Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Its Raining on Prom Night: Tea and Sympathy for those Missing Conference


Last year I was disappointed to miss conference and wrote about it here.

I talked to one Alley-Mate on the phone and told her this year would not be my year either. Texas was just too far away.

Well, God has surprises in store and I am sharing this to show you that just because this year isn't your year...who knows...

I have never traveled on my own before. When I realized the hotel was right at the airport and I wouldn't have to worry about transportation my sweet hubby and I talked. In spite of the challenges, we decided this would be my year. I was sure I wasn't attending and ended up signing up the first week the conference opened. 

As I'm dealing with the last minute details of conference, I leave you with this post from last year and the fact that next year, next week, always comes with fresh new possibilities.

I haven't traveled on a plane since 9/11 and I'm desperately shy so if you see me know that attending ACFW is part of my walk of faith this year. 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Whatever the Lord has in store for you this week you can be sure its the very best. 

If I were your next door neighbor, I'd bring over a box of See's truffles and a box of tissue.  Call this your virtual box of truffles.

Conference season is upon us.  We've had a great week of posts on the conference which I plan to save for future reference.  But I know some of you are reading all these "getting ready for conference" posts on our blogs and others and well, let's get real here, maybe feeling a little green in the gills.

Here are my top tips for the "missing conference blues":

1.  Spend some extra time in the Word.  God knows our disappointments in our writing life and in other parts of our life.  Some recent verses in my life for fighting discouragement:

Romans 8:28-30 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brother. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Psalm 9:9-10 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 63:5-8 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadows of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

2.  Write your thousand gifts and thank God for them.  Why not take some time to reflect on the things God has done in your writing life (and in the rest of your life) in the past year.  I know usually I'm more apt to grumble when I'm not being so conscious about being thankful.

3. Put it in perspective.  As Chip said, many writers have disappointed expectations regarding conference.  I think many of us also lack perspective about not attending conference.  Conference is built up and sometimes we forget that God can make a way for us to make connections without attending the conference.  Granted many important connections are made at conference, but some are not.

4.  Have a mini-conference at home.  Last year I found the ACFW conference CDs to be a very worthwhile investment because I was able to listen to ALL the conference.  If you can't afford the package, there are places where you can purchase single CDs or MP3 recordings.  For the price of a mass market paperback you could download MP3 recordings at Best Christian Conferences.  Sit down with a notebook and study a writing topic of interest.

5.  See if you can fit in a little extra time to write.  Sometime during that week, try to find a larger chunk of writing time to remind yourself that its really all about love for the craft.  Maybe see if you can head to Starbucks for a few hours early on a Saturday morning.

6.  Look at the big picture.  God has a plan for your life. He has a plan for your writing.  He wants to use it to glorify Him.  How can you do that right where you are?

7.  Plan for the Season. Only God knows the plans He has in store for us.  Finances, health, children, jobs, homeschooling...whatever the reason you are not able to make it to conference...God knows and He sympathizes even in the small disappointments of life. Through the blogosphere I've connected with writers who have been through difficult seasons in their writing life.  One writer spent 5 years on her first book while she was homeschooling her sons.  As more seasoned writers share their experiences we can find encouragement.

Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Jesus Christ as Lord, continue to live in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught-and overflowing with thankfulness.

I leave you with a quote by Jon Acuff that inspired me: "Never compare your beginning to someone else's middle."

Go forth!

 Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also currently reviews for The Title Trakk and Christian Library Journal. 


Joanne Sher said...

Thanks, Julia. Have a WONDERFUL time. I've been mostly skipping or scanning conference posts, and it has helped. His timing. His way.

Julia M. Reffner said...


I know what you mean. I felt the exact same last year. It can feel like overload and I think sometimes you're right that we need to avoid it. I'll be praying for you and whatever plans the Lord has for you at home.

Lindsay Harrel said...

Julia, you look for me, girl. You'll be at the newbies orientation, right? I can't wait to meet you and hug ya. Don't worry. You'll fit right in and have an AMAZING time!! :D

Julia M. Reffner said...


Yep, I'll be there. Looking forward to meeting you as well. I'm sure you're right :)

Pepper said...

GREAT reminder, Jules!
But for a few 'miracles', I'd be staying at home this year too.
God worked things out in His time.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Yes, He always does. I just need those extra reminders. Can't wait to see you!!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Sorry I'm late!!! Crazy week...again. I am sooooo glad you are going and I cannot wait to hug you in person!!!!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Same here, Sherrinda! You'd better believe I saving you a hug!