Late at night, my little girl tiptoes into our bedroom, frightened by a scary dream. She waits a moment, and then quietly whispers, “Daddy?”

Why do we whisper when we are scared?

I have to admit I am terrified to write this post. Just like I was terrified to go to She Speaks.

The good news is, being brave starts with being afraid, so here I am, knees knocking, heart pounding… I’ve got all the necessary components to be brave. 🙂

Sometimes, when I’m afraid, like my daughter, I begin in a whisper.

She Speaks was an awesome weekend connecting with other writers and speakers and learning a lot about both crafts. A month later, my mind is still spinning!

I was fed spiritually, relationally, and practically. I was also given this awesome opportunity to link up with Courtney Defeo this week as we connect to talk about the things we learned at She Speaks.

There were three things God impressed on my heart through She Speaks.

  • It all begins with loving Jesus
  • I’ve got to study my audience as much as I study the scriptures
  • God’s grace is on display when I let my imperfection show

It all begins with loving Jesus

It all begins with Jesus

In one of her workshops, Sharon Glasgow quoted John Wesley, saying, “Catch on fire and others will love to come and watch you burn.”

My mind has been stuck on the burning bush every since. See, Moses was drawn to go see what was happening because the bush burned, but was not consumed. If I am going to love others into the kingdom, it starts with catching myself on fire. And that begins and ends with knowing and loving Jesus.

I’ve spent the last month digging into the word with renewed vigor. In God’s providence, before I went to She Speaks, I’d written enough posts for my blog to run on auto-pilot for three months. I haven’t written a word (until today!) since early July. I planned a break so that I could digest what I learned at the conference by going into and out of my little cocoon changed.

Spending all that “writing” time in the Word is already shaping the words I will begin writing next month. Now more than ever, I want His words to be in my heart, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (or fingers type…) Luke 6:45.

Truly, it all begins with loving Jesus.

I’ve got to study my audience as much as I study the scriptures

Writing and speaking is a little bit like matchmaking. For years I’ve made a habit of understanding my audience before I led a conference, retreat, or devotional. I’ve worked to understand where their hearts are so that I can apply scripture in a meaningful way ~ which means I have to know scripture pretty well, too. So that I can make a good match, if you will.

Since I started writing, I’m not sure I’ve taken the time to study my “audience,” the very people to whom I write. At She Speaks, God convicted my heart of my failing in this area.

It’s not unlike my desire to learn to cook.

Some years ago, as a single gal, I decided to learn to cook. One night, I followed my grandmother’s recipe for chicken-n-dumplings to the letter. They were delicious! The aroma drew my roommate from her studies in the back of the house to the kitchen. And the best part is they were good for us! They smelled and tasted great ~ fed my body good things, but they looked… well, to be completely honest… they looked like somebody had thrown up in my bowl.

It took some work, but I make beautiful, tasty, and nutritious chicken-n-dumplings now.

Learning to blog has been a little bit like my Chicken-n-Dumplings experiment. I get lots of good feedback on my content… when people hear me speak, they are drawn to know Christ and to know him more deeply.

Those brave souls who have ventured onto my blog have (in their own words) understood God’s grace more fully and been built up and strengthened to do life with grace as a result.

I offer something that is tasty and good for the soul. But my website looks… well, to be completely honest… not quite like throw up, but…

So, I’ve also spent the last month working my tail off learning what my hoped-for readers value and need from me ~ visually and in content. I’ve been working on a complete redesign of my website. {Before you panic: this is not it. This is still the chicken-n-dumplings-experiment site.}

Which brings me to…

God’s grace is on display when I let my imperfection show

I really, really, really wanted to get my new site up and running before this link up.

I thought I’d be ready to come out shouting, but in God’s providence, I’m close, but not ready to “go live.”,

Something about it being 17 years since I wrote my last piece of code has set me back more than once. I’ve had people helping, praying, advising, and cheering me on… and I’m really excited about the whole new face of CultivateGrace.org. But at some point, I needed to spend time on the things I am primarily called to do… love my husband, love my kids, and be involved in our church.

So today, you get to see my imperfect face, because it’s either show up for the link up with tasty, nutritious food that looks not-so-good, or hide until I think I’ve got it all together.

And since the entirety of my blog is about resting in the grace of God, learning to apply grace to our own lives, and giving grace to others, it would be more than a little hypocritical to skip the link up because I can’t do it “perfect.”

Lord willing, by this time next week, CultivateGrace.org will have it’s new look. And a few weeks from now, when I begin writing again, it’ll have Jesus written all over it.

Until then I’ll whisper.

{{UPDATE:  This is the new site!  It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t look like… well… I hope you enjoy it anyway!}}