Monday, April 26, 2010

She Speaks Conference: Making A Way

Today the winner will be announced for the She Speaks contest we ran last week. As I write this, I have no idea who it will be but I know one thing-- there will only be one winner. And lots of people who will not win. And that grieves my heart, as your entries have really touched me because I am in the same boat with a lot of you. If I had millions, you can bet I would be paying your way!!

A few months ago, I entered a contest for a scholarship to a writers conference I wanted to attend pretty badly. Ok, really badly. With Curt out of work, going to this conference was not an option. My only hope was getting a scholarship. You can imagine my disappointment when I found out I didn't win. And yet, I sensed God telling me that He had a different-- better-- plan and I just needed to trust it. So I did.

Last week, I got an unexpected email from a group of friends who had gotten together behind my back, pooled their resources, and offered to pay for another conference I really wanted to go to. A conference that will provide me with great information I need as a fiction writer. A conference I couldn't afford to go to with Curt out of work. But God. He made a way-- laying it on my friends' hearts to pay for my registration so I could be there and totally and completely surprising me in the process.

Why do I tell this story? Because I think that for some of you, it will be easy to get to a place of disappointment if you don't win. But that's not what I want for you. I want you to rest in His perfect plan for your life. And to face this situation armed with the knowledge that if God wants you there, HE WILL GET YOU THERE!! Jesus is THE WAY and He can make a way. Don't count yourself out yet. Let this setback spur you on to a greater prayer life and a closer walk with Him. Don't throw your hands up and think "It's over." Last year I had a friend who desperately wanted to go to She Speaks, but she didn't see a way. Just a few weeks before the conference, God made a shocking, amazing way for her to be there and she has never forgotten it. My friend learned, it ain't over til it's over.

I want you to know that the P31 team has committed to praying specifically for each of you who want to be there to find a way. That God will provide unexpected checks, generous friends, birthday gifts, creative fundraising ideas, etc. If you have a strong desire to come and are willing to get creative, you can create your own scholarship! Here's what our Executive Director had to say about this idea:

"Proverbs 31 has already put together an amazing letter that they can send to their family, friends, church, small group, etc. As a result, tax-deductible donations are made to Proverbs 31 Ministries and designated as scholarship money for the individual. Each year 20 – 30 women attend She Speaks because they set up their own scholarship. Everyone is not called to speak or write. But some are called to financially help someone else answer the call to speak or write."

For a copy of this letter, go to There is a green button that says “Scholarship Info” at the bottom left of the home page. That button will take you to the scholarship information on the website.

However things work out for you, I pray that you will walk in the door with the other women that Friday as we begin this year's conference. And that as you walk in-- because of what He has done-- you will be even more impacted by that moment, even more aware of His goodness and His plans for you. We want you there and we are rooting for you. I have listed off everyone who left a comment on my blog and will be praying for you by name. Can't wait to hear your stories of His exceeding, abundant provision and how He made a way!

Be sure to come back tomorrow, when I will have a guest blogger explaining how she got creative to raise funds to attend a conference she felt God calling her to. Her story might just get your wheels turning!
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Flamingo Mama said...

wow!! what an awesome gift you have in your friends!

Cheri Bunch said...

Mary Beth, I love this story! It is so encouraging. I have a friend (Debi) whose small business was just foreclosed on. Her husband left her a few years ago and she is in a financially desperate situation. We prayed for her last night at our small group. I believe the Lord can deliver her out of the situation, or take her to new places. Just so hard for her to go through. Love testimonies of how He works things out. Thanks for sharing! Blessings! Cheri

A New Dawn said...

Thank you so much for the encouragement. I have been trying to get to SheSpeaks for three years. If it's God's will I will be there this year. If not this year, maybe next year, or the year after. Regardless of the outcome, I trust God! But I am rejoicing for the others who have won thus far..I know they will be blessed!

Debra said...

I loved your story. HOW Great is our GOD! That is just wonderful that you get to participate in that conference for writing. I am so excited for you my friend!

My Army Brats and Me said...

I am attending the conference this year. I am so not a writer or speaker but I have been called by God to help others through my journey battling breast cancer. When the call came in that I would be attending I was very overwhelmed. I am super excited to share Cindy's Hope Chest. Glad a run across your blog today!
fighting like a girl

Arlene Grimm said... this post. It is so easy to be discouraged when we are disappointed. It also reminded me of the need to heed God's call when He speaks to our hearts about something. I remember years ago, I was in TJMaxx and saw a Victorian style hatbox. I knew that one of the teachers at our small Christian School collected hatboxes so I purchased it for her. She sent me a note saying that she had actually had that same hatbox in her cart and had put it back because she could not really afford it. She was so surprised to receive it as a gift. I am not telling this story to brag on myself but rather to encourage everyone to listen to those little whispers in your heart. God may be asking you to provide something that will encourage someone. Sometimes when God provides the Small things it helps us to trust Him to provide the Big things.

Thanks for your is such an encouragement.

Kelli said...

Thank you, Marybeth for the words of encouragement! I truly am trusting God to provide and I have a few amazing friends as well, one of which is offering not only offering to help me raise the funds, but to drive me there, too! How good is God?

RefreshMom said...

Thanks for sharing your story Marybeth. I'm sorry not to have won the last scholarship, but not disappointed as I have the confidence you described--if God wants me to be there, He will provide the way. I have no idea how it will come about (my husband has been out of work since just before Curt; I've been following your story with an understanding heart).

You and I have other circumstances in common (ask Ariel); part of my hope to be at the conference is to share some of those things in person.

It's great that God answered your prayer for the conference of your heart. Believing Him for the same for me!

Mary Hampton

phzlt said...

Hi Marybeth, this is so encouraging. I wanted to share that I, too, have a call on my heart to attend She Speaks. I set up the sponsorship option and have reached out to friends and family, as well as writing about it on my blog. I'm thrilled to say that God has provided! As of last week, 90% of the funds I need have been generously donated. This is a real option for anyone. I'm still blown away by how many people have supported this journey for me. I encourage those who (like me) entered the scholarship contests and didn't win to consider this route. I cannot wait for the conference! Blessings.