by Sherri Stone
Last year I watched the awards gala on the live feed from St. Louis and wondered if it would be just as cool to be there in person. Nope. It was so much better! I arrived Thursday feeling like a kindergardner dropped off for the first day of school who didn’t even know how to stand in a line and left on Sunday glad to be going home but sad to be leaving such an awesome place of worship.
That’s what I did this week, from Melissa Tag Tebow’s reminder that God always fulfills the promise of the name he gives us to Peter Leavell’s (hear the French accent?) confirmation that we never have to fulfill one single bit of our God-given destiny on our own. Thank you both for letting God use you to encourage us this week.
I lost count of appointments, scheduled and spontaneous, but all God-arranged with people from all walks of life, each with his or her own unique journey. I was excited by the successesand encouraged and humbled by stories of perseverance. Most of all I was never just reminded that I write for the Lord. I was consistently ushered into his presence to praise him, worship him and let him renew my heart and refresh my spirit. For me, it was a time to agree that while it is my dream it is his plan. If I never become a published author he has already made me a writer and will fulfill his promise to use what I write to glorify himself. How can I not be excited about that?
I met wonderful new friends, set writing goals for the next year, and tried to soak up every bit of gravy from the feast that was set before me this week. As I looked around the dining room one morning as we sang and worshipped I was struck by the power represented there to change the world, not because we are great but because the God who basked in our praises that morning is able to do so much more than we can ever imagine when we surrender our dreams to him.
I am so grateful to be a part of this group and I’ve already been pricing plane tickets for next year. (It pays to plan ahead!) It was awesome to see people stopped in the halls praying together and to know that if we have nothing else in common Jesus makes us family.
There were some funny moments:
• Realizing that I was not looking people in the eye but the chest looking for names. Sorry!
• Figuring out that not everyone appreciates it when you point and squeal, “I know you from the loop!” In my defense I rarely squealed, but still…
• Getting on an elevator and having a woman I don’t know point her finger at me and say, “You owe me a blog post.” It was Becky Yauger and she was right.
• Being on an elevator with Richard Mabry and a bunch of women and in the course of elevator chat hear him offer to untuck his shirt so we could touch the hem of his garment. I’m pretty sure that’s funny!
Let me just say thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this conference happen. ACFW has been a God thing for me in my journey and it is my hope that I can be a blessing to others along the way. I am thanking my God for you all the time.
Blessings on your journey to know Him more.
Sherri Stone is a medical social worker with hospice. She is learning about fiction writing, but is also collaborating with her hospice chaplain on a book about the hospice experience. This is her second year with ACFW. Connect with her at www.sherristone.net or http://www.facebook.com/sherrilynnestone or on Twitter @sherristone2.