Last year I went to Write! Canada in the midst of a writerly identity crisis, some friends might remember! I wrote about it here:
A Writer in Need of Direction June 22/2012
I had gone to the The Word Guild Writing Awards Gala which I attended with some friends and one of my granddaughters, Tori; a young writer in her own right. When all of the writers and editors in the room were asked to stand, I couldn't get up from my chair!
Afterwards I felt like such a failure. In front of Tori I had lacked the confidence to stand up. I told her later that I had been wrong to deny the call God has given me to write, and wrong to take it upon myself to judge the worth of what I write. I'm sure she'll have moments of self doubt if she continues to write and I hope that if she does, she'll remember her Omie's apology that night.
I wrote how God answered my prayers for clarification and affirmation in this post: Markers June 23/2012. Write! Canada 2011 ended with my name-tag being pulled from the 200 or so in the basket at the end of the conference. The prize was free registration to Write! Canada 2012!
I knew when I won it that it was a dual gift. I needed the affirmation from God that I was a writer, but I had also connected at the conference with someone who needed free registration to this year's conference more than I did; someone who was just behind me in the auditorium and praying that she would win. God got the gift to the two right people in one shot.
A couple of months after the conference I received a $50 gift certificate in the mail from The Word Guild. I can't remember what the draw was for now, but my name had been drawn. I saved the gift certificate to go towards this year's registration.
I arrived so happy to be back among old friends who feel like my tribe; my family.
During the opening sessions of the conference an announcement was made that another gift was being presented to someone--a gift certificate for Samuels Hotel in Goderich, which is owned and managed by a member of The Word Guild, Kim Burgsma.
"The winner is...Belinda Burston," the emcee announced. I was speechless! I went to the front of the room to receive the long white envelope, to rousing applause.
Later Kim told me that she would be delighted to host me at her hotel!
I couldn't quite believe it, and said to a couple of people who congratulated me on my blessing of winning that I wondered if
"someone was doing something nice." Now that sounds terrible, but then I couldn't help wondering...
On Saturday morning, the last breakfast of the conference, I sat beside N.J. Lindquist, one of the co-founders of The Word Guild.
"I guess it really does pay to do good deeds," N.J. said with a smile, in reference to the gift certificate.
I confided my feeling that it must have been a kindness on someone's part, but N.J. said, "Oh, no, I used a complex algorithm to determine the winner and it was your name that came up!"
I was so glad that I had sat with N.J. and that we'd had that conversation. I went back to the couple of people I had shared my doubts with and apologized for even thinking such a thing!
Later that afternoon a pretty exhausted bunch of writers filled the sanctuary of Guelph Bible Conference Centre, renamed for the conference, the "Irwin Room," in honour of the late Grace Irwin.
and closing remarks by Denise Rumble, managing director of The Word Guild, final "chicken jokes"were told by Heidi Vanderslikke, the funny columnist who lives on a chicken farm near Harriston and volunteers in the conference bookstore. Last book prizes were drawn for and then the moment of draw for the winner of free registration to next year's conference arrived. I relaxed into my seat, wondering who would win this year. Someone rummaged in the basket among the pile of handed in name tags, and then the winner was announced: "Belinda Burston!"
No, "I am not making this up," to use a colloquialism that is too appropriate not to use here!:)
Everyone laughed and clapped at the same time, and I shook my head in wonder at God who can make a point loud and clear when he wants to. I realized that he was speaking to me on multiple levels all at once:
"You are a writer--any more doubts?"
"You cannot out-give Me. As long as you are a channel for My blessings I will continue to pour them out through you."
"I hear you, loud and clear, Father."