3 Ways God Led Me at the Declare Conference
by Heather Bock
Last week, I had the privilege of attending Declare Conference in Grapevine, Texas, a conference for female Christian communicators. The tickets were a combined early birthday present from my husband, his parents, my mom, and ultimately God, and they were definitely a gift. Although the leaders of this conference did provide practical information, such as how to optimize social media to spread the message God has given you or practical ideas for blog success, the focus was on the heart. God used this to point out some areas in my own heart that needed changing.
Before anything, though, He started with love and identity.
He cupped my face in His powerful hands, looked into my eyes, and invited me to gaze back unashamed. He reminded me that I am His daughter, that no matter how badly I perform or how little I accomplish in a day, He still loves me. My actions might please or not please Him, but my worth and His love for me stays the same: neither is based on what I do.
Isn’t He so good to start there? That’s just who He is.
Second, surrender. It’s not nearly as hard to surrender when you’re doing it for a God who loves like He does.
It looks like I’ll be enrolled in the course of surrender the rest of my life. Just when I think I’ve passed it, I find the credits didn’t transfer, and I need to start all over again. I will say that at least retaking it is easier each time.
I’ve prayed “anything” before–after reading the game-changing book Anything by Jennie Allen, a book that moved us to Texas. It was time to pray it again. He helped me get a glimpse of my too-tightened grip.
He did this first by appointing a meeting for me with a wise woman named Kidada in the prayer room.
Originally, I was sitting in a session about podcasting. Why? Am I planning to podcast anytime soon? No, and in fact, I’ve never even listened to a podcast in my life. I was there because I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to miss anything–just in case. I only recently gave myself permission to skip the newborn articles in Parents magazine (my youngest is five). God knows this about me, and I wonder if that’s why the podcast speaker decided to announce that if we weren’t podcasters, we could probably skip the session. I was immediately let off the hook and headed where I knew I needed to be: the prayer room.
I met Kidada there when we both felt the pull to pray for each other. After I explained my prayer requests, a lot about the need to make decisions about my very full life, she counseled me by asking questions, causing me to see more clearly. She had me clarify my priorities–God first, my husband next, my kids third, and my ministry last. She helped me see that I could work on cutting back my homeschool day. She spoke into a prayer I’ve been praying: “God, is there anything you want me to give up?” by saying that I might not have to give up anything permanently, but I might have to wait for some for a while.
Later, God led me to write down everything I am doing–homeschooling, teaching, blogging, etc.–each item on a different small piece of paper. Next, He had me lay them all at the foot of the cross–literally. The thoughtful Declare leadership had set up a cross in the prayer room where we could nail our burdens. It was a place for surrender, and I had a lot to surrender. I probably used up more than my share of little papers.
Some of these areas in my life I held so tightly, it was as if my fingers ached as I opened them, and yet the ache of liberation is so good.
As the conference progressed, He didn’t release me from much, if any, but He gave me peace about not engaging in some of them as fully as I had been. He reiterated to me through many different people at the conference that I need to be patient about some of them and trust Him in HIS timing. It feels so good to lean on His understanding, not my own, in this! I should have seen this coming, as in January, when I asked Him for a word for this year, I felt He gave me this: patience. He also confirmed some of my areas with a resounding (and deeply moving) Keep On! He even encouraged me to start one new: Facebook Live (ack!). I’m still listening for further guidance in all my areas.
Third, when I arrived home, I felt strongly He was calling me to make a schedule out of all those words I placed before the cross, to put them in order so I don’t end up with essentials pushed back to midnight (as I am doing tonight), eating away at the sleep I desperately need. It felt like a battle to complete, but I finally did–you should see the colorful filling of my minutes. My prayer now is to be able to follow it; I know that will take a daily leaning on God.
Switchfoot’s new cd, Where the Light Shines Through (I think their best yet) has a song that keeps running through my head as I think of my busy life: “Life is short; I want to live it well. One life, one story to tell. Life is short; I want to live it well. And You’re the one I’m living for.”
What about you? Are you ready to pray “anything” to God? Have you surrendered your everything before Him? Do you really believe He’s trustworthy?
Let me tell you, and please believe me: He knows better, and He. Is. Worth. It.
0 thoughts on “3 Ways God Led Me at the Declare Conference”
This was so good…so good.
