Why I Attend Writers Conferences – Hebrews 10:23-25

Here we are with the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference 2017 only a week away. This conference is the biggest event of my writing year, so let me attempt to explain why.

The down side

Conferences are expensive.

They’re time-consuming.

Being in a room full of strangers is taxing.

I may not measure up, my work will be rejected, or I’ll otherwise discover I’m the worst writer ever.

It’s an indulgence. I feel guilty about laying aside other responsibilities to immerse myself in something I enjoy so completely.

Why I go

  1. It’s a refresher course. I gain knowledge that helps me understand current changes in the publishing industry.
  2. It’s energizing on many levels. Encountering writers and industry professionals from all walks of life charges my creative batteries.
  3. It’s worth it. It just is. I haven’t met a writer who doesn’t want to improve. The benefits of rubbing shoulders with less-than and more-than seasoned writers are immeasurable. And I just said I’m not comfortable in crowds?
  4. It’s give and take. It’s amazing how much inspiration I receive as I’m helping other writers on their path.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV).

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

#amwriting #keepwriting #ocwsummerconf2017 #goodforme

Where I Find Everything I Need – Proverbs 4:20-23

We were minutes away from the small Christian school my children attended and where I volunteered as an aide. My kids, either lost in their books or chatting about different classmates, didn’t notice the thumping sound till I pulled our minivan off the road.

As they started asking questions and I pondered our options, I realized I wasn’t ruffled by the inconvenience of a flat tire. Or being late. Or wearing less-than-great shoes for walking. Or the disappointed voices surrounding me. Or knowing no one nearby who could help.

It was like the bases were already covered. God was with us. I’d invited him into my day, focused my attention on him, worshiped and thanked him, confessed my shortcomings and been washed clean. Because I’d drawn close to him, car trouble wasn’t going to take my joy in him away.

My bucket was full

Our country home sat at the end of a long gravel road, my prayer-walking road. Rising early most mornings, I slipped out to get alone with God. It was my time for prayer and reflection, how I reconnected with what was most important. I called it filling my bucket because I saw my heart as a hungry, needy vessel requiring daily maintenance.

“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:20-23 NIV).

What’s in your bucket?

When one of the kids left the back door open and the cat came in and chewed on our roast, I didn’t come unglued. And when my little girl put her head in the wrong place and got hit by a flying saucepan, I reached for the one who’d launched it, not with blame or reproach, but with compassion for his anxiety and fear.

Even when our family goes through worse-than-anyone-can-imagine disasters, my bucket is ready to pour out the grace, encouragement, and hope we all need. And when it starts to go dry, I hurry back for a refill—before things get desperate.

To put it simply, when my bucket is full, it’s less “all about me,” and I love living that way.

With a full bucket, I have a refreshing drink when I need it and enough to share with others. I may not always sense God’s presence, or clearly hear his voice, but with a full bucket I’m far more likely to be close to him and find things working out right.

Are you thirsty? I’ve got enough in my bucket to share.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Understanding a Woman’s Mind – 2 Kings 4:25-27

It could be God’s fault. Sometimes he hides things from us. Perhaps we have trouble understanding our spouse’s mind because God has closed a door. But why would he do that? Why should understanding be locked up?

Maybe it’s all about timing.

It’s so hard when no matter how much we love someone or how hard we try, understanding can remain out of our reach. The most difficult part is remaining in that state without getting angry, or casting blame, or withdrawing our love.

I did all of those things when, at the onset of menopause, my emotions became unstable. I would calmly start discussing my concerns with my husband, but discord would escalate to the point where neither of us could sort it out. There was no making sense of it.

I learned in 2 Kings this morning that some of our befuddlement might be God’s design.

The prophet Elisha prophesied that the Shunammite woman would have a son, and it came to pass the following year. But God hadn’t told him everything.

So she (the Shunammite) set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there is the Shunammite. Run at once to meet her and say to her, “Is all well with  you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?” And she answered, “All is well.”
And when she came to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, “Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me” (2 Kings 4:25-27 ESV).

Why would the Lord hide things from us? In verse 27 we see the prophet told his servant to leave the woman alone. Time needed to pass before her issue and its answer would be known.

From my previous posts it looks like I’m really hung up on this trust thing, but I’m convinced that’s what living life with God is all about.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:5-9 NASB).

For me and my husband, and like the prophet Elisha, it takes time and trust to reach the place of understanding. Trusting God is the unlocked door to healing and refreshment.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis