Even though conferences can be physically exhausting, I still feel revived after participating in this year’s Write2ignite Conference. Not only through the reinforcing of my writing skills, but also through the refreshing of my spirit.
If you didn’t attend the 2015 Write2Ignite Conference, allow me to share with you a glimpse of some blessings I witnessed. I’m sure others saw additional blessings, because you never know who’s watching you at a writers’ conference.
Here’s my short list:
I witnessed an outstanding director, Jean Hall, who has the amazing gift of staying calm under all circumstances and keeps things running smoothly. Her faith in God to bring it all together is always apparent. She also carries a tiny handy-dandy pair of scissors on her keychain. I’m looking for a miniature roll of duct tape so she’ll have the perfect combo set.
A super helpful young man named Dylan came to help the team set up for the conference. Dylan maintained a quiet presence during the entire conference and was always there to help whenever called on. He also had excellent skills for locating items people misplaced.
I had the pleasure of transporting author Tim Shoemaker back and forth to the conference each day. I appreciated his helpful words as I shared with him about my pre-speaking jitters. In addition, he was kind and understanding when I missed our turn-off and when I kept juggling and dropping things once we arrived.
I knew, without a doubt, my family was praying for me back at home. But what a blessing it was to have friends at the conference pull me aside and whisper a prayer over me before I spoke. God heard all our prayers, and His amazing grace calmed me just before I stepped behind the podium. Thank you, Lord.
I noticed smiling teens enthusiastic about writing. One teen in particular I heard go up to Tim Shoemaker and thank him for speaking. She said she didn’t write for boys, but his talk about the topic helped her have a better understanding of her brother!
I saw numerous authors and editors taking time to chat with teens and adults outside the classrooms. Jenny Cote, an award-winning author of six books, paused to offer a word of praise to those selling their first published book. Those encouraging words go a long way.
Watching members of the leadership team do their jobs with enthusiasm is always a blessing. It’s like a joyful family reunion whenever we get together, and we all love the mission of Write2Ignite.
During praise-and-worship time, I loved watching Donna Earnhardt take heed of the Holy Spirit prompting her to call on someone to give a testimony. What a tremendous blessing to hear a young teen girl, without prior notice, volunteer. She eagerly shared a vivid description of when the woman with the alabaster box poured perfume on Jesus’ feet. If that wasn’t enough, Donna, who had been wiping her tears as she listened to the girl speak, then stepped up to show the audience the song lyrics that were already cued up for the next song, “The Alabaster Box.” How awesome was that?
Later, another woman shared her testimony of how God spared her life in a horrific accident, providing her a second chance to accept His love and eternal salvation. She reminded us of the importance of seizing those opportunities today, not to wait. Even though this woman still experiences tremendous physical pain every day, she is using her written and spoken words to point others in the direction of her Savior.
I watched people volunteer to help others all weekend—with an umbrella, a ride to lunch, and a seat in the auditorium. Smiles, prayers, and encouraging words weaved throughout the crowd.
Even the homeschool mom who volunteered to help with the snacks in the green room continually checked to make sure everyone had what he needed. She kept asking whether the coffee was fresh enough. She cared about those she served and gave full attention to every detail. What a blessing.
I saw God’s blessings overflow this weekend. I can’t help but wonder what others saw. Surely, in the crowd on campus, there was someone who was struggling with a life issue, someone who was lonely, or someone who was not in a close relationship with Jesus Christ. I hope they saw a glimpse of what I saw.
If you attended the Write2Ignite Conference this year, what blessings did you see?
Encouraging others is Sally Matheny’s mission in life. She enjoys “reflecting on ordinary life under God’s extraordinary Light.” A freelance writer and blogger, Sally is blessed with her pastor-hubby of 25+ years, three children, and a home that can’t stay clean for more than seventeen minutes. Find encouragement from Sally on her blog at sallymatheny.blogspot.com, or follow her at twitter.com/sally_matheny.