When I was little, my mom always said, “Sarah, you are such a homebody.” Not to be confused with the “homie” term of today. She wasn’t telling me she thought I was her BFF. No, she was commenting on my lack of desire to leave the house. Don’t get me wrong. I loved hanging out with my friends: sleepovers, mall trips.
But my mother recognized my happiest place was at home. I loved the comfort. The safe feelings and all of my books. It has stayed that way, even as an adult. The staying at home part of being a stay-at-home-mom has never been an issue. It seems it’s not the walls but the safe feelings I long for. Being known and understood keeps me at home.
Stepping out of my comfort zone is hard. When I venture out with new things, I don’t go alone. Ever. I usually have a friend, sister, or husband around for support. I feel anxious when it comes to walking into a room where I don’t know anyone. Those butterflies clinch my stomach tight. I feel my neck tighten and my hands get sweaty. My instincts are more of a flight and hide inside of a flight and fight. I find a corner and just sit there. Alone.
I was dreaming big dreams when I first signed up for She Speaks. Big dreams of learning so much. Of being inspired and yes, getting to meet Lisa-Jo Baker!! (Ever since reading Surprised by Motherhood I felt like I knew her already.) As I drove five hours to North Carolina, I prayed. I was in a hard place with so many things in my life. The adoption. Being a mother. Teacher. Writer. It was all jumbled up and I was trying to figure out how to put the puzzle together.
I prayed that God would speak to me, lead me, and show me my next step. And He did. From the very first session by Whitney Capps on being ME to the informative session by Blythe Daniel about writing a good book title, I felt God speaking. Lysa’s main session challenged me to “Stay in alignment with my assignment.” and to “Be with Him before being sent out by Him.”
We look around at ministries and we sometimes want to do it all. I know I can’t. I prayed (and am still praying) God give me clarity in the assignment HE wants for me. I don’t want to just follow my heart. I want to align my heart with His and let Him lead.
One of the highlights of the conference was meeting Lisa-Jo Baker. I was so encouraged by her session, “From Blog to Book Deal.” She has the sweetest South African/American accent. Being able to share with her how her book has impacted me was fabulous!
Each day, each meal and session, I would have to sit next to someone I didn’t know. God is so faithful. And wise. Although I felt panicky almost every time I had to introduce myself, I was never disappointed with who God led to sit next to me. I prayed for direction and He gave me so much more. He showed me that He has plans for me. I was affirmed in my calling to write. Choosing to write is a real ministry, something He has led me to do. It can be messy, but as Liz Curtis Higgs said, “He can redeem our mess with His best.” He is doing just that, in me.
I had a lot of “favorite” sessions, but Karen Ehman‘s and Lysa TerKeurst‘s session on marketing was so insightful. They spoke on marketing your message, not yourself. How we deliver promises to our audience and ask the right marketing question. Most authors ask: How can I get people talking about my book? Smart authors ask: How can my book enter conversations people are already having?
One of the most impactful sessions was the very last one by Erin Ulrich. She talked on self-publishing. Let me tell you. One of the things I’ve said for over a year, “I’ll never self-publish.” Don’t say “never” because God will change that never to a “now you will….” It was full of such practical advice. As she was speaking, I felt such a tug at my heart. She listed four things to have before you start the journey of self-publishing and I had ALL FOUR. If you are interested, check out her amazing book (I’m reading through it right now) – Self-Publishing: Moving from Idea to Product.
So, my “secret” is out. I’ll be pursuing self-publishing a book this coming year. Wow. That’s scary to write. Its a promise I hope I can keep. The title, content, and method are all unknown. I have a good idea of the theme and topic. So keep an eye out for some FREE stuff to come out in the next few months as I begin to develop a platform. Keep connected so you can help spread the word about all of the new stuff as well!
Everyone who attended She Speaks was moved with Whitney Capps‘ last message about “Me-nistry.” The ministry GOD has given us, no matter if you serve in the nursery, serve food at a city mission, encourage moms about their babies, prepare meals, fold laundry, write on a blog, or simply show up everyday to your life. Ministry can become a “me-centered ministry” at anytime. Whitney cautioned us to keep the ministry about Jesus. We cannot assume all that God gives us will used to build US up. True ministry is ministry that brings God Glory.
Thank you for praying. For supporting. For reading and following. Each person that likes a post, comments on my blog, and reads these words is a huge encouragement to my heart! I hope we can continue to serve each other, and invite others to join us! If you love a post, share it! Comment. “Like” it. Each comment and share is noticed, read, and I give God the praise that He is working not only in my heart, but YOUR heart as well!
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