This week, She Speaks Conference is running a scholarship contest. Once again, my interest is peaked and I have decided to enter the contest. The conference is part of the Proverbs 31 Ministries, whose mission statement reads, "Proverbs 31 Ministries brings God's peace, perspective, and purpose to today's busy woman". The ministry is based on principles, not surprisingly, from Proverbs 31 in the Bible. If you are familiar with Proverbs, you may know this chapter as the "the one about the woman who can encourage and frustrate you all at the same time unless you take a deep breath and remember God's amazing grace." The Proverbs 31 woman stands as a flawless example of a Godly woman, but who, for many, feels far out of reach. This is the reason that Proverbs 31 Ministries is so valuable in supporting God's girls to be the best we can be. The She Speaks Conference is an opportunity for women who have a heart for God and who feel called to share God's heart messages with others through speaking, writing, and women's ministries. It is an equipping opportunity designed to share tools, insight, wisdom, and practical direction for moving forward in these areas of calling. According to Lysa TerKeurst, president of Proverbs31 Ministries, "She Speaks is not just another conference … it is a true experience with God and a revival in your calling!"
I have long had an interest in public speaking and, more recently, in writing. Perhaps the initial spark of desire to be heard was ignited when I was on-stage back in the old days of community theater, school productions, and show choir concerts. I was more extroverted then than I am today. Yet over the years, the spark was fanned and I found myself enjoying opportunities to speak out in front of others, primarily women, about all sorts of things. School presentations. Campus Life nights. Speech-Language Pathologist related workshops or conferences. Intervarsity girls' nights or retreats. Women's Ministry brunches and dessert nights. Young adult ministry events. Baby and bridal shower devotionals. The opportunity to teach, share, and hopefully encourage others - whether it was in their faith or in the way they learn or communicate with those around them - provided me with a good mix of excitement, passion, and humility. And, they required a big 'ole dash of reliance on God's Spirit and wisdom to pull me through.
Recently, and I mean very recently, I started this blog. It sprung out of the "blogthinking" going on in my mind for a few years now. The title came from the stark reality that I am not who I once was...nor am I yet all that I am to be, thankfully. God truly is not finished with me yet. He's not finished speaking to me or shaping me with regard to most, if not all, areas of my life: as a wife, a mom, an adoptive mom, a mom of a child with special needs, a former (but kinda still) pastor's wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a nature lover, a beach walker, an injustice hater, a speech language pathologist, a friend, a neighbor, a cheerleader, a discipliner, a creator, and on and on.
I am sure He is not finished with me yet, either, in terms of the way that I view the world and others around me. The older I get, the more I realize that I need to view the world and those in it through Jesus vision. When I rely on my own filters, I am more critical and judgmental than I ought to be. I am more likely to find fault and make blame, rather than simply love and accept someone for who they are and where they are in life. Not to say that I can't encourage or support someone to be more of themselves and more of who they were created to be... but I need to do this because of who they are and who God is, not because of who I am. I need to love and serve as Jesus does.
I would love to win the scholarship to this conference. It would be such an encouragement and joy to further explore sharing the messages God has placed on my heart with others - to have the support of others who do this on a regular basis. I am not entirely sure how God would ultimately shape the experience or what would come out of it. But, I am confident that it would help me refine how well I share the things God has for me to share with others, whether through conversations over coffee or within the context of a conference. I don't expect to be a world renowned speaker or top selling author, but there is no telling what God expects and has planned for me. If, after attending the conference, I could speak more clearly of the famous One and His love for us - to my husband, my kids, my neighbors, my co-works, my family members, the grocer, and so on - it would all be worth it. I do hope I am picked, but if not, I will be happy for those who are chosen and will trust that God's going to use me no matter what, in His way and in His timing. Thanks for reading!