So with the encouragement of my friend Jane, I began to think about doing something with my story. Like what?
For years I had been getting brochures about writers’ conferences, and for years I had been tossing them. Why? Partly I didn’t have the money, but also because my conscience wouldn’t let me spend money on them unless I was seriously committed to doing something with my writing. I decided that if I was now prepared to get serious, a writers’ conference would be the place to start.
I began looking at online websites of Christian conferences. The second one I checked out made me do a double take. The Florida Christian Writers’ Conference was scheduled to meet in Bradenton, just south of Tampa, March 3-6. Late on March 6, I was due in Orlando for my department’s annual meetings. I couldn’t have timed it more perfectly if I had scheduled both events just for me. I could schedule my flights to go before the conference and come back after the meetings. In other words, my organization would pay my transportation to the conference! All I had to pay was the conference fee (which was enough).
I took that as a confirmation from the Lord that this is what I was supposed to do. Was it also a confirmation that pursuing publication was something God wanted me to do in the days ahead? It seemed so. Often since then when I’ve become discouraged, I’ve gone back in my mind to this provision. I’ve clung to it as at least one concrete sign that God wants me to work on this.
The rest of the provision was that I had friends in Sarasota, next door to Bradenton, who were willing to pick me up at the airport, put me up overnight, and drive me to the conference the next day. Another family of friends picked me up at the conference and drove me up the pike (Interstate) to organizational headquarters and dropped me off. The things I learned at that conference were exactly what I needed to get me off on the right foot. All about that next time.