Two weeks ago I attended the Inscribe Fall Conference in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. I attended conference to touch base with my fellow Christians-who-are-writers. I went to learn more about writing and to gain confidence in my writing abilities. I went to discover ways to overcome my fears and inhibitions about committing words to paper and sending them out. I went seeking inspiration to become a more disciplined, insightful, and effective scribe for God.
A pretty tall order! After digesting ideas from Conference, I believe I can check off my needs listed above. The plenary and break-out sessions were refreshing dew for this writer’s soul.
Grace Fox, our guest speaker, shared her own experiences from the time she first sensed God’s call to write. As she confessed her own fears of inadequacy, of limited ideas, and of lacking skills, I identified with her. Instead of stalling on these fears, she asked God to guide her and give her courage and wisdom. The secret of overcoming our fears, Grace says, is “to focus on the One who calls us to write.” Several times a week she would go for a long walking/talking/listening session with God.
Grace advises us to say yes even when our knees are shaking. “If I never wrote through fear,” she admits, “my words would never fall like dew.” Here she is referring to the scripture theme for the conference. In Deuteronomy 32:2, we read the beginning of Moses’s swan song delivered to the Israelites before they crossed over into the Promised Land.
“Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.”
When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, Moses was fearful and full of excuses. God rebutted these excuses. He demonstrated His own power and promised to be with Moses. Moses accepted God’s call. God took the forty-year journey with Moses.
Having discovered she can count on God, Grace tells us, “Whatever God is asking you to do, Do it afraid.” If we take that leap of faith, God will look after the details. Relying on God, Grace wrote many successful articles and profiles for magazines. Her writing credentials grew.
Then God asked Grace to write a book that would teach women to overcome their fears and find freedom. Grace says she argued with God for a year before submitting to this particular call and starting research for the book. Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation was published in 2007.
At the conference I attended other helpful and inspiring workshops. In Susan Plett’s session on freefall writing, I surprised myself by writing fiction, which has not been my forte. I tried my rusty hand at poetry. And I stopped in to see Brenda Leyland, my blogging mentor, at her workshop.
Here’s what Addy Oberling, a senior from Swan River, Manitoba said in a recent e-mail: “I had a great time. Grace is such an encouraging speaker. It is so nice that after a number of years, you do not just say hi, but a hug is included when you meet one another, because you are like family.”
We writers need time to speak with other writers. Who could better understand the potholes and bumps on the road to answering God’s call to write? We encourage one another. Speaking of encouragement, I placed first in the Essay to Theme Category with my entry, “Rain Down!” (Drum roll)
The Mission Church in Wetaskiwin was a wonderful, welcoming place for our conference. Gwen Mathieu coordinated the excellent meals with help from her family. Thanks, Gwen. (Another drum roll please)