Join ACFW |  Forgot Password |  Login: 

An Expectant Heart

By Ian Acheson

Late last year a pastor spoke a word over me about the Lord wanting to give me a new book, a new optimism and referenced Habakkuk 2:2-3 which talks of waiting on a new vision. I stored it away and got on with life.

Over the last couple of years I’ve felt an increasing urge to start writing non-fiction material in addition to my fiction. A dear friend who has read some of the material encouraged me to give it serious consideration.

In May I determined I would head to Nashville in late August to attend this year’s ACFW Conference. I’d been to one in 2012 and have longed to return. Soon a bunch of things fell into place: Ted Dekker (an author hero of mine) was announced as keynote, my Angelguard publisher (Lion Fiction) would be present, an editor friend who I’ve never met was attending, and other friends from the US and from down under were going. In addition, I submitted the manuscript to the sequel to Angelguard, Wrestling with Shadows (WWS), to Lion in early July.

There was a lot to be excited about. I left Sydney with an expectant heart. But with no expectations. I sensed the Lord would reveal something, what, I didn’t know and was excited to find out.

“There is an ocean of difference between expectations and expectancy.”1

Meeting old and new friends

My wife and I arrived a few days before the conference. We’d both wanted to visit Nashville. One of favorite TV shows in recent times is “Nashville” and so having the conference in the same city was a great reason to pay a visit. Fiona had to head off to Baltimore for work while I was conferencing so we got to be tourists for a few days before she had to fly out. It certainly is a fun place especially if you like country music.

As I waved Fiona goodbye at 4.30am (yes, she had a very early flight) my sense of expectancy grew. It was still 2 days before the conference started and I had set up a few meetings with various people. I had lunch with our very own David Rawlings (we’d never met before) and breakfast with friends Rel Mollet, Dotti Adamek and Ronie Kendig. It was a special treat to finally meet Rel after being buddies for a number of years.

Surprise, surprise

One of the wonderful aspects of conferences is running into people who’ve connected with virtually but have never met. I continued to have some delightful catchups.

The Lord kept on surprising me. I unexpectedly got to spend ninety minutes over coffee with Ted Dekker and his business partner. Talk about wow! Then another author hero of mine had a cancellation and we shared dinner together. My heart was buzzing and the conference hadn’t even started.

I set up a meeting with my publisher on the morning the conference started. I hoped he’d give me an update on WWS but hadn’t anything new to share as it was still doing the rounds within the publisher. Then he asked me whether I had any interest in writing non-fiction? You could have knocked me over with a feather.

I lifted my jaw off the table and realized I had an opportunity to give him a pitch. I wasn’t prepared (hey, it’s a fiction conference) and it showed. Tony was kind enough to chat over possibilities and we agreed I’d prepare a proposal and get it to him as soon as possible.

Heart overflowing

And then the conference began. Wow, so many great things happened. Not just for me but others. New friends (you know who you are) got asked to submit manuscripts, Iola and Jebraun won their Genesis Awards and golly gosh it was so good being present when their names were read out. I felt like a proud dad or older brother. And let’s not forget David Rawlings was a Genesis finalist. So great the Beyond the Borders clan is making inroads. Sharing breakfast with the BtB clan was fun. Two tables this year. There was only one when I attended in 2012.

The workshops, don’t get me started as I could write another entire post on those, the special worship time, witnessing God’s power and peace in the prayer room, new friends, and on it goes.

“Staying expectant is the opposite [of expectation]. It reflects anticipation for what’s to come. It is being open to what does happen regardless of what you think should happen. Life is not meant to be something we control but something we experience.”2

A few weeks have passed and as I was thinking about what to write for this post I read Allen Arnold’s words quoted above and the Lord reminded me of the word I received late last year.

Will I become a non-fiction author? Maybe. Maybe not. But I sure want to savour the experience writing with the Lord as we discover whether I will be or not. And that’s more than enough for me.

When have you approached a situation expectant and been surprised by the Lord’s goodness? I’d love for us all to be encouraged by each other’s experiences.

Notes: 1 and 2. Allen Arnold, “The Story of With” p103. Self-published.

Ian AchesonIan Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney, Australia. Ian’s first novel, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Angelguard won the 2014 Selah Award for Best Speculative Fiction. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian’s website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter.

This entry was posted in ACFW, Advice, Conference, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to An Expectant Heart

  1. Mary Hawkins says:

    So thrilled for your experiences at conference and with the Lord, Ian. My husband and I were privileged in 2009 to be at the conference in Denver. Sure can identify with your comments. God certainly was in control of organising our time there.
    So wonderful to meet authors whose books I’ve enjoyed but only been in contact with on internet. Over the years I’d been to other writer conferences and the Christian fellowship, worship and teaching sessions were incredible.
    I love your Angelguard book and look forward to a sequel.

  2. Ian says:

    So wonderful to have you pop across from Tassie, Mary. And thank you for your encouragement. Sequel is at publisher being reviewed. Fingers crossed.

    Trust all is well with you & Ray.


  3. I think you’ve given me my word for next year, Ian. Staying expectant. (I know it’s two words :-)) Enjoyed the post and hated I missed you at ACFW!

  4. Ian says:

    Great word, Patricia. Might be mine too.

    Thanks for the suggestion. And 2017 for meeting?