Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
When I read on about the SheSpeaks scholarship contest, in which three scholarships to the 2010 conference are going to be awarded, my interest was piqued.
You see, as a young girl, I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. Or a cake decorator. Anyway, throughout school, my favorite subjects revolved around reading and writing. I helped start a school newspaper in sixth grade and was part of the yearbook staff throughout much of high school. I have a passion for reading, and I drove drive my friends and family crazy with my tendency to “red-pen” much of what they write. My husband gets the brunt of this (sorry sweetheart!). So as I read about this contest, I began to consider entering. I prayed about it, I asked my two best friends, my husband and my mom, what they thought, I argued with myself about why I should and then I argued about why I shouldn’t. The list of “shouldn’ts” grew long, as I focused on everything from doubts about my ability to win to what would happen if I did win. Like leaving my toddler and baby overnight for the first time (especially since I am nursing my three-month old and plan to be at the time of the conference), or going to the conference and realizing I don’t belong or that I simply mistook my passion for writing to be more than just a periodic post on my blog.
Yet here I am writing this blog post, which is, in essence, my entry.
She Speaks is a conference conducted by Proverbs 31 ministries, a group of women who share the love of Christ and Word of God with others through speaking, writing, and women’s ministry leadership. The conference serves as a powerful way to equip other women in this process as well. And this is why I am scared.
You see, there is a definite part of me that is apprehensive about taking a step like this. I tend to like to coast under the radar. I don’t like public speaking and I don’t even really like to be in a leadership position. These things intimidate me. Yet earlier I referenced Jeremiah 29:11, and the reason I did so is that there is another definite part of me that feels that those scary things may be part of the future plans God has for me. I may just be called into doing these very intimidating things by my Lord, and I certainly wouldn’t be the first person God pulled out of her comfort zone! I don’t want to pull a Jonah and skip out on this calling if that is the case, and I feel that giving this contest a go is one way to explore this calling. Writing isn’t so scary to me, and when I first made the decision to enter this contest, I was hoping to attend the writing track if I won. But the fact is, over the past few days, I have been subject to a nagging suspicion that I am supposed to explore leadership in women’s ministry. And that is both parts exciting and terrifying!
All of this is coming at an interesting time for me. I began a career as a stay-at-home mom this past December, allowing me the privilege of being with both my little girl and my newborn son on a full-time basis. This change meant leaving behind a job I loved for eight years as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) at a Christian non-profit residential treatment and foster care/adoption program called the Yahweh Center Children’s Village. This ministry works with children that are abused and/or neglected or are at-risk for abuse, ranging in age from 5-12. I plan to hold on to my LCSW status so that I can return someday into the field if so called. In the meantime, I am in that place of trying to figure out what God has for me (behind my first calling as wife and mother) since leaving my job and adjusting to life at home. My husband, a pastor and former church planter (likely a future one as well) and I were recently asked to consider starting a small group for the young couples in our church in hopes of growing this ministry. I have a growing desire to start a book club as a way to fellowship with and develop women–and myself!– not only in my church, but also in the community. Lately I have been thinking about how to help revive the ladies ministry at our church. As for writing, well, I don’t know if I will ever write a book, but I do love to share my heart and experiences with others. I am already seeing the amazing way God can use writing to not only reach out to women, but to allow growth in the writer as a woman and as a Christian. I imagine this is also the case with women’s ministry!
All that to say, this time of waiting on God is an interesting one for me, and whatever He has called me to do, I am already praying now I will be ready! So whether or not SheSpeaks ends up being part of those plans He has chosen for me, I look forward to the future He has planned. Even if I do get scared.