|view from my bedroom window while at BRMCWC|
As many of you know if you follow me regularly–either by way of this blog or facebook–I went to the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference(BRMCWC)last week.
First I want to publicly thank Edie Melson, Alton Gansky, Eva Marie Everson, and all the behind the scenes personnel, including the volunteers at the Ridgecrest Conference Center, for all the hard work they did to make the conference such a success.
I took a speaking class. On the last day, we had the option of giving a speech. I was scared spit-less (literally), but felt if I couldn’t speak for four minutes in front of eight other people, how could I possibly speak to dozens, or even hundreds (should the Lord call me to that) for thirty minutes or more?
So I spoke. Below is my speech, which I felt led to share with you, my loyal readers, with a few modifications. I pray it blesses you as much it blessed me to write it
and then share it with my classmates.
Several years ago, my husband and I visited the Grand Canyon. I stood on the edge, staring down into the valley thousands of feet below. I was glad for the barrier that kept me safe, kept me from falling over the side.
This past Sunday (5/19/13), I had a similar feeling, except the barrier had been removed, and God asked me to step off, to trust Him. The admonition to “fear not” came to me. Then God’s words to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 entered my mind, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
What has me so scared?
This…what I’m doing right now.(I was giving a speech.)
When I traveled to conference, I had every intention of taking Ramona Richards’ class. Monday morning my roommate and I sat eating breakfast when Dan Case joined us. We got to talking and he shared a story about him doing a “Jonah” impression and running from what God had called him to do.
Nail number one.
After breakfast, I wandered to the rocking chairs and read my devotion for the morning. The devotion, by Joyce Meyer, said, “He created you for enthusiasm, zeal and passion. He put gifts in you to be used for His glory and to help other people.” I thought it was talking about my writing. How wrong I was.
Nail number two.
So I came to this class, albeit reluctantly. I also e-mailed Vonda(Skelton) and asked to be a part of her one-sheet for Christian speakers class. She responded with a request for my one-sheet. I laughed and replied that I didn’t have one and was a clean-slate for her to work with. She graciously told me to come anyway.
Nail number three.
I never knew so much went into preparing a speech. I mean there are RULES to follow. Who knew?
That evening Torry Martin spoke. Wow. I can relate because there are things in my past I’m not proud of. Well, to be honest, I’m ashamed of them. I couldn’t, and still can’t, understand why God would want me, ME, to share some of the most horrible events in my life—sexually abused as a child, promiscuous as a teen, struggling with trust as an adult.
Why me? I keep asking.
Why not you? He continues to answer.
What I took from Torry’s speech was that I have a UNIQUE mix of experiences to fulfill the call that God has placed on my life. It is God’s personal invitation for me to use the talents he gave me to work on his purpose.
Nail number four.
You’d think God would be finished. I’d said yes, what else did he want? He wanted and wants a cheerful giver. He wants me to give of my talents wholeheartedly, not with reluctance.
There were a few more instances when God reiterated his plan for me to have a speaking ministry. A word here, a prayer there. All adding nails.
The final nail in the coffin of my reluctance was when Vonda finished the class yesterday with Isaiah 43. I cried. Six months or more ago, that verse was on a prayer board at my church. I read it and felt God touching me and telling me it was there for ME. Isaiah 43:18-19 is pasted on a virtual sticky-note on my background(of my computer). Every day it reminds me: “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” The dry wasteland of my life, of my past. The wilderness of confusion and trust.
I thought it was talking about my writing. My life is a lot about writing because I love writing. I WANTED it to be talking about my writing because God had already been tugging at my heart to share my human-ness with teens and their parents, to share my struggles with homeschooling and raising more than 1.8 children with mothers, to share my issues with trust with wives.
I don’t want to share. I don’t want others to know the stains beneath my snow-white robe. I want others to see the mask I’ve worn my whole life because I don’t trust enough to take it off. The reasons behind that are too many to get into here, and my time is almost finished. At least I hope it is.
What is the point of this speech? I needed to admit to myself that I am afraid, but He gave me a verse for that too. Also on my background as a sticky note is Isaiah 41:13, “For I hold you by your right hand–I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” How awesome is that?
Another reason for this speech is for me to purposefully take a step off the precipice. One step is all he’s asking of me. One step of faith.
What is he asking of you?