I’ve just returned from the wonderful American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in Indianapolis. For full disclosure, I work for ACFW, but there’s a reason I work for them, and ran for and served on the operating board. I love this organization! Their goal is to train writers in their craft, teach them about the industry and more. But the things I love about conference go beyond the great workshops and opportunities to speak with editors and agents. I love the fellowship and our worship times.
The fellowship with other writers provides the encouragement and support we all need in what is usually a very lonely job. But these fellow writers are cheerleaders. We all want to see each other succeed! I love that spirit.
And our conference also has worship times, where we pause and praise with our great worship band (Rachel Hauck and company are awesome!). So, in the midst of learning, pitching, and enjoying fellowship, we keep our focus on God and send our thankfulness and praise to Him, who makes all things possible.
We even have a prayer room on site. Sometimes dreams are dashed at conference, and some dreams come true. ACFW provides a place to be with God and have him minister to your heart.
Our keynote speaker this year was Robin Jones Gunn. What a wonderful woman of faith and light, and a good writer to boot! She was a marvelous storyteller and gave keynote addresses that spoke straight to the heart.
I could go on and on about the ACFW conference, but there’s more on my heart today. Often in our Christian walk (and Robin brought this up during her keynote address as well), we talk about “God showed up.”
I use that expression myself, even texting a friend from the conference, that “God had already showed up.”
But we need to remember that God’s already there. He didn’t “just show up.” It’s up to us to show up…every day…with God, with our prayers, with our quiet time, and in our work. Whether we write, have an office job, are parents, or whatever we’re doing. We need to show up with a full heart, trusting that God has placed us there and knowing that God had already showed up long before we began our day.
Things had changed with my own writing direction, and I didn’t want to go to ACFW this year. A change away from novel writing meant that most of the classes wouldn’t be beneficial and pitching to an editor or agent wasn’t in the cards. But as I love the conference, and had my plane ticket, and oh yeah, I work for them (happily), well, I showed up at conference. I showed up feeling a bit lost about my own direction in my career and what God had in store for me.
And guess what? Because I showed up, wow, did God ever bless that!! He didn’t show up — he was already there. He knew what I needed, knew what I was praying about, and knew that I was struggling when I arrived. I obeyed him and showed up where he wanted me to be and filled my heart to overflowing.
He placed people in my path that blessed me, and hopefully used me to bless and encourage others. And it was an amazing and wonderful weekend.
But guess what? I had to show up. I did, and God was there. I’m home now (a little bleary eyed and on brain overload), and God is here.
I need to show up with my prayers and faithfulness to him, and through any upcoming frustrations, bad days, and awesome times and good days — God is there.
We need to do our best and trust Him with our direction in life. It’s up to us to show up…every day.
I so wanted to be there, too. God showed up for me at last years conference and knew that this year I would have family matters to keep me away. Why he lead me to where I am I do not know. This I do know. I am right where he wants me to be.
Like you, Becky, I LOVE ACFW!!! I've learned so much and made lifelong friends through ACFW. Every CHristian who writes fiction should belong. 🙂
I agree with Becky and Ane. I LOVE ACFW!!!! And the conference was like a family reunion where you only see your cousins once a year, but in this case you only see your fellow Christian writers once a year face to face. Hugs were abundant and warm.
Marilyn, I'm glad you're trusting God to have you right where he wants you to be. Keep the faith!
I agree, Ane! So glad I met you via ACFW as well. Your hugs are always a bright spot.
Yes, it is like a family reunion. It's funny that you mentioned cousins and a reunion, because I have a cousin reunion coming up this weekend!