Cranes welcomed me to the conference center yesterday afternoon. (Photo by Ashley Jones)
I finally made it to the writers conference—the 2016 Florida Christian Writers Conference, to be exact. But it wasn’t easy.
The Day of the Gauntlet
We had tornadic weather across the state. The weather system had already passed by, but we still had sustained winds with gusts up to 20 mph as I drove to Leesburg yesterday afternoon. That meant I had four tense hours as I drove with both hands tight on the wheel just so I could keep it between the lines. And then there was the flying debris: fistfuls of dirt and leaves being flung about while little sticks were trying to stab at me through the windshield.
After about a half hour of this, I realized it seemed…fitting.
The Year of the Gauntlet
You see, I went to my first writers conference last year, and I left with more information, resources, and contacts than I could handle. I hit the ground running by starting this blog site as well as other social media accounts. I then focused what was left of my energy on a book I’m calling Girls with Gusto. (More on that to come.)
I was sure of the direction God wanted me to go in, and I felt equipped to start the journey. Things were finally coming together! That is, until I got hit with a series of illnesses punctuated by a back injury that succeeded in delaying my efforts substantially.
But I was determined to turn this dream God gave me into a reality. With God’s grace, and Robby’s support, I’ve been able to make forward progress this year and, ultimately, return to the same conference—this time with a proposal in hand for Girls with Gusto.
All of this crossed through my mind as I made my way through the gauntlet of I-10 and I-75. I knew the enemy had plagued me during the year, and he was still up to his old tricks. But I also knew that my experiences throughout the year helped me to focus my efforts, prioritize better, and seek assistance when needed. It had all worked out for the better. (Romans 8:28 says that all things work for the good for those of us who love God and are called according to His purpose.)
I want this to be an encouragement for you. If you know for sure that you’re on the path God has for you, but you’re getting hit from every direction, just hold on! Slow down if you have to, regroup if necessary, but keep on moving!
If God put you on this road, then it’s for a reason—a reason that will bless God and extend His kingdom in some way. Trust that God knows best and will see you through this difficult time.
Remember, the enemy will do whatever he can to sideline you. Recognize this for the evil tactic it is, and pray for whatever it is you need: strength, faith, energy, stamina, knowledge, wisdom, etc. For protection, you can apply the armor of God (see Ephesians 6:10). Be sure to maintain a spirit of thankfulness because God is doing something great and He is using you to do it.
While some roads are sunny and fair, others are gauntlets filled with danger, both seen and unseen. Remember the reason for the trip. Keep the faith. Keep trusting God. And keep on keepin’ on.