Deep Fellowship at KCWC
The word sounded exotic enough that I thought it would actually work as my personal word of the year a while back. Turns out, I was right.
This lovely Greek term is found in Acts 2:42 and it means deep fellowship.
By the winter of 2015, I was desperate for it.
That was the year I ‘came out’ as a Christian. In public.
In between that initial walk down the aisle toward Jesus in 1977, and the end of 2015, life happened. Hard life.
I had said yes to a marriage that would be devastated by the multiple addictions of my spouse. I had turned my back on sacred vows so my children and I could escape. I wrote words that the world could accept and understand and affirm. I blended in seamlessly, effortlessly. One broken piece among many broken pieces. Since I no longer felt worthy of writing anything Christian, I turned to secular writing. But then, I didn’t fit there either. I didn’t fit anywhere.
Several years had gone into building my freelance journalism business. I rubbed elbows with best-selling Kentucky fiction, non-fiction and poetry writers and had become one of them. I sounded like them. I wrote like them. I gathered like them and applauded like them.
Francine Rivers says, “A Christian who writes may weave Christian principles into the story, but the work can stand when those elements are removed.” This is in contrast to the Christian writer, whose work simply oozes Jesus. My Jesus was invisible.
One day, though, I opened my mouth and out popped Jesus. The spirit has a way of doing that. It’s his job. Socially, I could no longer be silent. I could no longer be still. I could no longer be one of them.
The majority of writing is a solitary business. The public, corporate parts are used for research, interviews, networking, marketing, and learning the craft. Though infrequent, they are necessary for writers to grow and learn and feel safe.
Within a few weeks, I had lost some writing gigs and had gained some really painful memories. When I took a leap and came down on the side of Jesus, I lost my community.
I underestimated the grace of my Potter.
I had heard of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference for years. In my heart, a war of sorrows raged. I coveted the fellowship, yet knew I was too broken, too used, too far gone to write anything remotely holy.
Those KCWC people wouldn’t accept someone like me. Who did I think I was?
And just like when Jesus popped out of my mouth, another something remarkable happened. A flutter of desperate, last-chance hope.
I am convinced it was the flutter that filled out the online registration form in March 2016, paid my conference fee, and made hotel reservations.
For three months, I waited for the email that said, “We’re sorry. We really don’t have room for people like you.”
It never came. I had no choice but to follow the flutter and head to the 2016 Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in Elizabethtown in June.
There, I met other writers whose messes were covered with Grace, whose stories came alive and begged to be shared, whose hearts were as ready for deep fellowship as mine. They didn’t throw me out. Their stories weren’t exactly like mine, but they knew who my Managing Editor was and that my story was a work in progress.
An exotic word wielded by our outrageous God – the maker of all the really cool words.
Welcome home, writer. Welcome home.
–By Kristy Horine
KCWC Planning Committee