By Brenda Flury Greig
I will make the coffee! I will operate the lights! I will …I kept offering up to God all that I was willing to do, yet He was saying He wanted me to write and speak. As part of this quest, He brought the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference to my attention. That was two years ago.
I reservedly complied by signing up for the conference, along with the speaking critique and a publisher meeting. I felt the whole thing was really out of my realm. You see, as an introvert, I would rather starve than eat at a table with a bunch of strangers, and all meals were provided as part of the conference! Yes, that meant I had an unlimited opportunity to meet women from all over the country…yippee…I sighed sarcastically.
The opening celebration was powerful, with hundreds of women filling the conference full of love and excitement for Christ. The singing shouted to the heavens as each woman poured out her heart, except me. I was the shy, Minnesotan way in the back, singing quietly, knowing that even raising one hand in the air to worship would be way over the top! There I stood. Very nervous, fully certain that everyone else had polished their writing and speaking skills as to be on the brink of the fame. I had come barely prepared.
The usual small talk around the table started and the woman next to me asked, “Are you a speaker or writer?” Choking on my last swig of coffee, I stammered, “neither really, I would just like to make the coffee or something.” Needless-to-say, the conversation stopped in its tracks!
Thankfully, the opening speaker came up on stage to take my mind off myself. She spoke funny, inspiring, caring girl-type words in an attempt to ease the anxiety in the room with assurance that the loving staff, coaches, agents, publishers, and evaluators were all there to help us use our talents to fulfill all that God had in mind for us. I just want to make the coffee, I reminded God.
Off to the first breakout on “Ten Tips to Wow Publishers.” I couldn’t help but think how bizarre it was for me. Here I am in a room with others that know what a publisher, editor, and agent do! I had a rough idea …but still just wanted to make coffee. The next breakout told us how to promote our book. The steps included speaking engagements and the development of a blog…a what? I didn’t even know what that was!
Leaving the room at the end of that session, I realized I wasn’t really hungry so I could skip lunch and go back to my hotel room for a minute. Well, minutes turned to hours and yes, I hid out in my hotel room for the rest of the conference! I reminded God that He made me this shy introvert, so I think its best I just stay home to care for my husband and occasionally volunteer at church. Assured that He understood the wisdom in my reasoning I comfortably got back on the plane to return to my safety net. Ahhhh.
Afterwards, I was convicted numerous times by the Holy Spirit about my disobedience. Recently, while facilitating a Twelve Step group, everyone fell silent when asked to share a time of obedience or disobedience in their life. In an attempt to spur conversation, I shared about the clear directive I heard from God and my subsequent decision to hide out in my hotel room. One of the participants replied, “You never know, God is a God of second chances.” I chuckled and moved on.
That night I arrived home and checked my emails to discover the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference Director was announcing the conference had been full but now had a limited number of openings! I thought “No….you’ve got to be kidding!” Out of curiosity I checked the costs of the flight, hotel and conference to discover it would be approximately $1,400. “Well, there you have it,” I proclaimed. We don’t have an extra $14 dollars let alone $1,400 so that’s it! While lying in bed, I shared the story with my husband and he agreed there was surely not $1,400 somewhere in our budget. Relieved, I claimed the day and went off to sleep.
The next evening my husband came home from work and said, “Honey, you know those two people I recruited and hired at work? Well Human Resources told me today that there is a $700 recruiting bonus for each one!” I stood in silence staring at him. No matter how I calculated it, $700 plus $700 equaled $1,400. Yikes.
Quietly, but with a stern intent, my husband said, “I believe God wants you to go to that conference.” I stuttered and stammered questioning the validity of that conclusion. In another attempt to sway his thinking, I reminded him that his Jeep needs air conditioning and wouldn’t he rather have air in the Jeep? The answer remained…no. I was to go to the conference…again.
On the first morning of the conference, I found myself having breakfast with about eight other women. The question of prior attendance came up and everyone else was attending for the first time. When I mentioned this was my second time, they all fixated on me intently and began asking what it was like, was the writing critique hard, did I have a meeting with a publisher, etc. I proceeded to share from my heart what God had called me to do two years ago and how I had disobeyed. I shared my regret and sadness over disappointing Him; and how I ended up here today. It was as if God put His arms around each and every woman at the table and said “Be strong for I am with you!”
It was a magnificent conference and I have been blessed many times over for my obedience to Him. I continue to write and submit articles on a regular basis. My greatest desire, to write a book, is in the making. So when God tells you to do something, just do it!
Brenda Flury Greig has been described as passionate, inspiring and very authentic. She is a devoted follower of Christ who delights in leading Bible Studies, facilitating Twelve Step groups and walking one-on-one with others in their journey to sobriety. Brenda lives in Minnesota with her husband and their German Shepherds and Yorkies.