God’s reckless love carried me through my first ACFW conference in Nashville. Not only did He open all the financial doors for me to attend, He assured me this was the year I should treat my writing as a business.
There are days I feel as if I’ll never move forward on my path with God. And once in a while I question whether I’d missed a path switchback. Then suddenly God begins to move, and it’s a breathtaking ride to keep up. It’s happened before, and in the slow, seemingly never ending times I try to remind myself to get the work finished because when God moves, He’s fast. Do I finish everything? Hardly, but God always covers me.
Preparation for my first conference was time consuming. I wanted my manuscript just right. I had to choose classes, get cards printed, pitches written, one sheets designed, clothing selected and make travel arrangements. Anyone who has ever shown horses with me knows that I don’t like to miss the tiny details that add polish.
And there are the appointments. I selected four agents, knowing I would have two appointments and would not know who they were until I picked up my information packet in Nashville. That meant assembling the requirements for each of the four plus anyone else I hoped to meet. I redid my synopsis, wrote a cover letter, and assembled various chapters.
Reno, my wild horse, helped me practice my pitches, and I never got them right. He got disgusted and told me he was only in it for the carrots.
And all the time I was aware of the huge cost of conference. There were days I wondered if I misheard that I should attend.
On Wednesday September 19, the day I was to leave for Nashville, I woke up with a song about reckless love playing over and over in my mind. During my prayer time I found the song on Youtube. It was titled Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. I downloaded it to my phone and played it several more times. I played it more while I waited for my flight and then listened to the song most of the way to Nashville.
That evening I kept Reckless Love on instant replay, and again in the morning. Then I was off to four incredible hours of class with Frank Peretti. Wow.
In the afternoon I attended a first timers class and met face to face some of the people I’d met online. It was especially fun to meet my friend Rebecca Reed. She and I both write about horses.
The official start for the conference was Thursday evening and all sessions from that point began with praise and worship. I was flabbergasted when the second song into worship was Reckless Love. In fact, we sang Reckless Love in every worship session. It’s a powerful song and God knows me so well that He gave me multiple confirmations. After the first night’s dinner I told the worship leader, none other than best-selling author Rachel Hauck, my story. Rachel is a lady of many talents.
No matter what anyone tells you, preparing for your first ever appointment with an agent is nerve wracking. Mine was the following day and you know I played Reckless Love again in the morning as I got ready.
God provided sweet encouragement every step of the way to my appointment, starting with the barista at Starbucks who told me I looked fabulous. That was like having a double expresso shot to the confidence and I received compliments repeatedly all day. I know God will bless the people who blessed me.
Conference offered a prayer room which before arriving in Nashville I was pretty sure I wouldn’t use. But I was compelled to stop there before my appointment with agent Julie Gwinn. A lady in the room prayed for me. She was scheduled to leave before I arrived but God had told her to sit and wait. The lady was Joy Avery Melville. She said she’d pray during my appointment. Then she gave me her cell number and asked me to text her when I was finished. God blessed me with a special new friend in Joy.
I sat in the waiting area for about a half hour before my appointment with my ear buds in listening to Reckless Love. The area was gorgeous with monstrous crystal chandeliers, a winding stair case, and a viewing area surrounded with a white railing. Opryland is indeed one of the most extravagant places I’ve ever stayed. As I soaked in the music, I thought what an amazing blessing God had given me, that His daughter who’d at one time slept in her car in the Walmart parking lot now sat in this exquisite hotel waiting to pitch her book to a well-known agent. God is overwhelming.
By the time I walked into the appointment God had control of my mouth which gushed story and platform. I managed to give Julie Gwinn highlights on all four stories. Reno might have said, “It’s about time.” But I was shocked.
Back home now, I’ve spent a few days asking God for direction and thanking Him for blessing me. I have no doubt He intended I go to ACFW this year and I’m looking forward to the next steps. Whatever lies ahead will involve work and patience.
I’ve included Restless Love below this post. It has a powerful message. I hope you enjoy it.
Oh, and Reno? When I went to the pasture all the horses except Reno came to see me. He wasn’t happy that I’d been gone.
Blessings to you and thanks for reading this.
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