“God has put the love of story in your heart.”
The American Christian Fiction Writers Conference has come and gone for another year, and life has resumed into its usual busy-ness. But I’m still basking in the memories of a time with friends, teachers, and new friends.
I’ve attended for almost ten years, experienced lots of ups and downs, but I think this year was one of the best.
Well, first of all for the reasons I love it EVERY year.
Attending ACFW is like a giant family reunion. There are wonderful opportunities to connect with friends I only see during this time each year. There’s mutual encouragement. Laughter. And lots of hugs! We can talk about our imaginary friends and everyone ‘gets it’ 😊
A few highlights:
Being a part of the praise team really makes the weekend richer. Rachel Hauck, Amanda Wen, Javi, Tom, Jason, Jeremy, and Eddie!!! I just love worshipping with them and having those little moments of BIG blessing through conversations and music. #meltedchocolatevoice #musictomyheart
CARRIE AND BETH!!! I love you! #sisters
And THIS year I got to meet #littleBeth, Beth’s daughter, Alia. I think I scared her a little bit because I was fangirling over her, but by the end she…didn’t run away 😊
ANGIE, KRISTA, ASHLEY, CARA – my ALLEYCATS. We were smaller in number this year, but these girls have been with me for a looooong time now. Each one of them is indelibly written through the pages of my writing journey. I love you all. (Krista and Carrie…thank you for your time and thoughts)
LIZ CURTIS HIGGS – She’s AMAZING. That is all.
Meeting IN PERSON wonderful people like Rachel McDaniel, Kathleen Denly, Bethany Turner (hilarious), Carolyn Miller (BEAUTIFUL person… BEAUTIFUL), and so many more.
KRISTI ANN HUNTER – I love you and your hair is fabulous.
DINEEN MILLER and HEATHER TIPTON – prayer warriors and hearts of purpose.
ROBIN MILLER (CAROLL) – THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THE AUSSIE MEN – (Isn’t that a fabulous opening? 😉) I had the delight and privilege of hanging out with Ian Acheson and David Rawlings – particularly during the gala – and it was a blast. Gentlemen. Classy. And a whole lot of fun. Ian – #timtamsforever. David – #inamedthekoala
NEW FRIENDS & OLD – Lindsey Brackett, Kim Duffy, Leslie DeVoogt, Janyre Tromp, Ali Herring, Carol Moncado, Rebekah Millet (she’s adorable, ya’ll…#tshirtlady), Natasha Kern (thank you for your encouragement), Sarah Varland (#roomie), Betsy Haddox, Savanna Kaiser, Mary Connealy, Jen Turano, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Amy Clipston, Nicole Jones…and MORE.
I KNOW I’ve missed people! There are too many to name all!
Next for some rockin’ classes. The classes were excellent this year. The one Susan May Warren did on Marketing really opened my eyes to how to make some changes in my publishing ‘plan’. Liz Curtis Higgs class on Hope was so encouraging (and I was in tears within the first five minutes). My friend, Krista, said that Angie Hunt’s class on building your story was SUPER. There’s so much to learn!!
Third, the keynote was hilarious.
Best-selling author, Debbie Macomber, was funny, insightful, incredibly approachable, and a definite encourager. This photo is when she told me “God has put the love of story in your heart.”
She reminded all of us that God holds our dreams – and his dreams for us are usually LOTS bigger than ours.
But the last reason is the BEST.
God loves BIG. Lots of times we live as if we must draw God’s love through a sieve to our hearts, but it’s not so. He lathers us with love.
We have REAL hope.
Check out Romans 5:5 (but make sure to read 1-5 to get a great understanding of the depth of our hope)
“hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
No matter the circumstances. No matter the view. No matter the brokenness or loss or heartache or betrayal. No matter….we have HOPE because the love of God is not trickling out on us – but POURED out on us. We are loved lavishly – almost ‘recklessly’ in human eyes.
So out of the knowledge of this love, what can I, as a writer, understand?
God not only gives me these stories, but he holds their future in his hands too. He has a plan and a people waiting for my stories…and yours. Whether those are written, spoken, or lived, they are stories to tell for His glory.