The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference was phenomenal. I attended the non-fiction mentor track. As someone with a bachelor’s degree in English and several years’ experience in freelance writing, I thought I knew what I was doing. Under the expert tutelage of Karen O’Connor I discovered that you never know what you don’t know. Her insightful critique of my work was challenging, yet constructive. I came away from the week with a clear idea of how to make my writing more engaging for readers by striving for a tone that is “invitational” rather than “instructional.”
I had numerous opportunities to network with established writers and publishing professionals, and received invitations from three different editors to submit manuscript proposals to their publishing houses. I also had many opportunities to connect with writers who, like me, are passionate about their message and are striving to find the best route to make their voices heard. I discovered kingdom allies from other parts of the country who are burdened by the same issues that God has laid upon my heart. One of the most encouraging aspects of the conference was the confirmation I received from so many regarding my book idea. I shared my elevator pitch at virtually every meal, and everyone seemed enthusiastic, especially the younger Christian wives who make up my target audience.
I had the opportunity to go to the daily Prayer and Praise time, led by Karen Ball. This was a great way to begin each day by focusing on the Lord and offering Him the worship He deserves. It helped bring everything else into proper perspective.
Kim Bangs revolutionized my idea of platform in her workshop on that topic. She gave us the picture that as writers, we actually are the platform on which Jesus Christ is lifted up. We seek to expand our sphere of influence in order to make His name great and spread His message to a wider audience.
The keynote speaker, Glenna Salsbury, was funny and engaging. Listening to someone so overflowing with the joy of the Lord lifted my heart. She left us all with many things to think about like the truth that because the Lord directs our steps, there are no accidents. Every disappointment, rejection, and season of waiting has its purpose in His perfect, sovereign plan.
One of the very best moments for me actually came before the conference when I received my final bill from Mount Hermon. It read “Balance Owed: $0.00.” My heart skipped a beat. Gratitude welled up inside me. I was so thankful to Kathy Ide for her generosity in providing me with the Promising Beginnings scholarship.
That experience reminded me of the even greater debt that I once owed to God because of my sin. Jesus wrote “Paid in Full” on that bill with His own blood. Because of His unfathomably generous sacrifice, I have been washed clean and adopted into His family. One day, He will gather all His children for the grand family reunion around His throne. For me, Mount Hermon was a little foretaste of what that great day will be like, as I joined with my brothers and sisters to rejoice in the love of our Savior and the gifts and talents He has entrusted to us to bring glory to His name.