Last month, when I wrote about my trip to Canada for a Writer's Bootcamp, I left out a few very important details.
At the end of our first day, our inspirational teacher gave us a homework assignment. It was due the following day. (No pressure)! If we completed our assignment, she promised that we would be published authors by the end of the month.
You see, for each Bootcamp, she put together a compilation book. You know, the Chicken Soup for the Soul kind of book. Everyone who finished their assignment would have a chapter in her newest book, Walking In Your Destiny, Abiding In Revival.
That night, after grabbing a bite to eat, I worked on my homework late into the night; "How had I experienced God's revival in my own life?"
I knew exactly the story I would tell. It was fresh, it was relevant, and I was living in it's wake. I sent the final draft to my daughter late that night, as she has exceptional editing skills. She lovingly put aside her own homework to help me with my own. Then, after her helpful insights, I hit the send button to the women who would do the final edit and approval. What a relief it was to turn in my story.
For years, I have dreamed of writing a book. And even though it was only one chapter, I would officially be a published author, along with about two dozen other precious authors who I had the privilege of getting to know that week.
If that wasn't enough of a highlight, I returned home to prepare for another dream come true!
Let me give you a little background. Thirty years ago, God planted a seed in my heart to encourage women how to live their lives the way God teaches us to in the Bible. The desire grew and grew to teach women the very lessons I was also learning along the way. Eventually, I was blessed to teach Bible Studies, to speak to Moms groups, and to share at others women's ministry events.
I confess, as wonderful and fulfilling as that was, I longed to do more. I dreamed of being a main speaker at women's retreats, conferences, and other larger events. But, I wondered if my dream was God's dream when several years ago, while attending a large Women of Faith Conference and imagining myself on the stage with those inspirational speakers, I heard the still small voice of God interrupt my thoughts, "I have something different for you."
I had no idea what that whisper meant, but my dreams waned a bit, And, life went on pretty much as it had, with a few surprises and detours along the way. Until last summer, when I remember thinking, I will never be a keynote speaker at a women's retreat, because I have never written a book. Plus, who am I kidding, I'm getting close to sixty years old.
Well, you know what they say, "never say never." Because that is when my phone rang. "Cathy, we would like you to be the speaker at our upcoming women's retreat."
What? How? When? Really? Me? I asked all these questions of my friend. And later, I asked them again when I met with her women's ministry director.
"Yes, we're sure. We want you. Your love for the Word of God is contagious. And we want you to speak to our ladies."
So, at the end of April, I spoke five times to the most lovely group of women at their annual women's retreat. It was beautiful! We laughed and cried, we shared and we grew closer to Jesus and to one another. It was a dream come true. A dream I hope and pray will happen again and again.
I see so clearly now, that this was God. It was His perfect timing and His perfect plan. And, I can't help but think He smiled when my first published book just happened to launch on the day before I spoke at my first keynote speaker women's event.
Dear reader, do you have a dream? A dream you are afraid will never come true? May I encourage you to entrust those dreams, again and again, into the Lord's faithful and loving hands. He is able to make them come true. In His perfect time. In His perfect way. According to His perfect will, for our good, and for His glory!