Thursday, March 25, 2010

She Speaks Conference

I think knowing what you want to do in life can be a very difficult thing.  Some people are born knowing what they've been born to do. From earliest memory, they just know that they are supposed to be a teacher, preacher, doctor or a nurse.

Others, like me, travel along life's pathway letting God use their experiences to  shape them into what they become.

When I was younger, I thought I had my life planned out.  I was going to be Supermom, a stay-at-home mom raising model children living out the Proverbs 31 woman right in my own community.

Life got in the way.

Shortly after the birth of our first daughter, my husband was diagnosed with severe clinical depression.  That diagnosis was just words to us at the time since no one we knew had any kind of mental illness.

As we started down the road that God had for us to travel, I began to modify my life's plan.  Things that once seemed so important became trivial as survival became the main goal.

The first thing to go was the plan to be a stay-at-home mom.  It was necessary for me to find work. If I had to work, I might as well work at something I liked doing.  My first couple of jobs taught me a lot but I didn't sense those jobs as being what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

One day after job hunting, my daughter asked me if I could have a job doing anything what would it be? I was surprised to find myself answering her, "I think I would like to be a church secretary."  Such a thought had never occurred to me before, but upon reflection, I realized being a church secretary would be perfect for me because I was already doing a lot of jobs in the church already. The very next day, a friend called saying that her church needed a secretary and she felt the Lord leading her to call me and tell me about it.

Her obedience to listen to the prompting of the Lord led to me taking the next step in my journey.  Working in the ministry of the church helped me grow tremendously over the next few years.

One day, the Pastor told me that he felt the leading of the Lord to ask me to start teaching the adult class.  I was very nervous but agreed to do it. That was over eight years ago and I'm still teaching and loving it.

Looking back, I see now that a critical step in my pathway was when I studied the little book, "The Prayer of Jabez" by Bruce Wilkerson.  I was encouraged to pray the same prayer the Jabez did:

"Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request." 1 Chronicles 4:10

I prayed that God would enlarge my territory (or borders as Bruce Wilkerson described it.)  God is beginning to do just that.

I soon realized that my life was tied up in ministry.  I loved the church, the body of the believers. I loved teaching and began to have dreams of writing.  I started out writing devotionals or essays and then asking Pastor if I could put them in newsletters.

Then I learned about blogging.  I was so excited about the opportunities of touching someone's life through words written and posted on the world wide web.

More and more opportunities for ministry came my way which gave me the confidence to begin to speak the dream that God gave me:  "Someday, I will be a Christian author and speaker, and travel to women's conferences and share what I have learned." Mostly, I have spoken this to myself and to my family (and now to my friends in the blogosphere).

Then I read about She Speaks Conferences.  It sounded like a dream come true!  A conference that can help you learn how to be an effective speaker and teach you how to get started!  A conference that not only teaches about writing but has professionals there to give you advice. The Proverbs 31 team will also talk to you about blogging and how to be an effective women's ministry leader -- all subjects near and dear to my heart.

I want to go! But let's be honest, the budget for a church secretary with three daughters and a disabled husband does not stretch to include conference fees. Imagine my excitement when I saw a post about a contest to win a scholarship to the conference.  Lysa TerKeust from Proverbs 31 Ministries writes about the contest here.

If you would like to read all the wonderful things in store at She Speaks, visit their website here.

I am confident God will make a way for me to attend a She Speaks conference at some point in my life. I would love for it to be now, but if not, it's okay. I know He has plans for me, and I just want to keep on the path He has set before me.


Irritable Mother said...

Because the path HE has set before us is always the BEST one!
And we can trust Him. Amen?
Love you!

Melli said...

I hope you get to go THIS year too Jerri! What a wonderful experience that would be for you! If it's God's plan, it will happen!

Karyn said...

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

I hope you can go this year too - sounds like something you would be able to use for the good of others.

Karen said...

Oh Jerri...I hope you get this scholarship...but if you wrote...God has other plans....