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Reflections of an amazing conference…

Angela Breidenbach, ACFW publicity officer, here to share ACFW member, Christy LaShae Smith’s guest post. She’s a 2009 Genesis winner and one of the new authors to watch :-) Take it away, Christy!

Where else will you find people who share the goal of glorifying Christ and share a goal of writing? Where else can people with those same goals gather to promote and support each other? Why, nowhere else except at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference!

The reasons stated above are the same reasons why I am drawn to this organization, why I have been a proud member for 4 years.

My first conference was 2007. Writing had been in my system since I was a teenager, but I was still a newbie when it came to the right way of doing things. The Dallas conference I walked in wide-eyed and ready to learn I was overwhelmed by the editor/agent appointments, but the only way to learn is to dive in the deep, head first.

By the time I attended my second conference in 2008, I found myself in the role of helping others. In the first conference, the Lord showed me the value of other people, of their helping hand. In 2008 in Minneapolis, I was able to be a helper and encourager to others.

In 2009, I flew to Denver, amazed that I was attending conference as a Genesis Finalist. But, I’ve got to be honest, I felt I was in the middle of a tug of war between my Heavenly Father and Satan himself. At five months pregnant, I was more emotional than normal. Finances at home were tight. Conference couldn’t have fallen during a tougher time. I arrived at the hotel, faced my first challenge, but also faced one of my best friends and roommates. She became my hero and my supporter as she always is when I need her, sometimes anticipating my needs before I realized them. A true friend!

During 2009 conference, I spent a lot of time, rushing out of the workshops feeling terribly queasy. Was it the altitude or the pregnancy that had my stomach all out of whack? As I lay there in the hotel room staring up at the ceiling, shedding some tears at times, I wondered if the whole conference would be like this? I couldn’t concentrate. I was so excited to be there, so stressed about things going on at home, and still amazed that my manuscript was being honored as a finalist in Genesis, that I just couldn’t do anything else.

Well, the devil may have nipped at my heels the entire time. He may have kept flames of self doubt burning hot during that trip, but my Heavenly Father had my back. Our God surrounded me with friends I’ve met across the country and they supported me, checked on me, loved me like lifetime friends do – the only thing is I haven’t known most of these folks any longer than a four years.

I’m still amazed that God has blessed my writing the way He has. I’ve climbed many mountains in life. Writing is so private, so devastating at times when we send our work out and feel like we’re risking everything. But the Lord is our constant. And by glorifying Him in all we do, in every word we write, He will bless us in some way.

Remember this, as you mingle with other writers, editors and agents at the conference. We join together with shared goals at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Rejoice that He has led you to write for Him. Rejoice that you are surrounded by His children who truly love Him and as a result, show love for you, too.

BIO: Christy LaShea Smith is the 2009 Genesis winner in the Contemporary Romance Category. She resides in Georgia, and stays busy balancing writing with her full time job, and spending plenty of family time with her husband and two children. Read more about Christy on her blog At Split Ends.

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