Friday, September 20, 2013

An ACFW Recap In Pictures...and a Bit of Wisdom

 You know that feeling right?

That feeling like you're forgetting something? The proposal? The cell phone charger?

Your boarding pass. That was pretty much me the entire time I was traveling. Thankfully this niggling feeling of forgetfulness was never fulfilled. ;-)

Aside from the fact that there was no bookstore and I felt lost without the normal hangout place to go, ACFW Indy, proved to be the year that God was waiting for me to show up. The one year I actually did not glean mega-information from the classes, was the one year that God was beckoning to meet Him in the prayer room. In the halls. In the worship sessions. 

Can one really allow themselves to spend so much money to further their relationship with God instead of the level of their craft?

Yes. For me, it was definitely worth it. I couldn't do it anywhere else on my own and God knew that. God knew I needed to be surrounded by friends that knew my heart's desire only better than I know it myself.

Yes, Brandilyn Collin's sentence rhythm class was am-a-zing.

The pitches (surprisingly) went really well and I'll be heading into the rounds of submitting soon.

I got to squeeze so many friends who have been amazing to me online and reconnect to those friends that only grow more precious as the years go by.

In the next couple weeks I will be gleaning from my notes to share with you here, but for today I just wanted to share something God taught me while at ACFW this year:

We often don't know why He has brought us to the place He has. We often can't fathom why our grounds are allowed to be shaken and our faith in what we are sure we should be doing (ie: writing a novel) is tested. 

But God is GOOD through it all. 


From the people you chat with at the registration desk who don't even hesitate to let you know you are right where you are supposed to be. 

To the people who send encouraging Facebook messages and tweets saying they want to meet you. All these people show Jesus and my place where I am right now. Doesn't mean that will change slightly or the goals will shift to a different direction, but one thing I do know: God has a reason for it all. 

The valleys allow you a better appreciate for the mountaintop vantage. The struggles, the depression against the spirit as though it will never lift and this writing thing isn't really for you, all to point to a God who is mightier than it all. 

It's all FEAR. 

And FEAR is to be defeated. Identified as what is. Fear masquerades as so much: insecurities, worry, self-doubt. Rebuke it. Battle against it in the name of Jesus. 

Allow His children to speak truth over you. Pray for you. 

Lesson learned this year: SPEAK what is on your heart.

We so often hide this doubt for fear when aired for our close friends to see we will be judged for it or they won't understand. 

But fear is not meant to be kept in the darkness for Satan to continue breeding these emotions that will only kill any and all desire for what God has laid on your heart. Be honest. Trust in the faithfulness of your closest friends. I was given some of the best moments of the entire conference when I was honest about where I was and what I was struggling with.

Stop being willing to say "fine". Answer with the truth and allow your friends, the people God has place in your life, to do their divine purpose: form a blockade against the evil one and rebuke your fear in the name of Jesus.

Never doubt the place God has you. He has you there for a reason, even if you aren't sure what that reason is in the beginning.

Share your best conference memories...I would love to hear about them! 


Mary Vee Writer said...

My best writing conference moment was hearing the stories, both those experienced at the conference and those written ready to pitch.

I love listening to what God has done in the lives of others. The storyteller's face is aglow, they sputter a little because of their excitement to share. How can anything be more thrilling?

Thank you for sharing how God blessed you at the conference, Casey. YOU ARE A BLESSING!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

"Never doubt the place God has you." Great thing to read this morning!

Love the pictures, ladies! So glad your time was blessed!
~ Wendy

Debra E. Marvin said...

I went to enjoy myself, knowing the special treats God had in store for me--time with friends, new friends, being surrounded by people who love to talk about my favorite subjects, and knowing it all was going to be bathed in prayer and worship.

Oh my!

There's nothing like a Christian Writer's Conference and the ACFW was the best. It saddened me to see people who were downhearted or irritable because ... why? How could you miss what God was telling us through Robin Jones Gunn? I want to pray right now for those how came away disappointed because there must be a bigger issue at work beyond the disappointment of a pitch not going well.

my favorite moment was telling friends I had two people to stalk and speak with before the end of the conference and those two people walked out of lunch together and stood near us. I did stalk them and had great conversations with both. A very delightful and amusing confirmation on how God finds the little ways to bless us. Whatever comes of those conversations pales in knowing the God loves to bless his children!

Joanne Sher said...

Casey - I absolutely LOVE this post. Your heart is extremely precious. You made me smile.

Thank you, girlie (who I would LLOOVVEEE to meet in person some day!!

~cjoy said...

Casey, that was a wonderful post. Thank you!
I wanted to meet you, and I think you were at a front table in arm's reach while Robin Jones Gunn spoke on Sunday...but when she was done I had to jet to the bathroom (because I refused to get up in the middle). And then it was too late to find you in the masses again. Maybe next time!

Pepper said...

Beautiful, Casey.
Beautiful with a heart in the proper perspective.
Love you, sweet sis, and so glad to hear how God's comforted and rejuvenated your heart.

Pepper said...

Oh - and I'm with Wendy on my favorite quote from this post.
"Never doubt the place God has you"

I came to ETSU this year very unexpectedly. I hadn't even looked at the dates for the conference by August. And God worked a little miracle through the generosity of a friend.
Was I supposed to be there?
Not quite sure about that answer yet, but I'm certain of his love for me and his plans are GOOD!

Lindsay Harrel said...

Love how you're not giving Satan a foothold! I'm learning that when I speak my fears, I have to follow it with the truth as well. And that's that God is for me! He's got this!

I had a great conference overall. It feels like it went so, so quickly. But I felt calmer overall and at peace with things that happened. Now praying for the same thing as I submit! :P

Rajdeep Paulus-Writer of Young Adult Fiction said...

