The rain pounded on my windshield and waves of spray from passing semi-trailers washed over the car as I drove down Anthony Henday Drive in Edmonton, Alberta. No matter to what speeds the windshield wipers were set, the windows would not clear. I had overstayed what was to be a short visit at my cousin’s in St. Albert and now it was dark and stormy. I was in foreign territory on an unknown expressway, white knuckling it toward an exit I may or may not find, amid heavy traffic of all shapes and sizes. How did I get here? Would it be worth it?
My first trip to a Christian Writer’s event associated with Inscribe took place one spring in Saskatoon. It was called His Imprint and was hosted by a writers’ group of the same name. I remember the excitement of finally being able to attend a Christian writers’ conference. Most were held in the fall and since we are farmers, the conferences always coincided with our harvest season and I was unable to attend. All my notes from that first conference are still in my files, as is the registration brochure. Every person I met that weekend was a gift and I sat in that church and vacuumed information like a big black hole. But like a black hole, the void wasn’t filled with just one conference and I was left wanting more.
More workshop opportunities opened in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw and I attended hungrily. I joined the ranks of Inscribe along the way and then finally one year when the crops were harvested early, I was able to attend the Fall Conference I had heard so much about.
Now here I was, cruising through the pouring rain, trying to keep up to traffic and talking very loudly to the Lord, like He was hard of hearing and couldn’t hear me over the surrounding din as I asked Him to help me change lanes. Then, suddenly, I was there. At the Sawridge Inn on the south side of Edmonton.
I rushed in to the front desk and registered, flew over to the elevator and tapped my foot impatiently as I waited for the doors to open. Up on my floor I scrambled to my room, unlocking it only long enough to dump off my stuff. Back to the elevator and more toe tapping. Down to the meeting rooms, bursting with anxious anticipation. Finally arriving at the registration area…. only to find the few folks that were left were bidding each other good night. They gently told me I would have to wait until morning. Oh, well. I was here and tomorrow would be a fresh start.
The next morning I headed downstairs for the first session titled ‘Spiritual Warfare and the Writer’ and I came face to face with a lady who had been emailing me once a month with scripture-based prayers. I remember the first one I ever received and how it had moved me to tears to think that a total stranger would pray for me and how God had given her exactly the scriptures I needed at the time. And here she was in the flesh. *
In every session I met writers who had published pieces in Fellowscript that had encouraged and instructed this ‘would be’ author. I found and formed connections with people in each session and felt the stirrings of friendships that I still hope will grow and deepen over time. I had the honour to meet the esteemed treasurer and get a snippet of the person she was and her vital commitment and contribution to Inscribe and I am so glad to have had that privilege.
Those of us attending were given a unique opportunity to celebrate the launch of the Christmas anthology. We were blessed to have the authors read from their own creations as we sat back and soaked it all in. What a wonderful conference. What amazing people.
On the itinerary page of the conference that year was a statement of purpose that read, “Inscribe exists to stimulate, encourage and support Christians who write, advance effective Christian writing and promote the influence of all Christians who write.” But it is so much more. Inscribe connects not only as an organization but on a personal and spiritual level. It goes beyond the writer and ministers to the human being with the utmost respect, reassurance and edification on an individual and personal level. Inscribe provides a cohesive group and a safe place for writers of all Christian faiths to share ideas, receive inspiration and gain kind constructive criticism.
May God’s hand of favour continue to be with Inscribe and may we always seek Him first as the organization grows, morphs and adapts into whatever instrument God would have it be. And may those of us who are members set aside a specific time to pray, as the Holy Spirit directs, for the executive and for all those who keep the wheels turning for our benefit and, most importantly, to the Glory of God.
May we always recognize what a gift it is to belong to such a wonderful family.
*I have purposely left out names as there are far too many people who have touched my life and the lives of others in the Inscribe family and I would not want to omit any one of them.