“This was the BEST conference ever!” as proclaimed by Carol Kent (every year running) but this year, I think she was right!
Here are my top ten reasons why:
- FRESH – There was a youth movement at Speak Up this year! A new generation passionate about God’s word and sharing it with others AND an experienced crowd who are looking at their lives with fresh eyes and youthful energy ready to share their wisdom with those coming up behind.
- OUT-LOUD – From where I sat doing 15 minute appointments for Just Between Us magazine I could hear the encouragement out loud. Glimpses of excited conversation, snippets of heartfelt prayer, hope and help and even a little healing. If you wanted to see AND hear God work the back hall was the place to be.
- OUT-SPOKEN – I expected to be the helper but was the helped when I asked someone for feedback on my seminar about telling your hard story and she gave me a well thought out response right off the top of her head. I believe it will take the seminar to a whole new place. We are all on the same team at Speak Up – getting better at what God’s called us to do.
- FLY BY – There are a lot of very dear friends at the Speak Up Conference that I hardly ever get to spend time with. I feel like we float past each other in the halls and just wave and wish. This year I got to sit just a little with a few who blessed me beyond measure.
- GOD’S EYES – I asked God to give me someone to bless at the conference. It was almost over when I found her in a critique group. We have the same heart and some of the same history and now we’re connected for help and encouragement. We had a long, wordless, tear filled hug before we went our separate ways. God gave me special words for her as the answer to my heartfelt pre-conference prayer.
- FACE DOWN – Bruce Martin’s Saturday devotion about the Upside of Failure had him face down in a flooded tent, then face down in a failed presentation wanting to be face down anywhere but at Speak Up but God used it to teach him, and all who heard him the upside of failure. It was one of the most powerful, hilarious (I know strange combination of reactions) and well delivered messages I have ever heard.
- FACE UP – The stories women told me in my 15 minute appointments were heart breaking and worthy of a good cry but when I told them the magazine was looking for articles on joy they practically jumped at the chance to write about it. Each and every one said, “Oh, after what I’ve been through and what God’s done with me I can certainly write about joy!”
- OVERFLOW – I met with 20 women interested in writing for Just Between Us and was told we have an overflow of manuscripts coming in from women at the conference. We are a safe place to start your writing career and I love that women heard that and responded. (check out the website at justbetweenus.org for information and writer’s guidelines)
- OVERWHELMED – Every person who attended left overwhelmed by the hope of what God can and will do as they pursue their God driven dreams. I know I did.