My favorite line…It looks like I’ll be enrolled in the course of surrender the rest of my life. Just when I think I’ve passed it, I find the credits didn’t transfer…
My favorite point…didn’t get off the hook for anything, but permission to have some latitude in some.
My favorite illustration…cards at the foot of the cross.
The conference was so good–it was obviously well prayed for. God was THERE! Thank you! As a professor, you can relate to the course illustration, I bet! I’m glad it held up to someone truly in the academic world!
I love this Heather. I need to lay down all my little papers too. So many, many ones. Glad you made it to Declare–I hear it’s a great one!
Thanks! It was so different from Blue Ridge, which is more focused on the practical. I think they’re both needed, though, in their own way. I hope you get to go to it someday!
I met Kidada on the first day too & I loved her! She is awesome…so glad God revealed Himself to you in such wonderful ways!
I was so glad to meet her!
<3 I love this. So glad for this post, friend. xx
Thanks! Will you be writing about Declare?
After write 31 days (October) is over, yes!
Love, Love, Love. Your words are so timely. I do trust Him but it is still hard to let go at times.
It sure is! It’s so important and needed, though!
LOVED this post… Thank you for sharing so beautifully!
Thank you for saying so!
What a strong and beautiful description of your experience. I love your honest, your surrender and your anything. I can’t wait to see you on Facebook Live! You can do it!!
Thanks, Anne–such kind words. I shake when I do Facebook Live, but I did one today!
“It looks like I’ll be enrolled in the course of surrender the rest of my life. Just when I think I’ve passed it, I find the credits didn’t transfer, and I need to start all over again. I will say that at least retaking it is easier each time.” …Amen. With you on this. So glad to hear more about this!
Thanks for asking about the conference and reading!
Such a wonderful description–I immediately went to check it out for next year…sigh, I think God has my writing on hiatus for a year or so, but this conference is certainly on my list for my come-back tour. Heather, it’s a thrill watching you grow in Christ, and how eagerly you take in all He has to teach you. I’m excited to see where this conference takes you from here.
Oh, it’s a beautiful conference! I hope you do get to go! Thank you for your kind words. I know God will use your beautiful writing and beautiful heart when His timing is right.
I lovedwhen you talked about God starting with love and identity. This has been so huge for me lately. He is so good!
He is good! He’s so kind to us! It shouldn’t surprise me, but I’m always shocked by it.
Heather, that conference sounds amazing. I’m so glad God blessed you to go. Thanks for sharing with us what God showed you. I think we can all lay down our little papers many times in our lives. It’s easy to get off track. I’m grateful that God is there to bring us back into alignment.
Blessings, sweet friend!
It’s a good conference–I hope you can go to that one or one like it someday. I know you’re right–it’s a process I think I’ll be doing all my life!
Your post really touched me, Heather. When you affirmed that we may need to surrender over and over–I said, “YES!” It’s a wonderful thing that our Lord is so patient with us and loves us unconditionally. Thanks for candidly sharing your struggle to “get it all done!” I’m much older than you and I’ve been facing this same dilemma for years, but you are doing much better about developing strategies to manage your stressful life. I guess the key is to “let go and let God” take care of it. Wishing you blessings, Katherine
Thank you, Katherine! I don’t know how well I’m doing with managing my life, but I hope God will continue to guide me!
Surrender…He’s had me working on this word too! A friend of mine attended Declare – sounds awesome!
People keep telling me I’ll be working on surrender my whole life. I can see how that would be true because there will always be something new to hold tight. Declare really is a good conference!
Heather, The picture of God taking our face into HIs hands and looking into our eyes make me cry happy tears.. I truly needed this today. Thank you.
I’m so glad! I needed it, too. He’s so sweet to us!
This is so good–thank you for sharing your experience at the conference and you journey. How awesome is it that God wants to start with making sure we are sure of our identity? And I think you and I are in the same course on surrender! Thanks for being real!
Thank you, Melissa! I’m realizing more and more that a lot of us are on that journey of surrender!
Thank you for this! It sounds like you had a great experience.
Yes, I certainly did!
Love this! I have found the act of surrender in my own life an ongoing one. Seasons of life tend to ebb and flow and learning to adjust is part of the battle. Sounds like you are right on track! (I’m a homeschooling mama too so I understand part of your battle!) God bless your day today!
Thank you! I need the blessing today—it’s been a slow homeschool day!!