One of the best lessons I learned during the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference I attended last month occurred the night before I left for Dallas.
And it had nothing to do with writing.
Not specifically, though it certainly applies to writing and life in general. To a life hidden in Christ.
During the rush of bedtime/wrestle-mania/brush teeth-a-thon, I split open the boys’ Streams in the Desert for Kids devotional we’d started a few weeks back.
My eyes roved over the day’s devotion, but my mind was on other things.
Namely, the huge mass of clothing laying across our guest bed, the pile of shoes on the carpet, and the enormous open suitcase in which it all needed to fit.
My mind was on clothes.
I’m embarrassed to admit–though it’s true–the most stressful part of the writing conference was figuring out clothes. What would I wear each day, especially for the big fancy Gala/Award Ceremony Saturday night?
After all–let’s be honest. When a bunch of women get together (with a few brave men thrown in), we dress to impress. Each other. We want our hair done, makeup perfect, and a sharp outfit on.
I’m a capri and t-shirt–or in Florida winter, a jeans and t-shirt–kind of girl. I don’t do fancy. Maybe dressy is the more appropriate word. If you see me on a regular basis, you know that.
A friend called my style sporty casual, and I’m good with that.
Not that I don’t enjoy getting dressed up every now and then. (By every now and then I mean, oh, twice a year or so. Easter and Christmas parties work nicely, maybe a fancy date night thrown in for good measure.)
For the ACFW conference I had to plan out three days’ worth of outfits…you do the math.
8x8x4(5-2) + 16= stylish.
Wait. That’s not right.
I needed at least six tops, five pairs of pants (and a skirt, for good measure), and a couple of dresses.
Oh, and 14 pairs of shoes. I’m kidding.
Of course, I’m kidding.
I mean 12 pairs shoes.
My sister–and fashion consultant–was bone weary from my constant texts during the three weeks leading up to the conference.
“Does this look okay?”
“Are these shoes dressy enough?”
“How about this dress for the Gala? Why not!?”
Back to my point here. I read the boys’ devotional that hectic evening, the eve of the biggest venture in my writing career.
And God used my sons’ devotional to grab my shoulders and gently grasp my chin, pulling my gaze heavenward, away from the ridiculous mass of clothing to His fixed place on the throne of Heaven.
The daily devotional just happened to focus on Matthew 6:25-32.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? (v. 25)…So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (v. 28).
That evening, short hours before I flew off on a jet plane with a jam-packed suitcase full of fancy new clothes, I regained a peace that passes all understanding.
Not because of something I did, but because of Who God is and the grace and peace He gives us when we keep our eyes on Him. Knowing He would work out all things for good during those exciting three days–including the very clothes I’d put on.
Because of Jesus, we’re clothed in grace.
Daily. Moment by moment.
“Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matt. 6:30)