Great pics! Side by side with thoughtful truths. Thanks for sharing and you Alley Cats rock! Love how you support each other and in a world of so much competition and envy, it's sweet to see a genuine sense of celebration when a fellow author succeeds and arms wide open when any of us is going through the valley of rejection. That is one of the best things I feel I've found at ACFW. -raj

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Casey, what a beautiful post. I guess we both had some dark moments at ACFW. So glad I wasn't alone. :) When mine was at its worst, I spent time with Jesus in the prayer room and Harp and Bowl. I was also so grateful to have friends who could hear my heart and speak truth over the lies that had seeped in. And yes the fear too.

I loved catching up with friends and meeting new friends through the weekend, and it was wonderful to hear of so many I know who received requests!! So fun for them. God gave me new perspectives to help me with story writing, and He gave me His encouragement.

My favorite part of post-conference was sitting next to Robin Jones Gunn from Indy to Denver. I gleaned so much from that wise, amazing, godly lady! Still soaking in all we talked about. :)

Jill Kemerer said...

I loved spending time with you, Casey! You have such a generous spirit, and I know you blessed many at conference. I'm also glad God lifted you. You are meant to write! I know He has big things planned for you!

Angie Dicken said...

Beautiful post, Casey.
I love you.
I too, believe that God wanted me to show up for more than just the craft. What an amazing God we have! He always blesses me in ways above and beyond what my little ol' brain expected.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Oh, I love this Casey! And I am so proud of you for digging deeper in him this past weekend, especially when it might have been easy to be swayed by doubts. God does have a plan, and even when it doesn't seem like it, it IS for out good.

So many wonderful things about conference but I think my favorite part was seeing all of you! All my alley cats and writer friends. Missing everyone already!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Casey,

Beautiful words, as usual! I wasn't sure why I was going this year - but I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be about selling a book. And boy was I right. My pitches were abysmal! LOL!
And I wasn't even upset. Because for me it was all about stepping outside my comfort zone and overcoming fear (on many levels). I renewed friendships and felt more like I belonged there. Like I wasn't a stalker-fan!
And yes, it was extremely spiritual - there was some magic energy in that prayer room! So many inspirational people. I feel so blessed to have been able to attend.

Hope you came back with renewed energy and enthusiasm. I know you have great talent and God has big plans for you! And with the Alley Cats behind you, you are in great company!


Julia M. Reffner said...

LOVE this!! It spoke to me in a new place. I really struggle with fears about my family's health and the unknown and this spoke what I needed to hear. Can't wait for our conversation!

Casey said...

Mary, I did LOTS of sputtering this conference for sure. I even told one of the agents I had been rejected. Ah...not my finest moment. ;-) I'm so excited about where God is taking us!

Casey said...

Wendy, thought about you often this conference, especially as Sarah and Ashley and I spent so much time chatting. Hoping I get to see you some conference in the future (soon!) :)

Casey said...

Debra, I love your heart in this comment. I totally went in with no agenda this year and when people asked me what I wanted to get out of ACFW this year...or my goals, I said not to cry. Ha! ;-) God brought those flood gates! I agree with you, I want people to see the good in what God has for them even in the bad or what they think might be "bad" right in that moment. Think of what God can use that for! In your life and maybe even in someone else's life.

I'm sorry I missed you!! I know one of the AC's got their picture with you, but I would have loved to squeeze you!

Casey said...

Joanne, get theeself down to Oregon then! ;-)

Casey said...

CJoy, oh you were! You were! I'm so disappointed we were so close and didn't meet!! But definitely glad we have an online friendship to enjoy in the meantime. :)

Casey said...

Pepper, His plans are ALWAYS good. Even when it seems like we don't know what they are. It's a matter of waiting and trusting. Always trusting.

Casey said...

Lindsay, I want to hear from you when you submit, I want to be praying for you during those rounds! I think you are so close to finding yourself blessed by God and I want to say I prayed over you when it happens. ;-) I agree completely with you...when I told the truth about the weight on my spirit, I quickly followed up with what God had done to lift that weight. I'm not looking for a pity party, I'm looking to share God's goodness. :)

Casey said...

Raj, I could NOT have said it better. When I think about the family I have in ACFW, I literally want to cry. I'm not very close to my extended family, so ACFW IS my extended family in Christ. There is such love in my heart for my fellow writers. Thanks so much for coming by today!!

Casey said...

Jeanne, were you sitting beside Robin on the plane?! I think I was two rows behind Allen Arnold on my flight into Salt Lake City, but I never got brave enough to confirm this fact. ;-)

I think we were walking a very close path of self doubt and struggles. Isn't it a bit encouraging to hear such stories from other writers? I know it is for me. I'm not the only one walking such struggles. But also glad we can stand on the other side still praising our Creator for His goodness.

Casey said...

Jill, the same, oh the SAME, can be said for you. Loved that we got to room with you. So, so glad.

Casey said...

Angie, {squeeze}. Stop self doubting yourself, my friend. That is a lie from the devil and you are created for greatness! :)

Casey said...

Amy, ah me too! But you know what, it was actually easier to come home this year. Because of this friendship we've all built, I find it so much easier knowing you all are just one email or phone call away. I determine to make more of those in this coming year!

Casey said...

Sue, I love that I can always recognize you no matter where we it on the internet or on the conference floor. You just shine and light up the room. So glad I showed up just in time to pray with you.

And who knows, those pitches could lead to something great. ;)

Casey said...

Don't hide in your fear, like I did Julia. Speak the fear so the truth might have room to come in and light up the room. Looking forward to our chat too!!