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.
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?