Seven years ago I left the profession I love. I wasn’t sure what was next for me, but I knew I needed something different that would better fit our family and heal things that were broken.Spring Forth

I read a book that summer, “When I Lay My Isaac Down” by Carol Kent. Her story greatly impacted me as a struggling mom. I had hope that life still goes on even when your storybook image is shattered. At the end of the book, something else grabbed my attention. It was an informational page for her ministry training Christian speakers, “Speak Up with Confidence”

It struck a chord with me.

Teaching is my passion. Teaching the Bible my greatest passion.

I shared the information with my husband. The conference was two hours away in Grand Rapids, MI. He encouraged me to go. “I’ll sell books at your book table someday,” he said.

I smiled.

I didn’t tell anyone where I was going when I attended Speak Up that summer. How prideful would that be, attending a Christian conference to be trained as an inspirational speaker?

So I quietly left for a few days, telling a few people I was “going to a conference….”

During the conference, I was impacted by the cohort group I was with, and by the friendships I made. Women who were similarly called to share. Women with similar and diverse backgrounds, but who were genuine and real.

I didn’t do much with the Speak Up training until a few years later. In the meantime, I began blogging at Life Beyond the Picket Fence. In 2013, I attended Speak Up again, needing more skills to keep up with the growing blog. As I sat in sessions on social media, web design, and writing, I wondered at what point could you call yourself a writer or speaker, even in you’re writing and speaking.

I asked one of the presenters that question. She was so authentic and approachable.

She did. She smiled and said, “You’re a writer.”

In that moment, she gave me permission.

Permission to really do what God was calling me to do.

Permission to step out of fear and the shadows I hid behind. 

At Speak Up, I found affirmation in the ministry to which God calls me. It’s given me the confidence and assurance that you don’t necessarily “arrive” in the places where God wants to use you.

You just have to do it, in humility and faith.

This summer, I have the honor to present at the Speak Up conference with the woman who first said I was a writer. She’s become a dear friend.

I also have the opportunity to give away a $100 scholarship gift to the conference to one of you.

If you are being called to write, speak, or both, I’d love for you to join us at Speak Up. If you’d like for your name to be a drawing for that $100 giveaway, email me at yoderbl@gmail.com. I’ll keep the giveaway open until Friday, May 8. I’d love for you to join us at this life-changing conference. At the bottom of this page are others participating in this Blog Hop, sharing stories of Speak Up!

Will you step out of the shadows and grow in what God’s calling you to do? It may not be speaking or writing, and that’s okay. You have a gift just as important that God’s developing in YOU. Will you step out and use it? What’s holding you back?

Let me share the new retreat I’m offering – Springing Forth and Growing in Grace, helping women understand the strengths God’s given them, and how to step out of the shadows and grow in His grace and confidence. It’s a 3 session retreat that could be for a day or weekend. Email me at yoderbl@gmail.com for more information.

 

 

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