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Taking Care of “God Appointments” with Lena Nelson Dooley

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We can plan what classes we want to take, what editors or agents we want an appointment with, even whom we want to have a paid critique with. But one thing you can’t plan are the “God appointments.”

What are they, you ask? They come in many places and with unexpected people.

If you have never met your roommate, that’s one of your God appointments. No matter how you became connected with this person, it was orchestrated by your loving Father. I’ve made some very good friends through rooming with someone I didn’t know, or didn’t know very well. Look for His hand on the time you spend together.

Some of my best God appointments have been in the hotel lobby. Are you shy? Let God show you how to reach out to other ACFW members you’d like to get to know. Laugh together, chat together, and include others in your circle.

God appointments can be with the people who sit next to you in the main sessions or in workshops. Get to know the people you’re spending time with. More possible good friends.

Some deep, spiritual God appointments happen in the prayer room. Perhaps you praying for someone else. Or someone praying for you. Connections that will last through eternity are made in the prayer room.

I know you’re more interested in God appointments with editors and agents, and there are plenty of them around. I mean in addition to those on the schedule.

You might ride the elevator with an editor who asks you, “So what do you write?” Be prepared to give a very brief synopsis for a book. You never know. That person might ask you to send a proposal.

Standing in the hall, perhaps in a line, you could meet an editor or agent. Here’s a tip. Show an interest in that person. Ask polite questions. You might become friends with an editor or agent who never handles any of your work, but that still a bonus.

MAJOR CAUTION: You’ve already heard this before, but it’s very important. Don’t intrude on an editor or agent in their private time. The conference is tiring for them, too. Give them space. I don’t really have to mention the stall, do I?

God may even give you an unexpected appointment with the keynote speaker. He’s done that for me a few times. What a blessing!

Before you leave for conference, spend time with the Lord asking Him to make you aware of any appointments He has planned for you when they happen. He’ll open your eyes to them if you let Him.


LENA NELSON DOOLEY lives in Hurst, Texas with her husband, James, and enjoys her two daughters and her grandchildren. Aside from writing, Lena has been a speaker to women’s groups and retreats, as well as writing seminars and conferences. Lena appreciates any opportunity to spread the gospel through missions work and writing. Learn more about Lena at her website:

  1. Wednesday, August 27, 2008 8:13 am

    Excellent points, Lena. The first ACFW I ever attended – I was such a greenhorn! 🙂 I was prepared to knock the socks off editors and agents alike. Ha! God had other plans. He taught me how little I really knew, and then He introduced me to a writer who became my critique partner, prayer partner, dear friend, and mentor – Virginia Smith. I’ve learned more from her than any conference could possibly teach, and have had the privilege of watching HER grow and succeed, too.

    God appointments are the VERY best!

    Great post!!!


  2. Wednesday, August 27, 2008 1:25 pm

    I recently attended an readers retreat. I’d never met my roommate although I “knew” her online. Definitely a God appointment.

    I think there’s something to be said for flying solo at conferences where you’ve never gone before. It was scary, granted, but worth it. Had I gone to this retreat with a friend, I’d have catered to that person in terms of my time and attention, missing my God appointments. By going alone, I met a host of new people and made friends with readers and authors alike.


  3. Wednesday, August 27, 2008 1:25 pm



  4. Wednesday, August 27, 2008 1:56 pm

    I’ve not been reading most of this series b/c I don’t like being reminded what I’m missing out on in my isolated corner of the world. But I wanted to chime in here with my favorite Anne Lammott quote:

    “It’s not that I believe in miracles, I depend on them.”

    In my very ordinary life I have had so many of what you call here “God appointments” that I think I quietly live by them.

    I want to second the urging not to just seek out the “big” people. The best parallel I can offer from my small life is the finding of a special (if under-read) blog where you begin to grow a special friendship that never would have have happened one a 1500-hits a day blog.


  5. Wednesday, August 27, 2008 6:30 pm

    Great advice, Lena, especially the part about praying for God to reveal these God-incidences to us! See you in MN!


  6. Friday, August 29, 2008 8:44 am

    Thank you, Lena. I look forward to hearing everyone’s “God appointments.”


  7. Tuesday, September 2, 2008 12:48 pm

    Excellent advice, Lena. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been blessed by the connections and friendships I’ve made at the conferences.


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