I predict that last weekend will turn out to be one of the most pivotal times in my life. I spent the weekend with about 125 very wise, godly, master writers at the Declare Conference in Dallas, Texas. It’s a conference for Christian women writers, or “digital evangelists,” as we began to think of ourselves. We heard from the likes of Chrystal Evans Hurst, Janelle Knox, Kris Comely, Kat Lee, and Cari Trotter. Each of these ladies equipped and encouraged us to RUN with urgency and passion the race that God has set us on, to bring His message to the world.
I left so ready to write and beg you to gather your people around the table (literally or figuratively) and love on them and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them and bear their burdens and celebrate their joys because we HAVE to do this thing together if we’re going to do it at all. And please, for the love, invite other people to gather around your table, too. Everybody doesn’t have the home life you have. Everybody doesn’t have the wisdom that God has given you. Everybody doesn’t have the stable family or the financial blessing or the tight relationships you do.
But they can.
They can if they are shown how. And it’s our job to show them how because how will they know unless they are told?
So I left the Declare Inference with a renewed vision for The Hill Hangout. The tone of the conference was writers speaking to writers about the importance of writing. However, many of the comments apply to anyone in any field that God has called them to, so I thought I’d share with you here in case you are needing a little encouragement in your calling. After all, don’t these ladies look like they have some very important messages for you?
Kris Camealy, developer of Grace Table, challenged us to build altars instead of platforms. I don’t know about you, but I have definitely fallen into the trap of doing things for my own gain (building a platform) instead of laying my desires before God and asking Him to give me His vision instead (building altars). I have been guilty of presenting MY plans to God and asking Him to bless them, when I should have been asking Him for His plans. Friends, He has much better plans than we could ever create in our own strength and wisdom. His plans are able to minister to more, reach more, and bless more than anything we build on our own. Whether we are talking about a career, a set of expectations, a marriage, motherhood, or WHATEVER, please let Him form that instead of going it alone.
Another of Kris’s challenges to us was that no matter what field of work we are in, we are called to make disciples. If we are writers, we are called to make disciples through our writing. If we are mothers, we are called to make disciples of our children. If we are teachers, nurses, dentists, chefs, librarians, social media consultants, botanists, or photographers, we are to make disciples. God has put you in the job you are in for His purpose, and even if you can’t outright evangelize at work, He wants you to use that position for His kingdom.
At the next session, Janelle Knox, who runs MICI Magazine, spoke life to us about comparisons. You know what I’m talking about, right? You hop onto Facebook feeling fine, and within a few minutes you are feeling like your life doesn’t measure up. Your kids aren’t dressed well enough. Your vacation wasn’t adventurous enough. Your husband isn’t progressing in his career like so-and-so’s. You’d think that by the time we are adults, we’d stop this nonsense. And yet…
Janelle reminded us, “The world is always telling us who we aren’t. God is telling us who we are.” If you look to be satisfied with the things of the world, we will never have enough. But if you look at who you are and what you have received in Christ Jesus, you will know true, lasting satisfaction. You can have all the material things in the world, and they can serve to be merely a distraction from relying on the fullness of Christ in you. If we truly grabbed hold of the power of the Holy Spirit within us and the relationship we have with God because of Jesus, the Enemy would have no power against us.
Sisters, it’s time to realize that our salvation has come through Christ, and HE HAS MADE US ENOUGH. Let’s stop telling Him that He hasn’t done enough for us by comparing ourselves to other people. I loved what Janelle had to say about this: “When we feel like we aren’t enough, God isn’t buying it. He made us with depth, color, texture, and creativity. He is pleased with who we are because He created us that way.”
Christian women’s conferences like the Declare Conference have been a huge part of my Christian walk. I have had some of the most defining moments as a result of gathering with other Christian women who believe like I do and want to do a life of ministry like I do. I love pulling up to the table with them and hearing how they walk out their faith in the many roles women have to play. And THAT is why I invite you to the table at The Hill Hangout every week (ok, so it’s been less often lately). I want you to pull up a seat right next to us so that we can journey together, pulling each other into the presence and ministry of Christ. And then I want you to turn around and pull people up to your table and do the same.
A HUGE thank you to Courtney at CocoPaige Photography for the gorgeous photos!