Wednesday, October 3, 2007

ACFW Conference - Where God Sent a River

I've been back from conference for a couple of weeks now, but I've stalled on reporting about it because I wasn't sure if I should share the deep personal events of that time. I've decided that this conference was more about healing than it was about networking and learning the craft, and feel that someone may need to read about my experience--someone who is in a dry, desert place right now.

A few weeks before the conference, the Denver ACFW board met at the president's cabin in the mountains. A charming rustic structure that has been in her family for decades. After the year I've had dealing with a family crisis, I needed prayer, as did all of us. We each took turns being prayed for, and when my turn came, one of the women had a vision for me. She saw God sending me a river, and that I was to lay down in it, immerse myself, and rest.

Weeks went by and I waited for that river. I was still burdened by my circumstances, still in pain, and yes, still angry over certain things that were beyond my control. Even though I knew God had everything well in hand, I still wallowed in my misery.

Back to the conference. The MC and prolific author, Brandilyn Collins, has a prayer ministry at this yearly conference. Ever since she was healed of Lyme Disease a couple of years ago, God has blessed her with the gift of intercessory prayer. Please read about her miraculous healing. I knew I would probably spend some time in the prayer room at this conference, and hoped Brandilyn would be there to pray for me.

The first morning, Friday, I followed my roomie, Paula, to a front table to sit with our other buddy, Megan, as she was giving the devotional and we wanted to support her. I wasn't paying any attention to whose table it was. (FYI: the tables always had name placards on them of the editors, agents, and faculty.) There was an empty seat beside me, and I soon heard someone come up behind me saying "Here's my table! I didn't know I got one this morning." This was Brandilyn.

During the worship time, we sang "Blessed Be Your Name". This song was one I sang on the praise team nearly every week through our pastor's several month study on Job a few years ago. It was also during this period that we were laid off for the second time and our car was totaled. The lyrics can be found at www.lyricsbox.com/matt-redman-lyrics-blessed-be-your-name-pfs45jc.html but the message is that I'll praise him when the streams of abundance flow, and I'll praise him when in the desert place. This song, plus the messages from Job, sustained me through that rocky time.

Okay, fast forward. I stood next to Brandilyn and I lost it. At this point, I am so deep in the desert place, I feel like I'm part of the sand, dry and unable to be molded. After worship, she turned to me and said "You're crying a lot at this conference, what's going on?" She must have seen me at the Thurs worship, too. I'm so glad Paula was there because I couldn't get any words out. She filled her in and when Brandilyn hugged me, I trembled in her arms. We made an appointment for later that morning in the prayer room. I had an agent appointment before that, so I showed up puffy faced, but explained that worship did me in that morning. I was actually coherent, which had to have been a God thing.

After the appointment, I went straight to the prayer room to wait for 45 minutes for my appointment with Brandilyn. I sat there in tears trying to still my mind and heart, but there was so much turmoil inside my body, I could barely breathe. Finally, Brandilyn came in, and she, along with Paula, and my other buddy, Heather, hedged me in. I felt so safe with two friends on either side and Brandilyn in front. She touched my knees and immediately drew back, like she was shocked. She said there was a lot going on inside me. This much I knew.

Then she placed her fingers between my breasts, asking permission before doing so, and the minute she touched me, I felt the Holy Spirit begin to dredge out all of the grief, all the disappointments, all the anger, that I've held onto for probably the last three years. A mourning sound came out of my mouth that I've never heard before, and Brandilyn kept assuring me that it was God and to let it happen. Paula also continued to tell me to just let it come, but it was so painful, I felt like my heart was tearing to shreds.

It only took a minute or two, but when it was done, it was done. I guess I had to get that festering boil lanced to move on. She then prayed for my family, one by one. Afterwards, she had to excuse herself to pray for someone else, and that was fine. I felt the peace of God. When we hugged, she made note that I wasn't trembling anymore.

That wasn't the only cool thing that happened in the prayer room that day. Read on to see where the river came in!

Paula, Heather, and I were going to leave when we saw that Brandilyn was praying for another friend of ours. Remember that up until the conference, I still felt dry, like the desert place. Heather and Paula were still sitting on either side of me, and we prayed for our friend across the room. Suddenly, I felt my head go light, and spiritually, I felt it open up and that river came like a flash flood! It poured, not only over me, but through me. Now, the interesting thing about a river is that it's not a lake. It goes somewhere, it moves. Well, it moved through me and straight across the room to my friend. She suddenly had the breakthrough she needed when that living water hit her. The demonic influence that had a strangle hold on her washed away, and no doubt drowned a painful death.

Another woman came in to pray for Paula at that time, and my now giddy self started to pray, "Tributary," as I directed my prayer toward Paula.

For the rest of the conference, I felt at peace. I could even sing the song that had devastated me several more times, and the tears I felt were worship tears. They flowed freely, but they weren't hot. (A phenomenon that I felt as early as the prayer room, after Brandilyn had prayed and moved on to my friend.) Apparently my whole countenance changed and as I continued my day, people started noticing my sparkly shirt. Call me crazy, but no one commented on it before the prayer breakthrough. The dry dust falling from my spirit probably dulled it somewhat!

On a professional level, the two agents I met with want to see a proposal of my mystery, the one that four editors from the Colorado Christian Writers Conference wanted to see. But, between spending time in the prayer room--not only for myself, but for others--and volunteering in the bookstore, I didn't get to go to as many classes as I would have liked. However, my brief hour in Colleen Coble's "The Suspense Thickens" continuing session and Linda Windsor's "Query and Synopsis" workshop, were both informative for me.


Another highlight is the booksigning that I was able to participate in for the first time. Since Mary Davis and I are in the novella anthology, Love Letters, we signed together. I also had Merely Players available.



The highlight of the day was when a sweet lady named Nadine Smith, came to the public signing and was asking all of the Heartsong Presents authors to sign a sticky note so she could put them in her scrapbook. She's read every Heartsong for years, and had her daughter drive her to Dallas for the booksigning just to meet her favorite authors. She crochets and brought gifts for all of us. For a picture of Nadine with Barbour editor, Rebecca Germany, along with other conference highlights, go to the Edit Cafe.

And finally, good buddy, Paula Moldenhauer, was my roommate again. Love ya, Girl!




I pray for blessings to pour through you as it did through me!

3 comments:

Cathy West said...

I Have CHILLS!!! Praise God for HIs healing, His abundant mercies and His boundless grace!!
Move forward in Him, Kath!
Woo hoo!!

And sadly, I discover you are just another person out of hundreds that I did not get to meet at the conference! Next year??

LaShaunda said...

WOW!

I'm like Cathy I have chills too. God is so wonderful. I'm glad you were blessed from the prayers.

As a person who believes prayer works. I love hearing testimonies of how it does.

Thank you somuch for sharing and may the Lord continue sending you blessings.

P.S. I stop by to read the post on the house and was blessed by your testimony.

tonya said...

Kathy, isn't God good? I am so happy to hear about what God did for you.
Love ya lots.