Friday, September 20, 2013

Thank You for Showing Me Jesus

Two Fridays ago I laid my heart out on the page. I didn't want to attend ACFW. It was a gut-wrenching confession and one I wanted to rip off the face of the internet multiple times before it posted. And then once it was up, for all the world to see, I only felt more the hypocrite.

How could I confess that I didn't want to go when so many writers would take my place in an instant?

It seemed so selfish.

I showed up on the conference floor and it didn't really hit me until that first class with the agent panel: I had no idea why I was there. None. Why was I pursuing publication? Why was I sitting in a class when I had no desire to even pitch or share my story? I didn't know how to process the emotions.

I couldn't focus during my classes. My agent pitches (by the grace of God) actually went well, but I wasn't learning anything. I wasn't finding that one nugget in each class that would push me beyond my safe and comfortable novel creation.


Dear friends who know me well, sitting across from me, told me I wasn't myself. I wasn't truly present. And I wasn't. It was a farce. Front. Façade.

Until Saturday night.

I had no façade Saturday night. During the optional worship night, I still couldn't identify why I was there. God why am I at ACFW this year? WHY?

Until the mic was opened for prayer and my walls crumbled at the words of a worshipper led by Christ to speak from his heart. Until Beth Vogt laid her hands on my shoulders. And Cara Putman and Cheryl Wyatt wrapped their arms around me and bathed me in prayer.

And I sobbed.

Sobbed as these godly women laid their hands on me and prayed away the fear and depression and heaviness weighting my spirit.

God didn't meet me at ACFW. He was waiting for me there. I didn't know how to face the struggles on my own, and God knew that. He knew I needed to be surrounded by His women to raise me out of my own mire. Lies were exposed. The truth given freedom to once again shine.

I'm not completely there yet. I'm still reaching and searching and yearning. But now I have a better level
of understanding, a greater appreciation for walking through this valley in order to begin the climb to the top and whatever God might have waiting for me.

And all I can say is thank you. With a heart so completely overflowing for the people who took the time to bless me, even without their realizing, Thank You for showing me Jesus.

To Cheryl for rebuking the fear holding my writing back because of my age and maturity.

To Beth for following God's prompting and pulling me close that night in prayer and worship.

To Bonnie, who with a fierceness and passion, reminded me of who I am to God.

To Cara who surrounded me in prayer, the laying on of her hands and the strength of her prayers.

To Julie who made sure we sat and talked, for grabbing my hand in the hall as we passed and asking how I was.

To Krista, Pepper and Amy who listened to me bare my soul time and time again without fear or need to hold back any truth. For their encouragement and wisdom.

I never doubted God had a reason for taking me to ACFW this year. What I doubted was why. Why should I go when I didn't want to? Why should I when it didn't seem right with so little enthusiasm for so much?

God knew.

God knew.

24 comments:

  1. God does know our heart's needs. And the blessings are revealed when "we" know.
    How awesome that God sent Beth, Cheryl, and Cara to you during the worship time. He heard their prayers and blessed you.
    And there are those sweet friends: Krista, Pepper, Amy who avail themselves--at anytime--to listen. God has enveloped you with His people, the ones He has sent to help you on your journey.
    You are a treasure, Casey. Blessed by the Almighty God.

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    1. And your hugs, Mare! I'm so glad we roomed together and had so many chances to chat. God has richly blessed me in my Alley Cats and I don't care what anyone says, I wouldn't trade ya'll for the world. ;-))

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  2. Oh, Case, this brought tears to my eyes, my friend!! It's true, you were not yourself at ACFW, and I cannot thank God enough that He met you there and showed you His love!! He is amazing and YOU are amazing to Him ... and to everyone who knows you.

    YAY, GOD!!! Always there when the chips are down ... and even when they're not. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. You know I hadn't really thought about me not *being there* until you or Beth mentioned it to me. And I realized how MUCH it must show on my face. Many people asked me how I was through the course of the event. At a certain point the truth needed to be spoken and I'm so thankful for such friends (like you!!) who took so much time to nurture my wounded spirit. ♥

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    2. Casey, looking at you in the beginning the conference -- and talking to you briefly at the start -- left me with a hollow feeling because I could tell you were not yourself. I am SOOO incredibly blessed for God's provision for you since YOU are His provision to so many others, including me.

      Love you!
      Julie

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  3. You made me tear up this morning, Casey. So happy you had an amazing counter with God at ACFW. At the end of the day, that's what this writing journey is about. I think I say that a lot but then there are those moments when I'm like YES! YES it IS about encountering and being transformed by God...that's why we write. That's why he has us on this journey.

    Hugs!

