWAG BAG … was awesome! So many wonderful books and other goodies! And … the beautifully crafted name tag – with a correct spelling of my name, I must point out!
The MEETING … went well, I think. Though I have nothing to compare it to since it was a “new thing.” Don Jacobson of D.C. Jacobson & Associates met with me. He was a super nice gentleman – informative, helpful, courteous, attentive and a strong Christian. He didn’t laugh in my face, which was a relief. He listened and gave suggestions. We didn’t exchange friendship bracelets or anything or commit to become life long friends (though if he were to become my agent, we would, I’m sure), but He did encourage me to write a book proposal to send to him. His wife, was charming (and a sharp dresser, I might add). We discovered that we both love horses which was a commonality. He rides and once owned over 20 horses, and I ride with my Leanna and JD, so that was interesting to talk about. All in all, I think it was positive. If nothing else, the meeting gave me hope … hope that if the book that is burning in my heart to write is God’s plan, He will make a way!
DINNER that night … was so delicious. I had the best salad ever! And normally I take a picture of my food when I am impressed, but I didn’t. I was too busy eating it. A wedge salad with honey-smoked bacon, bleu cheese, and ranch dressing, simple yet oh so tasty! The praise and worship was sweet and spirit led and Executive Director of Allume, Logan Wolfram was the keynote. You can tell Logan’s passion is for others. Her love for not entertaining, but for showing genuine hospitality shows. I loved this quote from Logan …
As bloggers we are often a people of windows, but as believers in Christ, we are called to be a people of open doors, of living invitation.
The theme, “Real Love Is An Open Door,” based on Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me – captured my attention as often in the busyness of life, I fail to keep the door open. Instead, in the name of “getting the job done,” I put my head down, grit my teeth, put my hands to the task, and go at it! Doing this, whether in ministry, at home, in my neighborhood, or on this blog, sends the wrong message that the task is more important than the person. Thanks Logan for that reminder!
Opening Night PARTY & PICS … as you can see was silly and fun! I am now a huge fan of Ornaments 4 Orphans. Such beautiful creations and for such a worthy cause! My sweet roomy was ever so cheerful and such an encourager. Love you, girl!
As you can see God’s faithfulness shown brightly through the dark clouds of fear that hovered over my tired and weary mind. He gave me courage and calm when I needed it, rest from the day-to-day routines of my life, and lots of laughter with my dear friend Cindy. God, indeed, made a way.
And here’s the thing … He will also make a way for you in whatever “new thing” comes your way. Trust Him! Recall His wondrous works, the ways He’s led you in the past, and the sovereign character of the God that He is.
What’s your new thing? I’d love to hear about it and pray for you. Post a comment below.
I’ll share days 2-3 of Allume with you next time!