I had a terrific time in Colorado soaking up mountains and clean air and wildlife. Thank You Jesus! He always knows, doesn’t He, when we need a time of refreshment, though I will say I’m pretty darned tired about right now. Though I didn’t walk away from the conference spiritually refreshed, I did feel like the Lord was kind enough to use me to refresh others. So in that, I feel a deep satisfaction.
I spoke about France briefly. (I can’t share details yet without it being too painful.) But I did talk about responding to an email that asked if we felt we missed God by going to France. I said it was an American thought that if God is in something, it will be successful. God doesn’t call us to success; He calls us to obey. And sometimes, we won’t see success in the here and now, and maybe not even in this lifetime. The question is: will we obey Him even if it means we won’t succeed? A sobering, yet freeing thought indeed.
I also spoke about fear, how so many of us don’t write things (particularly about family) because we’re afraid of what people might think, or we worry we’ll offend. And yet, sometimes God calls us out of our comfort and asks us to write true-and-kind words. And so many shrug away, afraid to do it. The question: Do you trust God with your words? Do you trust Him enough to carry you if you say hard things? Is He big enough to hold your loved ones in His hands? After that mini-talk, we had a round table discussion where the Lord set people free to write their stories. I’m terribly humbled by it all.
For the keynote, I spoke about well writing–writing from the well inside where Jesus fills us with rivers of living water. I shared Aidan’s story, about his passion to dig wells in Africa. I challenged writers to create the kind of well-like writing that shows the irresistability of Jesus. I beckoned writers to stay close to Jesus, to resist filling themselves with the religion of the day (materialism). At the end of the message we sang “Everything” by LifeHouse. When I opened my eyes after singing, the front of the place was filled with people kneeling, crying, and giving their hearts afresh to Jesus. Check on the Colorado website if you’d like to order any of the talks.
So in all that, I felt deeply refreshed. Knowing that the words I spoke incited such a change and desire for Jesus humbles me. Deeply. And I’m so thankful that folks came up to me at different times in the conference to tell me how I’d helped them (through the Writer’s View, Wannabepublished, etc.) I needed to know that. It takes a tremendous amount of my time and energy to do both those endeavors, so to hear they were bringing transformation encouraged me. Sometimes you just need to know your words and actions touch others.
God blessed me with some lovely times with friends. I came up early with Paula Moldenhauer. We had deep conversations, lots of laughter, and went snow hiking. I’ll post pictures when I upload them. I also had the privilege of rooming with Alice Crider from Multnomah. We had a great time together. My friend Anne drove up from Boulder to see me speak on Friday, and so did Danica. How cool is that? I had terrific conversations with so many folks, and I had the opportunity to connect with Patty Hickman. We had so many quirky similarities that we both marveled. Kind of like meeting a long lost sister. It was also so fun to see my friend Jodie Westfall take pictures of authors. She was in her element up there, though, she too suffered from the same sickness.
My one regret other than being sick the whole time? Not praying with folks. My schedule was so packed (and I felt so weak and tired from either a parasite or altitude sickness) that I flew from one thing to another, getting increasingly tired. I wish I had taken the hand of everyone I saw and said a prayer. But God knows these things and holds them in His hands.
And now to the title of this post. This morning, I dreamed.
I was asleep in my bed as it commenced. Clear as day, I heard a man’s voice in my house, and the mewing of a kitten. I came out into the dining room where the man stood, a sneer on his face. He held a charcoal gray kitten. “This is for you,” he said.
“Why are you in my home?”
He didn’t answer, but he looked around, greedy to rob me. I could see this in his eyes.
Suddenly, I realized two of my children were in the house: Aidan and Julia. I had to protect them from this man. A woman came in the house, looking at my possessions, then my children. She found my wallet and took it. I spied the man’s wallet. I grabbed it in stealth and put it under the mewling kitten. But he saw it and snatched it back. “All you get is the kitten,” he said.
I woke up with a start, wondering if I’d find a gray kitten in my home, my wallet missing, and my children in harm’s way, but all was safe. Strange how I felt that kind of relentless spiritual attack in France (dreams like this, attacks on my children, etc.), but had been relatively free for some time. But on the heels of ministering in such a way that I felt my life drain from me (in a good, satisfying way, not a bad way), I encountered this nightmare. Though I don’t have full discernment about the dream, I sense that the enemy is out there bent on destroying my family, but entering into our lives with something that seems innocent and innocuous: a kitten.
So would you pray for our family? That we wouldn’t be duped by kittens in disguise? (Wow, I didn’t think I’d ever write that sentence!) That I would withstand the onslaughts? And more than anything, I’d press into Jesus after this spiritual victory in Colorado, not letting pride have a foothold? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.