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    1. And you know what? Your card was one of those amazing encounters. But you also know what? I didn't read that card until I got home. I'm weird and like to keep my envelopes with the card, so I wanted to slit it open neatly, thus I put in a book and didn't think to open it again until I got home. For you to write me such a sweet note meant the WORLD, the WORLD to me. And the meetings went really good too. Thank you so much, my friend. Hope to pay it back some day. :)

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  4. Casey, your honest and humble heart is such a blessing to read on the page. I wasn't able to comment on your post a few weeks ago because I was out of town, but I prayed for you and continued to pray for you all through the conference. It brings tears to my eyes to hear how God ministered to your heart and encouraged you. Our God is SO good!! May He continue to bless you as you continue serving him!
    Love,
    Savanna

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    1. You are a sweet and precious friend. I hope someday you are able to attend ACFW and I can thank you in person. I felt EVERY SINGLE ONE of those prayers. Every one.

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  5. God also knew something else: I needed you there.

    Having you as a roommate was exactly what I needed! I know you had some struggles this year, and even while you didn't fully feel like yourself, I want you to know God used you anyway. I was so nervous coming in without really knowing anyone - and to be honest, I walked in not knowing WHY I was there, either - and having you around encouraged me and put me at ease from that first hug and bright smile when you walked into the room.

    I'm so, so glad that you found God waiting for you at ACFW, and I can't wait to see what comes next for you, because I know it's going to be great. I'm so blessed to call you friend now.

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    1. So sweet, & reassuring, Dana!

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    2. Oh Dana, you are going to make me cry!! You are so sweet and precious and I'm so glad we could draw you into our fold and welcome you to the conference with open arms. I'm blessed to call YOU friend as well. Let's stay in touch, okay??

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    3. :) Yes, we must definitely stay in touch! And I know where to find you now, so that should make it easy.

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  6. Casey, it is times like these when you feel all alone...to realize that you are not! It is wonderful to see when God aligns the moment to give you what you need through prayer and worship! It is in the "Why"...when we find out "Why not?" It is in the "Why"....when God is on time! It is in the "Why"....when God can show you what you are not seeing!...Why not!!!! Thank you for sharing what was in your heart!


    strgth4yu@hotmail.com

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    1. Amen and amen to that! I couldn't have worded it any better and I thank you for taking the time to post a comment and share a peak into your heart as well! I love the brothers and sisters in Christ I find when God prompts me to open and share my heart.

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  7. Casey:
    I love you, precious friend.
    And so do so many others.
    But it all pales in comparison to God's love for you -- and his plans for you.
    He is going to use you. He is going to fulfill the desires of your heart.
    He is proud of you.
    You are the apple of his eye.

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    1. And I love you. I knew I was a goner when you walked over to me and God knew how much I needed that. God knew and I'm so thankful He prompted you to me. 29 DAYS!! :D

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  8. THRILLED (& teary-eyed) - beyond measure - for you, dear, sweet, Casey! God is always there for you - so wonderful that He used the fellowship of your sisters-in-Christ to remind you!

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    1. And I'm teary-eyed when I think about the wonderful sisters, like yourself, who took the time to encourage and support me from afar all through this journey. It's not over yet, but I know I can only continue forward with His love and my dear friends. :)

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  9. Truly beautiful.. He's got great plans for you, Casey.

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    1. Thank you, Ganise. Appreciate you. :)

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  10. I am so glad you received the encouragement and love you needed. God knows exactly what we need even when we are clueless. He placed the right people in your path to feed and nurture your soul. God is SO good,

    I have to admit that I am in a stranglehold by the green-eyed monster, though. You met Julie Lessman?!?! I am so jealous! She is such a kind-hearted soul and I would love to meet her. One day, hopefully!

    On another note, I have been following your blog for a little while now and I just wanted to say I love it. Keep doing what you do so well.

    Praying for you!

    Wanda Barefoot

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    1. LOL... gosh, Wanda, we need to get you out more, girlfriend!! ;) Trust me, meeting me is NOTHING to incur jealousy ... more like pity because I'm pretty darn high-wired!! But Case and I are dear friends, so she's used to my CDQ personality and puts up with it beautifully. Just like you do, you sweet thing! And if we're talking "kind-hearted souls," we're talking both you and Case for darn sure because you gals are a true blessing to me!

      Hugs and here's hoping we get to meet for real someday, my friend!
      Julie

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    2. Clueless is definitely the word to describe me most of the time. ;-) But God is so much bigger than my struggles, for sure!

      I love Julie. She's like another mentor to me and I would pretty much do anything for her. She is everything is online and so much more. Her husband is an absolute doll as well! I am so, so honored to call her my dear friend.

      Thank you so much for your kind comment on my blog. It's definitely my online diary and I'm so grateful for the new friends, like you, I've had the pleasure of "meeting". :)

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