No matter how many blog posts I write, how many groups I’m part of online, or how many conferences I attend, I’m always nervous when I first walk into the lobby of the conference hotel. Because I work by myself in this online, social media, blogging space and type out the words God gives me in the left over hours of my day, I just never know what will happen – or if anyone will be as excited to see me as I am to see them.
I spend nearly every conference introducing myself to people because I will never – no matter how long I do this – ever assume that anyone knows who I am. It’s so noisy and there are so many writers who are doing so many amazing things. There are women who are there with published books and speaking at every event and I’m just not part of that space (yet? Lord, willing. His timing & my obedience).
But last year when I attended Allume I was the most nervous I’d ever been. I was in a strange mental place that weekend – with meetings scheduled to talk to publishers (that ended up all in “no’s”), meetings to record video, being part of a panel that I didn’t really feel like I had anything significant to say on..oh and two interviews for the job I now have. If ever I needed a friend, that weekend was it.
And there – in the middle of a crowded lobby full of amazing women who intimidate the socks right off me, was that friend. Kristen Strong is one of the most welcoming, encouraging, loving women I’ve ever met. I don’t know that she even knows what she did for my heart that first day of the conference with her gorgeous smile and huge hug. I don’t even know that we spent all that much time together other than those first few minutes, but they made all the difference. Kristen makes you believe that you have someone on your side, in your corner, cheering for you and excited to see you.
When I think of all the women I know online who are gifted at encouragement, Kristen is at the top of the list. She is an amazing writer – completely gifted with words that uplift and make you feel like you have a sweet friend sitting down with you for coffee across the internet. Kristen has a heart for military wives that shines so brightly (and seriously the most adorable family on the planet), and she is generous with her time and her affirmations. When I talk to Kristen, even though we don’t know all of each others stories, I feel like she would actually want to know if I offered to share – and that’s rare to find.
A beautiful mama, an amazing sister in Christ, a world-class encourager, Kristen makes everyone feel at home and invited. I’ve learned from her that a smile and a kind word can do more than just change someone’s day – it can give them the encouragement they need to be brave when they feel scared, to do the hard things when they feel insecure, and to keep showing up to this online space knowing that – even if no one ever reads the words – doing what God has called us to do is the most important thing.
Would you join me today in encouraging & praying for Kristen, as her family goes through a tough time with her daddy’s health and as she works on an amazing book that I just can’t wait to read?
Connect with Kristen