There are lots of ways I could summarize my Speak Up Conference experience but as I sit down to write this post, the word that keeps coming to mind is PRAYER.
Prayer #1 … A little over a year ago, I connected with a previous Speak Up attendee, Cynthia Spell, through Facebook. Little did I know then, she prayed for me that the Lord would allow me to connect with Carol Kent. I was somewhat familiar with Carol’s ministry via my speaking for Stonecroft Ministries, but at that point I’d never heard of Speak Up.
Prayer #2 …My Tampa friend, Becky Burgue called to ask me to pray with her about inviting Carol to give her testimony to her local Women’s connection. We prayed, Carol said yes, and then Becky called me and said, “And YOU’RE going to come give the feature presentation!”
Prayer #3 …Weeks of prayers, actually, trying to come up with a presentation.
Prayer #4 …I connected with Carol on Facebook, saw several announcements about the conference and possibility of a scholarship. I prayed, applied and got notice that I’d received a scholarship.
Prayer #5 …I prayed that I wouldn’t make a total fool out of myself when I spoke in front of Carol! God answered!
Prayer #6 …During the months of March through July I prayed for grace and strength because we were in full care-giving mode for my daughter who was waiting to have back surgery. I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to go to the conference at that point.
Prayer #7 …Yikes! Two weeks before the conference I found out I’d been accepted into the pre-conference Book Proposal Clinic and had to write a book proposal fast! Prayers, prayers, and more prayers.
Prayer #8 …During my morning walks, I prayed about the conference; prayed for Carol and her staff, for all the behind-the -scenes preparations, for the worship, the attendees – everything I could think of to pray for, I prayed. One morning I heard the Spirit say the word, “Reunion.” But I’ve never been there, Lord; how could it be a reunion? “Reunion,” He repeated. “Family. Connections. Home.” That theme became my prayer over the remaining days prior to the conference.
Prayer #9 …Non-stop prayers for all of us who were nervously preparing for one-on-ones and 3 minute speaking presentations.
Prayer #10 …Post-conference prayers of Thanksgiving. Thank you, Jesus, that the words the Spirit spoke that morning: “reunion, family, connections, home,” accurately describe my Speak Up experience. Thank you for giving me the courage to stick my head out of my shell and as a result, doors are opening. I am beyond excited and grateful! Thank you for all I learned from the classes and keynotes, for the Spirit moving during worship, for making a way for me to attend! Thank you for the women I met, the hard stories I heard and the stories I know are being written. Thank you for the staff praying for each of us by name, and for the ones who took time to pray in hallways between classes. Thank you for the admonition that was given over and over, to ground our ministries in prayer.
And so I pray for all of us, that we would boldly pursue what God has put in our hearts, that our ‘platform’ would be a place to stand up for Jesus, and most of all, that He would make us women of prayer. Amen.