Six Years Later, I’m Still Celebrating the Benefits of She Speaks
by Karen Smith
What am I doing? God, are You sure this is what I’m supposed to be doing? I can’t believe I’m doing this. A myriad of thoughts went through my head as I climbed in my car and headed to my first She Speaks Conference in July of 2017.
I had quite the drive ahead of me. For hours, I spoke my book pitches out loud in my car. I had no idea what to expect at this conference. Following a vision God placed in my heart, I followed Him on a journey I had never imagined.
Never once have I wished I had not gone to She Speaks. It’s the exact opposite! I am still celebrating the benefits of She Speaks to this day! Six years later, I still marvel at all God did in my life because of my obedience to follow Him on what seemed like a wild-goose chase.
Am I a famous author who is well known all over the world? Ha, not even! However, I am an author and have self-published a book. The benefits of She Speaks that I’m still celebrating have nothing to do with publishing a book. The benefits have everything to do with what God did inside me and how He connected me to Him and others.
- I’m not elevating myself; I am sharing God’s words with others.
At my first She Speaks Conference, I heard a speaker say something similar, if not exact, to that statement. God, how did You know that this was something I secretly struggled with? Putting myself out there as a writer seemed self-seeking. It was a hindrance holding me back from fulfilling His calling in my life. In my first session, God spoke directly to my heart. If God had ever spoken audibly to me, it was at this moment that I felt like He was speaking in my ear. Six years later, this sentence still rings in my ear, and I often share it with my platform-building group here in COMPEL.
- God connected me with a group of like-minded women.
As I sat around the dinner table, visiting with those around me, my heart immediately connected. For the first time in a long time, I felt that I was in the presence of “my people.” Aloneness was instantly replaced with a camaraderie that I had not experienced in quite some time. Little did I know that around one of those tables, the group A Wife Like Me would be born, and I would be a part of that group. Six years later, our little group has grown to a large group, and our ministry is flourishing.
As I sat in an informal group and heard about a writing group called COMPEL for the first time, I never knew I would become a COMPEL volunteer leader, widening my circle of like-minded women even more.
Not only did God connect me with groups of like-minded women, but He bonded my heart deeply with a few. After our first dinner, I invited a lady from my table to my hotel room to visit further. God had already begun connecting our hearts as I welcomed her to the last open chair at my table. Three hours later, after a power outage in our hotel and laughter and tears, she returned to her room for a few hours’ sleep before we started a new day at She Speaks. Our hearts were overflowing from what God did that night. Six years later, we continue to see each other and Marco Polo regularly.
- God drew me close and continues to draw me close through the writing process.
Before a publisher appointment, I wandered into the prayer room provided at She Speaks. As I sat quietly in this calming, relaxing space, I poured out my fears and questions before the Lord. I asked lots of why questions, having few answers. I asked for direction, and God whispered, “Write what I put on your heart, and I will determine your steps.”
Write what I put in your heart. To continue to write what God puts on my heart, I have to stay connected with Him. Six years later, the bulk of my writing is an overflow of what God has put in my heart during my quiet times with Him. Therefore, not only did I find His sweet presence in a prayer room at She Speaks, but to continue to write, I must consistently enter His presence.
God has nudged me in directions I would have never imagined. Slowly but surely, I have allowed God to push and prod me along a path that I know nothing about. God has placed people with tidbits of wisdom along the way to help guide me along His path. God has given me the confidence to ask questions of people I may not even know. Six years later, God continues to direct my steps.
While experiencing She Speaks in person is awe inspiring, worshipful, meaningful, direction giving, connecting, etc., its lasting effects have remained far longer than I could have imagined.
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I wholeheartedly agree, Karen! I am so grateful for the work of Lysa TerKeurst and the P31 team and how they spur on others in their ministry work for the glory of God!