I cannot remember a time when I traveled alone. I'm too chicken. That's why going to She Speaks last month was a palms-up moment for me. So, I went. I went alone, and came home filled. I flew to Concord, North Carolina, for what proved to be a life-giving conference. I was nervous, but open, out of my league, but completely in my place. The environment was breathtaking, the food was delicious (Dessert with every meal? Yes, please), and everyone was warm and friendly. We even received a beautiful "Swag Bag" as my girls call it.
To say, "I learned a lot," would be grossly understating the impact this weekend had on me. The breakout sessions were powerful, ranging from the foundations of good writing to knowing your readers' needs. The presenters were the best of the best. Wisdom-filled women gifted in teaching. And yet, it's neither the writing, nor the teaching that I keep coming back to.
Shauna Niequist opened the conference and really captured some of the daily struggles we all face when we compare and cast sideways glances. She said that as we see other women remember, "...she has a backstory I don't know." As I met the most amazing women over the weekend this proved so very true. Indeed, there is always a backstory to each of us (you, too) that is uniquely ours: redeemed, healed, kept, loved, saved. And while we came to She Speaks to craft our words, to speak our hearts, there is only one author, and He is who brought us together. He is the one who beautifully knits our words into the stories we tell. He is the thread that ties our stories together and binds our hearts in love. Yes, I left better equipped to write, but with oh so much more.
I am grateful for my time at She Speaks, for the women whose stories I learned, the friendships formed, and for His unending GRACE through this process. Grateful, Indeed.