by Emily Conrad
Reading my Bible this morning, Psalm 118 drew my attention. It wasn’t even the Psalm I was there to read, but verse after verse jumped out at me. I want to claim them, live them, share them.
And that–sharing–brings me to the point of today’s post.
When I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in 2016, I traveled with a stack of note cards. One morning, I sat in the hotel coffee shop and copied out a verse or two or three onto each note card. I stuffed them in their envelopes and then I took a step of faith: I nervously handed them out randomly to people I crossed paths with because I felt like God was saying he would use the action to encourage other attendees.
Though excited at the thought of being used to bolster other writers in what I know can be an overwhelming experience, I wasn’t sure if this was my idea or God’s. I wondered if I’d copied down “good” verses. You know, the one God would use to shoot the receiver up out of a pit of discouragement. Would God match each verse to someone who would specifically need or want it?
Who am I to encourage a stranger? I guess the point is that they aren’t my words, they’re God’s, and no one is a stranger to him. He’s been faithful to handpick who gets which verse. As one recipient assured me, “They’re all ‘good’; they’re Scripture.”
It’s addictive, how awesome it is to see God smile on a step of faith. How awesome it is to see someone look up from a randomly chosen card and say, “This is why this fits me and my situation.” That is God’s doing, not mine. This is about him and not me.
I’ve been to the conference a couple of times now. I’ve been the one with tears pressing my eyes and sadness a pressure in my lungs as I sat in the back of a class and hoped to hear an encouraging word. I’ve also been the one so giddy she couldn’t contain a smile, and so relieved to be surrounded by writing friends who understand the journey that stories and experience just slipped from my normally quiet mouth. In both cases, I’ve longed for a quiet time to experience relationship with Jesus during the noise and hustle and pressure of a conference.
I’ve also longed for the same in my everyday life.
I won’t be attending the ACFW conference this year, but I would still like to encourage those who are. In fact, whether you’re a writer or not, whether you’re going to the conference or not, whether I know you or not, I would love for you to give me this opportunity to step out in faith, to jot down a verse, and to mail it to you. After all, there’s something about snail mail. You can hold it in your hands, pin it on a board, use it as a bookmark.
So, whether you’re attending the conference or not, whether you’re a writer or not, would you let me send you a Bible verse?
I’ll copy one down and mail it to the first fifty people who email me at their address. You can read the card when it arrives or save it for one of those desperate times. Either way, my prayer is that God would use the cards to meet people. To tell them they’re seen and loved and that they and all their concerns are in perfectly capable, trustworthy, loving hands.
If I do get fifty responses and can’t send any more cards, I’ll try to update this post as soon as possible. Otherwise, even if you come across this months down the line, go ahead and email, and I’ll send a card. Joyfully and gratefully.
So, without further ado, my email is emilyconrad @ sbcglobal . net. (Yes, you’ll have to remove the spaces from that, and no, I will not use your address or email to automatically sign you up for any ongoing mailing list.) Your email doesn’t need to be anything fancy or personalized. A subject line of “Please send a verse” and your mailing address in the body of the the email will suffice.
If you have friends who might like one, too, share this link with them so they can get in touch!
Whether or not you take me up on this offer, I hope my experience with God in handing out these cards will encourage you to step out, to try that thing you think Jesus might be calling you to, and to watch and see what he does.