Nearly two years ago, I sat on a bench on a beach in Florida having the conversation of my life with God. I was wrestling. Wrestling with my purpose, my self-confidence, even questioning if I had anything of value to offer Him. He lovingly responded. He spoke into my very soul, verbalizing the words of Jeremiah 29:11. I heard it spoken to me, not by me.
While I sat on that bench, I asked God what to do? I’ve thought for years that I have the makings of at least one book in me, but have never had the courage to begin the process. Do you know how He answered? He said, “help me write my story.” What?! Now, believe me, I know that the maker of the universe does not need my help to write His story. That was a loving, generous, precious gift to me, His daughter. His way of giving me a purpose that was so much greater than anything I could ever muster up in my own doing.
I left that bench full of fire and ideas. I began a blog. It gave me a place to begin to get down on “paper” the lessons He’s teaching me and to start cultivating the ideas that may eventually be a book worth writing and that people might actually read. What I never expected or imagined was the response the blog would receive. Beyond my wildest dreams, people from all over were actually reading what I wrote and many were even blessed by it.
Last year, God affirmed over and over that attending She Speaks was a next step in the process of molding me and equipping me for the journey. However, finances were an issue. My husband was knee deep in the process of starting up a baseball academy and all our resources were funneled into that venture, a venture that God clearly wove for us. I was nervous and timid about asking friends and family to help with a sponsorship for the Conference. But, I obeyed what I knew God was calling me to do, and I asked. And they gave. And I cried! Sure enough, in a matter of weeks, I was fully funded to attend. She Speaks was one of the best experiences of my life. I felt equipped to take next steps and made connections that have taught, encouraged and furthered my journey.
Surely, I thought, God was through with this molding process and I am on my way. I’ll write devotions on my blog and perhaps the book will be next and that will be it. Oh no. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone, putting me in a leadership position with our church’s women’s ministry – I am the speaker. I am the one who makes the announcements and writes devotionals that are periodically shared with the ladies in our church. We even organized our first-ever women’s weekend retreat. He’s also brought friends into my life who have dared to say I should begin speaking. More publicly. Delivering messages that matter. Scary.
This year, when talk of the conference started again in the Proverbs 31 circles, I was a bit sad, thinking I wish I could go again. I was giving it serious prayerful consideration. I had a feeling that I might get a bonus this year at work, so I could possibly pay for it myself. And then I was told that my position was being eliminated. I was laid off. Okay, I thought, God has this and I trust that this is where I am supposed to be, but there will be no She Speaks this year.
But God. He kept nudging, pressing me to take the speaker tract and bring a book proposal to this year’s conference. After all, I have time to write now that I’m unemployed. After much prayer and conversations with friends I made through last year’s conference, I took a step in faith. A big step. I registered for the conference having no idea how I am paying for it. I am asking for sponsorship funds from friends, family and blog readers again. And I am entering every contest option. I know this is part of God’s plan, the affirmations cannot be denied. So, I trust and I pray.
God has blessed every faithful step of the journey and I know He will continue to do so. I don’t know what it looks like in the end, but He does. And that, is enough for me.
If you feel led to join me in this exciting call, there are two ways to participate. Call Proverbs 31 Ministries at 877-731-4663 to contribute by credit card; or send a check payable to Proverbs 31 Ministries to:
Proverbs 31 Ministries
She Speaks Scholarship/Patti Hazlett
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Please be sure to designate the scholarship in my name in order to credit my scholarship fund. You will be receipted for your tax-deductible donation. For more information: www.shespeaksconference.com.
Thank you for your prayers and support.