A Challenge, A Contest, and A Conference

Happy Monday everyone!  Just want to share a bit of the happenings in and around my world.  Today, I’ll chat a little bit about a challenge, a contest, and a conference.  Let’s get started, shall we!

A Challenge:

I think I must have bumped my head.  Either I bumped my head or mistakenly inhaled some intoxicant, because surely my sane, with a little bit of common sense mind, wouldn’t do what I have done.

I have signed up to participate in an A to Z Blog Challenge.  Probably, just reading the phrase “A to Z” gives you a clue as to what I’ve chained myself to.  The A to Z Blog Challenge is being hosted by Tossing it Out and a few other folks.  I learned about the challenge from my sweet, bloggy friend Wanda, over at The Watered Soul.  Wanda has courageously taken the challenge before, and this year I am daring to travel in her footsteps.

In the A to Z Blog Challenge hundreds of writers/bloggers (who obviously have a few screws loose) commit to writing one blog post a day with the subject matter being something (or someone, I suppose) beginning with the letter of the day.  It begins on April 1st, so the letter for that day will be A, April 2ndB, and so on.

Last I checked there were still 26 letters in the English alphabet (seems we’re still hanging on to those awkward letters like Q and X, lol).  So, my friends, for 26 glorious days straight you will be hearing from yours truly.  Seeing as though my pen has moved a tad sluggish out of the gate this year, I figured a blog challenge would be just the thing to get the ink flowing.  For more formal information on the challenge or to join in on the fun, click here.

Moving on to the contest…

A Contest:

Last year, I mentioned some upcoming changes to this little blog space we share here.  I know I said “coming soon” probably months ago.  As you can tell, “coming soon” turned into “coming eventually.  But there is hope!

Last Monday, I entered a contest hosted by Karen Ehman – author and member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries national speaking team.  The contest’s first prize was a blog hosting package.  Sweet!  The winner of said first prize – yours truly!  Yes!!  Click here to check out Karen’s blog and click here to see where she announced the winners.  I wish I could say “click here” to see my face when I read my name as the winner.  Trust me; I looked super silly as I rejoiced out loud in my home alone!

Lisa Boyd, who serves the Proverbs 31 Ministries team as their “Tech Dudette”, will graciously help me spruce up my corner of the blog world.  I really want you to have a nice place to come hang out.  Needless to say, I am excited and extremely grateful!  I’ll keep you posted on how and when this will all come together.  In the meantime, you can check out Lisa at two different places – click here for tech tips and services or click here for Lisa’s personal blog entitled Simply His.  I SIMPLY LOVE that title!

Oh how God loves His daughters.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  As I stepped up and embraced a challenge to get my writing back on track, He blessed me with something I’d been praying for, something that falls right in line with His will for me to write!  Thank you Father!

A conference:

Proverbs 31 Ministries will host its annual She Speaks conference this summer – July 22nd – 24th.  If you were hanging out with me this time last year you witnessed my many attempts at winning a scholarship to this event.  Well, some things never change, and I am trying again this year to be in attendance.  With tracks for speaking, writing, AND women’s ministry, this is truly a gathering I would love to be a part of.  If you’re interested in learning more about the conference held in Concord, North Carolina, click here.  If you want to learn more about the ministry, click here.

So I think I covered all of my bases – a challenge, a contest, and a conference.  Today my prayer is simple.  Lord help me through this challenge and, thank you for the contest, and, if it is Your will, allow me to attend this conference!

Post number one for the A to Z Blog Challenge comes to an inbox near you, Friday, April 1st.  Don’t miss it!

Wise, Virtuous, Valuable,

 

Bound, Broken, Desperate

“The Lord reassures me of His call each time I listen to the heart of or have an opportunity to encourage one of God’s daughters.  I see the pain.  I know the pain.  I’ve found the freedom, and I want to share.”

Seven or eight years ago one of my girlfriends invited me to attend a women’s bible study.  A group of women met for 8 or 9 weeks, reading and discussing the book Showing Mary, by Renita Weems.

I’ll be honest; I don’t remember much about our time together.  Yet the one thing I will never forget is the very moment the Spirit of the Lord enlisted me to share the pages of my life’s story with a young woman I didn’t know at all.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  She was bound.  She was broken.  She was desperate.  I recognize the bold, piercing stares of those three predators anywhere; I’ve seen them glare at me through my own mirror.  Bound…Broken…Desperate.

One evening, as this young lady was sharing the heartbreaking story of her then current situation with the group, I distinctly heard God’s whisper.  His instruction was clear. I was not to leave without tending to the wounds of my sister.  I had no idea what I would say to her, but I knew leaving that church without allowing the Lord to use me would be blatant disobedience.

So I did go speak to this woman.  What I said back then escapes me, but I left her with my contact information and an open invitation to call me anytime.

And she did.

