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Speak Up Conference 2017: Learning, Loving, & Life Giving

I sat in tears last Wednesday wondering if I should just cancel my flight and petition for a refund. I was sure that I couldn’t be an author during this season as a mother of four young children. You see, I was attempting to assemble a “one sheet” that would outline my book proposal for potential publishers. As I was clacking away on my laptop’s keyboard, my five-year-old threw up all over the floor. After cleaning up the wet spill on isle five, I responded to the umpteenth snack break and toddler meltdown. “I can’t do this now. It is too much.” I told myself that life was too complicated and that I had too many demands upon my time.

I called my friend, Angela, who has been an amazing cheerleader for me lately. I declared my resignation. She gave me an encouraging pep talk that would speak just enough life into me to get on a plane. She shared a story about her first big speaking gig. Her brother’s dog had gotten out and rolled in poop. She had to chase after the dog in high heels and then the dog jumped all over her nice, clean outfit. I smiled at the thought of knowing what it’s like to teach a session while covered in poo (I’ve done it a time or two). She told me that I should take a deep breath and know that God has called me here for a reason. This season can be overwhelming, but God’s peace can calm all anxiousness.

I grabbed a Carmel Macchiato from Starbucks and sat in my car. I asked God to shift my focus from all the chaos to His divine purpose. I packed my things and my mother and I headed to the airport. My mom gave me such love and care in traveling with me. By the time we landed in Grand Rapids, my heart was full with anticipation.

I was greeted at the door by a Speak Up Conference volunteer who checked me in and gave a binder that was bursting with information. Everything was so organized! I was impressed. I met so many women in the first five minutes. It is truly amazing to be surrounded with a group of women that are passionate about sharing the truth of God’s Word. Every breakout session was overflowing with knowledge. I left every session more confident than when I entered.

There was a breakout session entitled “Writing & Speaking for Busy People” taught by Susan Call. What a game changer! Every fear and stronghold in my heart was broken in Jesus’ name in this one hour. She gave me practical advice, action steps, and massive amounts of encouragement. She reminded me of why I began this journey in the first place. As a Women’s Ministry Coordinator, I am constantly finding that women are hungry to understand God’s Word. They crave it. I know that I have been called to meet these women where they are and deliver the truth of who they are in Christ Jesus. I am forever grateful for Susan. She breathed life back into what I believed to be dead.

This conference was a turning point, a game changer. I had great feedback from authors and publishers. I learned about how to hone in on my craft. I was given an overabundance of love. Most of all, the Holy Spirit’s presence was permeating in the walls. Every speaker, volunteer, and session leader was graced by the Spirit. Every word was life giving and I will never forget it. If you are an aspiring speaker or author, this conference is a “must go.” Thank you, Carol Kent, staff, and the Prince Center for the learning, the loving words, and the live giving environment. My journey starts today.

Father God,

Thank you for your sovereignty. Your good and holy ways are so much higher than my own. When I am downcast or discouraged, you lift my chin and help me to fix my eyes on Jesus. With you, I am free from anxiousness or fear. You call me to walk as a citizen of Heaven and I thank you for showing me that, if dependent on you, I can walk out my faith with confidence. Amen!

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