It will take me weeks to trickle out some significant stories that will begin to do justice to my week at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. The experience was unlike anything my 14 years of praying for this opportunity had prepared me for. Thank you for every prayer breathed on my behalf, every cent spent to send me.
The opening verse shared this week was I am making a way in the wilderness (NIV).
I truly feel a "new thing" happened in my heart that has now burst forth into a new season. [Insert butterfly trying new wings here.] Edited to add: Kendra, you will love my friend Jeanette Hanscome's post about butterflies and Mount Hermon - reminds me of us!
I learned I was capable, through God's strength. I absolutely could not keep up this pace on a daily basis nor for longer than a week (I've slept constantly since coming home), but for this limited time, God flooded me with profoundly uncommon ability. I had some challenges, like pushing my walker up steep hills, but I keep up with a week of 16-hour days (or longer, 1AM wasn't an uncommon bedtime for me, only to be up at 6:30 or 7 to do it all again), often getting from appointment to appointment, back-to-back, in 15-minute segments stacked one immediately upon another.
My brain wouldn't shut down, so Debbie got hours more sleep than I did and we both had to skip various teaching sessions to go nap just to survive the week. What a blessing to share a room with someone who understood what it was like to fall asleep in class by early afternoon and need to go sleep simply to have the ability to walk to dinner! The morning I told Deb I had to choose between a shower or facing the day ahead, that there "weren't enough spoons" to do both, she didn't even blink. She got me. She faced the same need to skip a shower in trade for more sleep a couple night later.
Meals alone "should" have been beyond me, as hundreds of writers filled a huge room, 8 to a table, and spent lunches and dinners "interviewing" with the agent or publisher hosting each table. The noise level was profound. (Twice since coming home, family members have told me I was shouting, while I was only using the voice I had to use to be heard at meals all week.) For someone who normally needs to sleep at least 14 hours a day and can't schedule more than one or two energy expenses per day without overtaxing my physical limits, ability to keep pace with this conference was truly God's doing! An energy expense can be as simple as being in a crowded room and processing noise and movement around me. For example, church attendance on Sunday morning typically demands 2-4 hours of sleep on Sunday afternoon in order to recover. I plan to mostly sleep for a few days now that I am home, but I did not expect so many days of such supernatural ability there!!!
Many things I went to the conference hoping, praying, expecting God might do, were dead ends. There were writing projects I came home seeing how badly in need of rework they are before they can even become marketable, the need for a huge "platform" before mainstream publishers will even consider my books, etc. (If you would please go to my sidebar and friend me, subscribe to this blog, that would really help me in having numbers to show potential publishers! Also, please introduce your friends to this blog and ask them to subscribe as well.)
God has allowed Debbie and I to work closely together in various seasons of the distant past, but our lives have not closely been intertwined for a good decade, until 22 days ago when her email started this journey. We laughed until we gasped for breath, every single day. We each felt fully loved, accepted, understood, not in spite of, but often because of many shared areas of deep brokenness. God's grace is amazing!