ACFW Bound

Last summer, I was beating my head against what felt like a very hard brick wall. I was questioning my writing, why I was writing, if I should even be writing. I was crying out to the Lord to show me the way He wanted me to go.

I was led to the website of Deeanne Gist. She had just one her first Christy Award (she just won her 2nd last week!) I read on her blog about her editor, David Long at Bethany House. So I began reading David’s writings about the direction of CBA. I had an incredibly visceral experience with my heart pounding. Very Margie Lawson-esque (if you’ve taken her workshop on emotion you know what I mean). I began to wonder if God wanted me to move in the direction of the CBA. I began to pray about it and also tried to learn more about it. I emailed Deeanne and asked if she’d have a cup of coffee with me in Atlanta at the RWA Conference. Now, Deeanne didn’t know me at all. I really thought it was a long shot. Why would she want to get together with this random author? So I just prayed and said, “God, if you want me to meet her then please have her respond in a positive way.” Well, not only did Deeanne say, “yes,” but she also said, “let’s have lunch!”

So last July in Atlanta, I met with Deeanne, who is so incredibly gracious and also a great writer, and she told me all about the CBA and her journey to publication. She really encouraged me to attend the ACFW (Amercian Christian Fiction Writer) Conference in Dallas last September (it’s in Dallas this September too!). I wasn’t sure. It’s kind of expensive (at least for me anyway!) and it was a financially precarious time for my husband and I. But I told my husband what Deeanne had said and he said, “Go for it.” So with trepidation, I signed up.

I’m not sure why, but I thought God was going to tell me to stop writing at the ACFW Conference. At the time, I knew fear came from the evil one, not God. So I kept moving forward. I took my manuscript, Elvis Takes a Back Seat, and began to pull the spiritual threads I’d laid in the foundation of the book to the light. September arrived quickly, and still with trepidation I went asking God to show me His will. The first night coming home from the conference (I didn’t live too far from the conference site), my husband called me on my cell phone and told me the agent I’d submitted my manuscript to had called. Called! That’s huge. Agents don’t call unless they’re interested! It was just the first step of many but God had paved the way.

The rest of the conference was incredible. Through Mary DeMuth’s class, God reaffirmed all the things He’d been teaching me over the past few years. Through Lisa Samson’s class, I learned I wasn’t alone and was able to grieve some of the painful moments of publication. Through Liz Curtis Higgs, God really spoke to me. Through Rachel Hauck’s music, I felt God’s presence and His hand on my life and my writing.

If you feel God pulling you in the direction of the CBA, then don’t walk, RUN to get signed up for ACFW. You do not want to miss this wonderful conference with amazing speakers, wonderful writing friends and this powerful time to focus on God and His purpose for our writing.

Here’s a couple of links to find out more about ACFW, go to To read more about the amazing things happening at ACFW, go to for more stories about past conferences and what ACFW has meant to other writers. Tomorrow’s author who is participating in the ACFW blogtour is Deb Raney, so go to

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