ACFW Conference 2018: Day One
I was so relieved to find that the conference for today didn’t begin until 2 PM. That gave me time to relax, find my way, and pray. For those of you who were praying for me, thank you! I was not as nervous as I expected to be and I know it was because of your prayers. I am so excited to share my experiences with you!
We got around slowly this morning, taking time to rest and enjoy the morning. When we were finally ready, we decided to head over to the Gaylord Opryland Resort where the conference was being held to get lunch and become familiar with the area.
And I’m so glad we did! The resort is huge! It’s like a city underneath a dome. There are shops, restaurants, fountains, gardens, and even a river boat ride. And of course, the conference was on the opposite side of the resort as the entrance. It was so much fun to walk though and point out the various interesting architecture, plants, and features. It put me at ease to know the area better and figure out where I was supposed to go.
Mom and I had such a good time this afternoon. We found a place to eat that overlooked a fountain. And wandered about until it was time for my conference to start.
The conference began with a first timers class to put us newbies at ease. We got to ask any questions we had and then split up into groups by genre so we could make friends. Since the big part of conferences like this is networking (something this introvert is not good at) it was nice to be forced into it. But there were some very friendly people who made me feel at ease. And I’m so glad that I last minute remembered that I should have business cards, because I’m getting quite a collection from other authors.
Then we went into the keynote event where we had a time of worship and then Debbie Macomber spoke. I love Debbie’s books so I was super excited about hearing her speak. She did not disappoint. She was funny and inspiring, and I kept wishing that I knew her personally so that I could just sit and listen to her talk. One of the things she said really hit home for me. She was spending money on writing classes and renting a typewriter when their family budget was tight to chase her dream of being a writer, and she sometimes felt like she was stealing from her family to pursue her dream. But she said that now looking back, she realized that she was teaching her children to pursue their dreams and persevere through adversity and that was more valuable than anything she could have bought them. My writing still sucks more from our finances than it brings in and sometimes I pray, telling God that I had wanted so badly to help my family’s finances by writing – not drain them. Maybe I needed to hear that I’m teaching my kids more important things than I can buy for them with money for now.
One of the things they stressed in the first timers orientation was that we needed to be open for the Lord to work how He will this weekend. For some of us, we may leave with contracts. Others might leave with valuable contacts. Still others will leave knowing something about writing that will improve their skills. And maybe some will leave with spiritual growth. I’ve prayed through the rest of the day that I would be open to wherever the Lord leads, and that I won’t be disappointed if doesn’t lead down one path and chooses to take me another way. I hope you’ll pray for me that way as well.