SheSpeaks 2017 was quite the ride!
(Note to self #1: NO more natural deodorant ever again for an event like this. Note to self #2: Southern belles don’t tell others if they smell. Just stink quietly and save that kind of talk for other regions of the country.)
My heart is full. I can’t stop thinking of the women on the waitlist. I heard it was over 800 women waiting. God honors the waiting. I want to share with you my biggest nuggets. I can’t keep all I learned to myself! I also can’t stop thinking of all the people who prayed over this weekend. God heard your prayers and answered them in abundance. Thank you from the pit of my being.
It was almost midnight. I drew the blinds. These are the best blackout curtains I’ve ever had in a hotel. What a blessing. Turned on the lamp, the light, and started the shower water. Naked and about to hop in the shower, inspiration hit me so I sat on the bed right quick to jot the thought down. And then…
Complete and utter darkness.
All the power had gone out.
With blinds drawn, I could not see a single thing. I sat in a cold room. Pen in hand. Naked. Alone. In the dark.
For about 45 seconds, I did not move anything but my eyes, darting for some sign of light or hope or even the blink of the smoke detector. Nothing.
I felt around on my bed, searching for my clothes. The darkness was not my first concern. It was my nakedness. Somehow, I felt even more exposed and vulnerable to attack because of that darkness… oddly, when no one could see me I felt more exposed.
Clothing gives us security and protection. And it informs our work. I dress in jammies to be mama. I dress in dancing clothes for date nights. I clean in old shorts and t-shirts. I wear lovely clothes for church. I would NEVER serve a friend a meal or help a neighbor butt naked. I would NEVER do ministry butt naked. Hello. So why was I writing buck naked?!?
I didn’t realize it until the next day after talking to Michelle… it suddenly hit me. I have been Writing. Naked. Alone and in the Dark.
That phrase unlocked a HUGE door for me and sent me back in my mind to a post I wrote months ago on spiritual warfare. I discussed my own foolishness of just diving into prayer without first dressing for battle (prayer covering of Ephesians 6) and without first submitting to the Commander in Chief’s plans for battle. In that message, I used a fictitious analogy… that the way I’d been praying was like running into battle rogue style. Naked. Alone. And without a Sword. (It’s good stuff, Menard. I’ll list that at the bottom of the post along with the backlash prayer because I know some of you need to know how to do battle better.)
So, that title was like a beam-me-up-Scotty moment for me when the phrases Writing Naked, Alone & Fighting Naked, Alone came together in my mind. A made-up teaching analogy became real life. If writing is my ministry, why am I not dressing appropriately for the work?
I knew at once God’s message to me…
- You’ve been writing without your clothes on. (You need to first clothe yourself in a prayer covering).
- You’ve been writing alone. (You need community of writers.)
- And you’ve been writing in the dark. (It’s time to let your light shine. Stop hiding your work.)
You might need to reread that a time or two. I sure did.
Lord, what does it mean that I was writing in the dark?
Soon as I asked Him, I flashed back to sitting on that bed. I felt around in the dark for my dress and threw it on over my head and zipped up. It was the first thing I did. Then, in total darkness, I felt around for my old flip phone and used it’s dim light to walk around and gather pajamas, brush, teeth, use the restroom. After a few minutes of this, my eyes were strained. I was so tired. My head was full of the glory of the day. And I sure stunk something terrible and needed that shower. But, it was much too dark to do so.
Finally, I got smart and realized I could open the curtains! There was still some light outside.
SheSpeaks. Thank you. You opened those curtains for me this week. You dressed me for priestly work of writing. And you introduced me to some tools that will help my writing shine brighter… which means I’m probably going to soon say I bid you adieu to my beloved flip phone. I can’t say any of this changing tide feels easy.
We can’t write naked anymore. Let’s clothes ourselves in prayer before we pick up our pens or head to type. My next post will be about how to do just that! (If you are not a writer, this is just as applicable to you! No matter what your ministry looks like, please don’t go spiritually naked! You need a prayer covering.)
We can’t write solo anymore. Now we have each other, so I encourage you to form small groups and give each other feedback. I’ll be sharing my writing consultation/work-shopping background with yall in upcoming posts to help you do just that! This applies to any type of ministry. You need a team. And we’ll discuss some ideas on how to go about that. Also, if you are a writer, prayerfully consider joining Lysa TerKeurst’s practical and inspirational training for writers at Compel. I’m signed up! Registration is open for just a few more days.
We can’t write in the dark anymore either. Time to let your light shine. The third part of this series will be a discussion of ministry and social media and how God might be flipping my perspective on all of it!
Want to know a crazy part of the story?
The power outage did not just effect my hotel room. Not even just my hotel. Apparently, the entire block of hotels for SheSpeaks 2017 lost power for five hours that night.
One of our speakers, Whitney Capps, heard that the reason for the power outage was that a snake had crawled into a transformer and exploded and the whole system went out. Noted.
My friends, dress for battle.
Let’s join together in unity and cancel the assignments of the enemy. At the same time, lets not give him any extra credit. The battle belongs to the Lord.
Do battle right…dressed appropriately, in submission and with respect. Slinging a bunch of disrespect at the adversary may not be in your favor. Did Jesus ever do that?
Next, check out these important messages on spiritual warfare below so you know what I mean:
Also, I invite you to subscribe before you go so I can come alongside you in your ministry and writing journey. I’m on your team, my friend!
And just an odd little photo to make you laugh… Looky looky at what I found the next morning when the lights finally came back on! If that doesn’t look like a scene from Left Behind, then I don’t know what does! I died laughing. (What a good way to die!)