ACFW, agents, American Christian Fiction Writers, amwriting, author, Christ, editors, fiction, genres, james scott bell, non-fiction, praise, publishing, purpose, reading, thankfulness, trends, worship, writing
I’m going to keep this short. Because I’m supposed to be spending this week just enjoying my family, resting up, and
The girl in the picture has the view I’m missing, but at least I keep a steaming hot cup of luxury on my reading table. So I’m good.
Now back to the update on ACFW, one of the biggest writers conferences in the country and, if I base it on the experience I had, one of the best.
The worship was BEYOND amazing. Not just in the general sessions, but the entire time. God was so present my spirit just kept talking to Him and basking in Him throughout the day each day. It was rich and precious.
I didn’t meet a writer friend. I met many! A small cluster of us in different stages of our writing careers formed a critique group (super excited about that) and three special ladies–Caryl, Susie, and Ms. Susan–won my heart.
I had two appointments. In the first I got wonderful feedback, direction, and insight. I left encouraged. The second was not the best experience, but a breakthrough came from it, so I can only be grateful.
There is a temptation among all writers–whether fleeting or something they struggle with throughout their careers–to write to the trends or what is most likely to sell or become a bestseller, etc.
I encountered that temptation. And in the same day God crushed it. May it stay forever crushed.
I took a writing class taught by Mr. James Scott Bell. The man is gifted. And funny. Now I’ve got all these crazy ideas about how I can challenge myself, improve my writing, make the lives of my messy characters even messier, and complex plots deep and unpredictable.
I might try some of it out on you all. Maybe another short story series like last year’s Truth or Fiction Tuesdays. Except this one can be a genre series where I sharpen my skills by writing in genres I’ve never done. We’ll see. The biggest challenge in a series like that would be the speculative/sci-fi/fantasy genre. Love to read the stuff; I’m amazed by the worlds those authors create.
Dreaming up a whole new world myself, in a short story less than 1,500 words…I’m…getting……nothing. Except unicorns. Oh, and scorpions. Yeah. We might wanna leave that alone.
But I digress.
In conclusion. ACFW was great. Your prayers were heard. God blessed me with more than I could’ve hoped for, confirmed the call He’s placed on my life, renewed my passion and my obedience, then brought me home to the most amazing man and precious little people in my world.
I’m grateful. I praise Him. And I’m ready to tell some stories.
To view pictures of my time in Indianapolis visit my Facebook page or Instagram :-).
He sat alone in the cab of his Chevy
Eyes burning, heart heavy
He rubbed on the arm that had just been used
His blood recycled, his spirit abused
He looked to the sky to the One he can’t see
Do You know? Do You hear? Some mercy for me?
It’s been only weeks and I know they said years
But Lord I can’t take this…Lord I can’t take this
That night at his home he pondered the morrow
More tragic sessions, unending sorrow
He felt the guilt of not having more hope
Of thinking of self, of failing to cope
Try as he might he could not reconcile
A lifetime of pain and poor health with this trial?
Of lacking in joy for indefinite time?
Oh Lord will You take this? Lord will You take this?
That very next day Chevy man got a call
Mr. M.? We’ve got news that’ll make your mouth fall
A donor’s been found, the organ’s en route
You’ve got to come put on this hospital suit
Transplant’s in the morning, and if all goes well
You’ll have quite a story of wonder to tell
His mouth fell indeed, his heart leapt in praise
Lord my God! Lord my God! Lord my God!
Sounds a bit far-fetched right? Only it isn’t.
Mr. M. is one Mr. McCauley–my dad.
He started dialysis this April. In June he was approved for placement on the transplant list. He was told to expect 5-7 years of waiting for an organ, if one ever came at all due to his rare blood type.
After a particularly horrific dialysis session in late June, he sat in his truck with the same heaviness of heart mentioned in the poem. He looked to the sky and asked for deliverance.
The very next day he got that call. And the day after that he was the recipient of a new organ. I was able to visit for a portion of his recovery and walk with him, talk with him, watch movies, laugh over memories, and just wow over what God had done.
In the words of King David: “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” Psalm 16:8
I will praise Him high and low, through good and bad, health and illness, practical and miracle.
Lord my God! Lord my God! Lord my God!
I want to praise You and give You thanks for who You are and all that You do.
As I think about child sponsorship and what it has become for me, I really want to just thank You for using such a ministry to bless my family when we thought it would be us being used to bless others. I know through Your Word that You have a heart for the poor and that You have made them rich in faith. That You would use me and take my intention to help with their physical needs, then turn it into love and feelings I never thought I could feel for someone I’ve never seen, I’m amazed.
I’m blessed by every letter, truly Father. Knowing that these precious children pray for us, it humbles me and makes me want to cry sometimes. To have one mother write to tell me she’d make sure her son wouldn’t waste the opportunity sponsorship has given him, You know what that did to me.
Parent to parent I know her heart, and it touched mine. I want to be able to do more, and I pray if it’s Your will, You’ll enable us to. Let it be lavish, LORD! And thank you again for the many letters we get. Please keep them coming. And help me to write each child regularly also. Speak to my heart specific things to pray for them. May they know You, love You, and grow strong in You as they mature. And Father, if You are willing, I pray that we get to meet them all one day. I would love so dearly to hold them close.
For the children who have yet to be sponsored, especially those who have waited for months, move someone’s heart to sponsor a child today. Even if it’s just one, Lord. You pick the person, and match them with the child You’ve intended, and let Your blessing fall down on that relationship and flow through it.
Your ways are perfect, even when we don’t understand them. And I praise You for pairing the poor in flesh but rich in faith, to the poor in faith but rich in flesh, and then revealing Yourself through these bonds You’ve built. You are wonderful and worthy of praise. And I ask, in the name of Jesus, that You would match a child with their sponsor today. I love You, and I thank You for it.
In Jesus’ name…Amen.