Monthly Archives: September 2014

ACFW Conference in St. Louis: Gateway to Publishing (Maybe)

st.louis

I apologize for starting my post with a cliché, but I can’t help myself. God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called. When God asked me to write a book, I was terrified and embarrassed to tell anyone.  I’m a librarian, and I know that it takes more than a gift to become an accomplished writer. It takes years of hard work.

One morning, after months of stalling, I committed to writing the story God gave me. That same day I opened my email, and it included an invitation to attend a Christian Writers’ conference at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas. It was the first and only invitation I had ever received to attend a writers’ conference. I listed all the reasons I couldn’t attend, but my husband insisted I go.

I met author Judy Christie at the Texas conference, who connected me with my editor, Jamie Chavez. Judy also encouraged me to find a writers group. Thanks to Google, I found Middle Tennessee Christian Writers where I met published author Kaye Dacus and other writers. It was through Kaye I found American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Last week I attended the ACFW conference with a long list of needs. The first prayer request was for a mentor. God blessed me with three. I travelled to St. Louis with three amazing writers: Krista Phillips, Liz Johnson and Carol Award winner, Patrick Carr.

An overwhelming task I face is to build a web following. God supplied me with a critique partner who also has expertise in this area. Crystal Brothers is a talented blogger with over 10,000 followers. Check out her blog at  www.servingjoyfullly.com. Crystal didn’t hesitate to offer her talents to help me grow my platform.

I prayed over the conference program and asked my Bible study group to do the same. God gave me every appointment for which I asked, and the results are that two major publishers asked me to send my manuscript, and three top agents ask me to send a proposal.

A few months ago, an agent asked me what known author might endorse my book.  My writing friends write in different genres. I wondered, How am I supposed to get a big name author to endorse my book? I asked God to arrange a meeting, and he did. At the awards banquet, which was attended by over 500 authors, the seat to my right was filled by our keynote speaker, Lauraine Snelling. Ms. Snelling has published over 70 books. I held my breath. I couldn’t believe I was going to spend the next two hours sitting with her. At the end of the banquet, she asked me to send her secretary a copy of my manuscript. If she likes it, she’ll endorse it.  I know that’s a big “if” but I serve a big God.

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.

I am on an amazing journey, and I am thankful to God that he hears my prayers. I pray that everything I say or do may glorify Him. I often wonder why he chose me. And I’m reminded of Gideon. “He was the least of his tribe.” I am the least, but God is the greatest.

#ACFW #LauraineSnelling #Patrickcarr #KristaPhillips #Lizjohnson #servingjoyfully

A Closed Fist Cannot Receive

Hands joined together with glow light

On Sunday, our minister, Jerry Gifford said, “You can’t give or receive with a closed fist.”  He was speaking about tithing and also on sharing our spiritual gifts. Do you ever feel as if the preacher is speaking directly to you?

On Monday night my Bible study group reviewed week six of Beth Moore’s “Children of the Day,” and page 156 was on the same topic. She wrote, “To find your niche, go meet some needs. There’s no end to them. Students need tutors. Shut-ins need visitors. Sick people need someone to pick up their medicine. Demoralized people need someone to listen. Pastors need encouragement before they pass out or pass on….”

There’s a little voice in my head that said “You’re so busy.” And then it said, “You do enough.” Do you think it was God telling me this? I don’t think it was him.

What’s your gift? I hope I’m an encourager and never one who discourages. I hope this post encourages my pastor. At least I was listening. Perhaps Beth Moore will be encouraged that she made me think.  Open your hands friends and let’s give and so that we may receive. Oh, I almost forgot the most important part. Do so with a joy. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against these things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22. I hope you discover your gifts and use them produce fruit.  May God make us worthy of his calling.

Inspired by:
1 Peter 4:10 -11 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength of God supplies – in order that in everything God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 Now there are a varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good  and every work of faith by his power.”

#spiritual gifts, #givingback, #childrenoftheday

Compassionate Heart

Kindness Words in Sky Compassionate Generous Background

I pray today for a compassionate heart — that my thoughts and actions demonstrate kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. When others hurt me, may God give me the heart to forgive them, just as he has forgiven me.  His love fills me with peace and I am thankful.

       Inspired by Colossians 3:12-14

#compassionateheart

“Not Cancer”

shelia 

Last Sunday I opened the previous day’s mail to discover a report from my latest mammogram. “Your recent mammography examination showed a finding that requires additional imaging studies for a complete evaluation. Most such findings are benign (not cancer.)” I have a sister and an aunt who are cancer survivors. The letter said, “not cancer,” but all I could see was, “CANCER.”

 After my second mammogram on Tuesday afternoon, my husband sat with me in a small curtained room awaiting the results, and something unexpected happened.  The radiologist reported that my second mammogram was completely normal. I don’t know what happened to the “finding that might be benign. “  Was it a miracle or was it human error? I’ll let you decided. But I thank God for the good results, and I am thankful for my Bible study group who prayed over me.

 I would worry and say aloud, “I will put on the full armor of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for my feet, the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In every circumstance, I will hold up the shield of faith and extinguish those flaming darts of the evil one.  I will wear the helmet of salvation, hold fast to the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. I will pray all day in the Spirit.” And I would experience peace. After a while, I’d start to worry again, and then I’d repeat the scripture again and peace would follow. Whatever issue you are facing, God has it covered, and as a dear friend reminded me, “God is bigger than cancer,” and He’s bigger than anything you are facing.

Ephesians 6:10-18

#notcancer

 

 

Perfect Peace

shelia

I pray that you can let go of the worries of the day and trust him with everything: your children, your spouse, your job, your church, your health, your home, your food, your clothes… every detail of your life. The answers you seek are found in the scriptures. Every verse in the Bible is God breathed. You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, For the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

2 Timothy: 3:16, Isaiah 26:3-4, Isaiah 53:5

#perfectpeace #scriptureisgodbreathed #trustinthelord