Happy, happy, joy, joy! Do you have something in your life that you look forward to so much that this is the best way to describe it? Something that you enjoy so much that you anticipate it almost year round? For my next-door neighbor, this is scrapbooking. She loves to go up to the mountains with her girlfriends for a long weekend of cutting, cropping and chatting. I have never developed the skill of putting together a scrapbook, but I understand her excitement. For me, that excitement comes with the announcement that it is time to register for this year’s She Speaks conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries. In this amazing conference, 600-700 women descend on the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC to learn how to better serve others. It is unlike any other conference that I’ve ever seen. Popular Christian speakers, writers, bloggers, editors and publishers volunteer their time to help other women who have a desire to serve God more fully. They teach us how to keep our hearts open, and our message fresh; how to balance our ministry and our families; and how to be more effective in our calling. I love to call it a combination of a the biggest grown-up slumber party combined with Christian bootcamp. Each year brings the joy of networking with many other Christian women, but it also brings some unique opportunities as well. One of those is the possibility of pitching your book to a publisher. I have seen others do this and thought that I was glad that I was not an author because the concept was terrifying. Once again, I should have been careful with what I thought and said. In the middle of She Speaks 2011, God put it on my heart that by the time that She Speaks 2012 comes around, I needed to have my book ready to pitch. I admit that I felt a bit like Moses when he told God that he couldn’t speak to a big crowd, “Um, God, I don’t have a book. And in case You’ve forgotten, no disrespect meant here, Lord; you’ve completely closed up my mind, and I haven’t even been able to blog for months. What do you mean ‘Have my book ready?’” He assured me that when I got home from the conference, I would know what it was that I was to be writing, and that I should have it ready for the next summer. Throughout the conference, I struggled with distraction as I wondered what it was that I was supposed to be writing. I left the conference, admittedly a bit confused, still not having an idea of what I was supposed to be writing about. On my way home, I prayed about what I was supposed to write, and I asked God why He hadn’t revealed it to me. He assured me again that when I got home, I would know what to write. I tried not to struggle with Him about the semantics that I was 15 minutes from home and still did not have an answer, but I had a peace that He would come through in His timing (read: at the very last second possible). A little while later, He reminded me of something that my mother and I used to do as I was growing up. As I thought about it, He put on my heart that this was what He wanted me to write about. He slowly brought ideas to my mind on how to start compiling it. Even before I reached my driveway, I was feeling overwhelmed with the complexity of the project. I knew that there was no way that I could do justice to what He was asking. Then He helped me to realize that this was the point. He wanted to receive all of the glory by doing something miraculous through me. Over the past eight months, I have been working on this project. I had so much of it put together by November that I was starting to get excited that this could actually happen. But God allowed me to experience a little more humility and trust in Him. The computer that I had been doing all of my work on crashed. I did not worry about it because I am insistent on doing regular backups, even to the point of having my own server at home that also backs up off-site to make sure that nothing is lost. After we got my replacement computer setup, I began to look for my work, and I realized that I had made a fatal error. I had not marked that program for backup, and the files were not stored with my other backups. I had lost every single piece of my work. I tried to convince myself that this must mean that God did not really want me to write this book. In order to make it clear that this was absolutely to be my priority, He allowed me to become sick so that I would be confined to bed. Now I have nowhere else to be, allowing me much time to write as much as He leads. But the butterflies still tried to convince me that it would just be way too scary to actually present to a publisher. But I have committed that no matter how scary it is, I will do what God has told me to do. So, with that in mind, I registered for this year’s She Speaks Conference. I have requested to meet with a publisher, and I need to have at least three chapters along with my concept completely ready before I get there on July 19, 2012. Would you please pray with me for the following: 1) I do not know which publisher(s) I will be assigned to. Please pray that God prepares their hearts for the message that He is wanting delivered, and that whoever is assigning publishers will place me with the one who God wants to receive my proposal. 2) Pray for my peace as I present to them. I am an “okay” writer, and a much worse speaker. Please pray that God gives me the confidence and the words to share His message for this book. 3) Please pray for my health. At this point, I still cannot be out of bed for more than a few minutes without facing severe exhaustion, and I cannot walk more than a few feet. Please pray that I will either develop the strength that I need by then, or that I will be able to obtain the devices that I need in order to function for the weekend. Thank you, dear friends, for you support as I walk down this new road.