God puts us in situations to prove we need ONLY Him. I shared this meme on Facebook last Friday. It intrigued me. Worth pondering, for sure.
I try to live my life – no matter what – through a lens of “What are you teaching me through this, God?”
When great times come our way it’s easy. Right? But in hard times, there’s a bit more desperation in my question: “God, what in the WORLD are you teaching me through THIS?”
I mean no disrespect at all, but is that not true?
I really do believe everything that comes my way comes, first, through the hands of God. Nothing surprises Him, and I’m capable of facing whatever He sends. Not on my own, but with Him! However, there are those days when exasperation shows in our response to trials – right?
Saturday was one of those days for me!
I was scheduled to speak at a Christmas Brunch at the church I served as Office Administrator for nearly a decade. We’ve been gone from that community for a while, and there are more unfamiliar faces in that congregation than years ago, but it still feels like home, thankfully.
I worked hard and prayed hard in preparation for this gig, asking God to give me the words He wanted me to share with these ladies about how to be a reflection of God.
Actually, I was secretly wishing I could be seated in the audience to gain inspiration and encouragement. I so needed it in this crazy, hectic season of my life. Yet I was the one tasked with giving, not receiving.
Whew! Heavy load!
And I’ll admit it. I was a little nervous.
Saturday morning. The alarm sounded. I showered, then attempted to get my much-too-thin hair and my far-from-thin body to look presentable. The mirror said “Try again!”
Oh, how I wish I’d tried on this outfit earlier.
I changed to a different jacket. One more glance in the mirror and I discovered the slacks didn’t go well with my shoes. Another change.
And, these socks – oh my! They’ve got to go!
My ensemble finally passed my inspection and I headed out, wishing I had a personal attendant on mornings like this. The plan was I’d arrive about 45 minutes earlier than I needed to be there – it’s my mantra.
Always arrive with time to spare!
The day was brisk. A bit sunny, with the ever-present Kansas winter wind. The distraction of the fun-loving co-hosts on my favorite radio station was too much for me, so I opted for an instrumental CD and focused on what was ahead, praying as I drove.
God, give me the words YOU want me to say. Calm my nerves. Give me poise. Help me to reflect YOU today. Amen.
It seemed a perfect prayer for the theme of this event: “Reflecting God This Christmas.”
Let me tell you, my love affair with words is one of the written word, rather than the spoken word. Having ‘speaker’ listed on my business card is a stretch, but it’s a role authors find necessary in today’s publishing world. We are often more comfortable communicating in writing than being in the spotlight.
I’ve been in leadership positions requiring me being up front to speak to groups occasionally however I prefer my words to flow through my fingertips onto the computer screen where they can be edited, rather than spewing from my lips with no second chance to get them just right. I’m learning and being stretched.
Still driving. Still praying. I was half-way to the church when I realized my presentation – tucked neatly inside a gray folder – was at home, next to my computer, where I’d reprinted it the night before after the final edit. For a split second, at 65 mph, I wondered if I could just wing it.
OMGoodness, no way! I MUST have my three-page script.
Now, mind you, I don’t just read from a script, but knowing my words are THERE in black and white makes for a better presentation (as well as a less-stressed presenter). So, I turned my car around, retraced about 18 miles, grabbed my 3-page script, jumped back in the car, and headed out – thankful for my cushion of time. When I arrived at the church, there were a few things to add to my display, handouts to assemble, and instructions to be given to helpers, before I could catch my breath.
Now, where is that folder?
Despite the efforts of my daughter, granddaughter, and several other event hostesses, it was not to be found. We searched the church and my car. Multiple times. Nothing.
OMGoodness! Again? This can’t be happening.
“Mom, jot down a quick outline,” my daughter said. “You can do it. I know you can.”
I certainly didn’t share her confidence at that moment, but I grabbed a piece of paper and feverishly wrote a few things down. God had opened this door so I’d just walk through it – with or without notes.
God, help me!
It was time. I was introduced, and walked up to the podium with a little scrap of paper in my hands to face a sea of beautiful ladies, each hoping to leave with a nugget of inspiration about how to reflect God.
In defiance of a major rule for public speakers, I began – jokingly – by calling attention to my short-comings. I asked everyone to look for a missing gray folder and bring it to the front if they found it. Then I showed the hastily-scribbled 3×5 note, telling them it was all I had to say since the folder was missing.
Another speaking tip is to start with a funny story. Well, it worked. The audience was laughing! And, seeing a very vulnerable me!
Perhaps by relying on a script, I was limiting God. True, He gave me the words as I prepared and edited, but then He put me in a situation in which I realized that He, alone, is all I need. He’d give me the words again; words to speak directly. And, He did. I told the audience that God continues to open doors and I just try to be obedient and walk through them; sometimes with fear and trepidation; sometimes feeling like He’s stretching me beyond my abilities, but always trusting Him.
Saturday was a prime example.
May I always be thankful to be used by God, and to strive to be a reflection of Him – every day.
By the way…
When the event ended and I got into my car, my eyes were immediately drawn to a gray folder right in front of me on the dash!
OMGoodness! That’s not funny, God! Not funny at all! LOL!
Actually, it WAS funny – but not quite yet! Later, my ornery husband asked, “Are you looking to see what you forgot?” as I read my script.
That was exactly what I was doing. Amazingly, there wasn’t much I left out!
Wow, God! You are so good! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Stay tuned to read my complete script of “Reflecting God This Christmas” which will be posted here in a few days.