After the Conference
The whole ACFW conference thing was a big pushing-me-out-of-my box kind of experience. For four days, I had to stick my hand out and say, “Hello, I’m Hope Dougherty,” offer my business card, and talk about my writing while my mind was entertaining thoughts like, “Are you sure she wants to meet you? Do you think she really wants your card? Will she think my story is stupid?” I’d much rather sit on an out-of-the-way couch and observe.
Prayer warriors and I had prayed, however, that I’d be obedient to God’s leading, and I tried to follow His nudges. Because I lived outside my box for those days, I came home mentally and physically exhausted. But I also experienced some God appointments that wouldn’t have happened had I sat on that couch.
I met Patti Lacy whose book, An Irishwoman’s Tale, is set in Ireland. Her publishing sucess gives me hope that maybe my story, partially set in Galway, might see publication at some point, too. I introduced myself to Nicole Quigley, who, though she is at least twenty years my junior, became a fast friend and won a Genesis award Saturday night. Finally, I met Courtney Hartzel, an editor who knows some of my dearest friends in Pittsburgh. I had a ball chatting with her about our Pittsburgh connections.
The conference gave God another chance to remind me of His faithfulness, His hugeness, and His love for me. All of those divine appointments were God taps, “Hope, I see you. Hope, I’m with you. Hope, I’ll help you.” A great conference. A greater God.