I was honored to walk with her for years.  Our journey together blossomed into a beautiful friendship.  I’ve had the extreme pleasure of watching God transform her life, moving her from a place of darkness into the glory of His marvelous light of truth.

Saturday, while hanging out at a local mall, one of my girlfriends and I encountered a woman.  She stopped to talk to us after overhearing one word from our conversation. We later learned that pain laced with alcohol gave her the courage to pour out her brokenness on complete strangers.  Out of the abundance of her heart her mouth spoke, revealing stories of loss, adultery and abuse.  The look in her eyes was familiar – bound, broken, and desperate.

Before she walked away, I asked if I could pray with her, and she agreed.  As the three of us huddled together holding hands, her weeping became the forlorn melody to my fervent prayer for peace, healing and direction.  I can only imagine what other issues of her life rolled down her cheeks in the drops of her tears.  After my friend and I encouraged her a bit more, I gave her contact information, and she went on her way.

As Saturday’s dust settled, I began to reflect.  First, I thought about my encounter from days gone by with the woman who is now one of my sweet friends.  As the Lord would orchestrate, she called me on Thursday.  Next, I thought about my She Speaks Scholarship Contest entry.  I just narrowly met the Friday deadline.  Then, my thoughts naturally drifted toward God’s sweet daughter I’d met only hours earlier.  Tying all of this together, my mind came to rest, once again, on these words from my contest post:

“The Lord reassures me of His call each time I listen to the heart of or have an opportunity to encourage one of God’s daughters.  I see the pain.  I know the pain.  I’ve found the freedom, and I want to share.”

Father, in Jesus’ name, I thank you for continuing to use me.  Amen.

Wise, Virtuous, Valuable,

Something is Just Not Write

I’ve been dry.  Well, not me literally, but my pen’s been dry.  It’s as if my sweet thing has lost its “swagger”.  Is that how you use that word?  LOL… Help me, Lord, because I have no idea!  I’m sure I’m way too old to be trying to use that word anyway. 🙂

*Sigh…*

It’s the middle of March, and my beautiful blog space is weeping from the sting of neglect.  Sadly, I’ve made an appearance only twice this year.  Yes, my friends, my pen has been dry.  Something is just not write (yes, I meant “write”), and now I’m a little scared.  The message is still alive inside me.  I feel it wrestling for freedom.  Yet, it seems my words have been taken hostage, being held for an unknown ransom amount.

So what brings me here today?  Some fear that time is running out…  Some desperation to get back on my writing track…  A sanctified, yet swift, kick in the proverbial rear…  And two simple words – She Speaks

I’m sure at least one of you recalls my zealous attempts, last year, to win a scholarship to the She Speaks Conference.  The annual conference is hosted by Lysa Terkeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries in Concord, North Carolina.  Well, it’s She Speaks time again, and I would love to win one of the two Cecil Murphy scholarships that will be given away on Monday.

The conference includes three tracks that only send a girl like me into tilt-a-whirl confusion.  The tracks are Speaking (She Speaks, speaking, get it?  Never mind….), Writing and Women’s Ministry.  Yep, my friends, ALL THREE!  Click here to check it out for yourself.

For those of you who know anything about me, I’m sure you understand at which door confusion entered.  Choosing between a speaking track and a writing track would be challenging enough, but no!  Lysa Terkeurst and her Proverbs 31 team had to go and throw in a Women’s ministry track, too.  Now God isn’t the author of confusion, so why in Jesus’ name would they do that to me???  LOL….

My writing has been stagnant for a few reasons:

1.  I’m just not always the best manager of my time.  I have it.  I counted, and all 24 hours are there.  But I’ve found that I often fail to give an assignment to every minute of my day, and I MUST get better.

2.  My life in 2010 and my life in 2011 are truly like night and day.  Joy came in the morning of 2011, and it’s been pretty busy ever since.  I have enough to do, plus my share of sweet distractions, and again, time slips away.

3.  Not managing my time well means not spending enough time in my Father’s word.  I recognize the thirst, and I’m working to quench it.

4.  The most profound reason of all, though, is that I have a message.  I have a message and a challenge from on High regarding this blog space and my writing in general.  I know my message, but I’m nervous about the challenge to transparently deliver that message.  This has undoubtedly been the biggest ink blotter of all!

I don’t have a dramatic reason for hoping to be chosen for one of the scholarships.  My wanting to attend She Speaks since 2004 probably pales in comparison to stories far more compelling.  I am simply a woman hanging onto her 30s by a thread and nervous that I’m missing my moment.  The Lord reassures me of His call each time I listen to the heart of or have an opportunity to encourage one of God’s daughters.  I see the pain.  I know the pain.  I’ve found the freedom, and I want to share.  I realize I need a jump start, and I simply believe She Speaks is just the voltage I need.  And yes….since I can’t figure out how to split myself in 3 (and believe me I’ve really been trying to figure it out), if awarded one of the scholarships, I would select the track that makes something write again. 🙂

Wise, Virtuous, Valuable,

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