I arrived at the fall conference filled with a combination of excitement and skepticism about the new format of Open Concept for the workshops. I also came in expectancy of how God would refresh my weary body and soul as I came to the well. The theme reminded me of the opportunity for gathering as a community of writers, who are Christian, to be encouraged, challenged and refreshed through sharing of ideas. But I really looked forward to the time of worship which would begin our days.
Praise songs started each day of the conference. It did not matter where we came from, what backgrounds we represented or even what or how much we wrote. We worshiped God, the creator of all, the giver of skills and abilities and accepted his invitation to come and be present with him.
Charity Mongrain's object lesson on Friday morning has remained a vivid picture in my mind. Dipping the glass pen into the ink well only allows a short burst of writing - a few words really before it needs to be dipped again. O Lord how you long for me to come to the well over and over again throughout each day to receive from you all I need to meet the needs of the day. How often do I try and fill up a supply of ink in my well and nourishment for my soul in one quick dip, hoping it will last for the day or even more.
Saturday morning Ron Hughes challenged us to remember whose we are and to take up the name of the Lord our God as we act like Jesus followers in this dark and broken world. Others will see our Saviour reflected in us and want to come to the well like the Samaratin woman did - to meet with Jesus. He waits for us to come and longs for the relationship we have with him to deepen.
We lifted our voices in song. We were lifted up in prayer and challenged to be with Jesus daily, hourly, even minute by minute at the well of His Word where he offers to fill us up. The decorations also gave us the visual clue of the theme. We were invited to come to the big well filled with verses. Each one had been written after being prayed over by the prayer team. A mailbox stood waiting to accept our prayer requests.
My verse was Psalm 46:10, "He says, "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
I came needing a time of refreshing. God reminded me through worship, devotions, a verse from the well to rest in Him, to worship him no matter what circumstances I find myself in, and to join together in community, encouraging and lifting each other up.
Before any sessions began, I felt God had met my needs. The sessions gave me opportunity to share with others as we discussed together how to write tight for great impact, how to use writing as healing and what that might mean as well as how to find time in our busy lives to write. The open concept allowed all to contribute to each workshop or to listen and absorb what others said. It also provided me with the opportunity to give myself permission to simply be in a place to visit or colour or use a writing prompt.
I came to the well of refreshing through praising God. I came to the well of community and left with ideas, books, new contacts and knowing once again I am not alone in this writing journey. God is so good. He provides all that we need. His mercies are new every morning.
As a speaker, published author and storyteller, Carol Harrison is passionate about mentoring people of all ages and abilities to help them find their voice and reach their fullest potential. She shares from her heart, telling stories from real life experiences and God’s Word to encourage people and help them find a glimmer of hope no matter what the circumstances. She believes we need to continuously grow in our walk with God and lives out her storytelling passion by speaking at women’s events and retreats, Bible Camps as well as school assemblies and church events. Carol is a wife, mother of four adult children and grandmother to twelve. She makes her home is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.