Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Debut Talk or With God As My Partner, Why Would I Fail?

Last night was yet another testimony to God’s amazing provision.

I had been asked to speak at a local writer’s group, Words for the Journey Christian Writing Guild. This would be a step up in my writing journey. Now, first of all, I never saw myself as a “speaker”, I’m a “facilitator.” I run groups like Bible studies, critique groups, workshops. But speak? All by myself? Whatever would I have to say?

Now, understand, getting up in front of people is not the issue. I’m the last-born, I crave attention. My problem stems from being able to concentrate, and say the things I should at the appropriate moments. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD, but I’ve always felt I had it to some extent. My son battles with it and I see many of my symptoms in him. Please read this paragraph again, because it’s the last time I’m going to use that excuse.

This how good God is. A month and a half ago, I was still sweating the prospect of speaking and being able to concentrate. I attended Words For The Journey to hear a fellow ACFW author, and it was flawless. All tied up in a neat little package. I was impressed and made mental notes on how I might be able to put something together like that. Afterward I spoke to her about my fears of ADD and however was I supposed to keep it all together! I found out that she also has had the same fears, even though she was never diagnosed. She said she stopped claiming ADD over herself, and it freed her to be the speaker that God had called her to be. Wow! As she continued to reassure me, I saw ourselves on horizontal paths.

As my time to speak drew near, I asked a choice few people to pray for me. As those prayers were lifted up, my fear began to diminish and I felt myself getting excited at what God was leading me into.  

I didn’t know what to speak on. It was suggested I talk about writing for Heartsong Presents, but I’ve only written one book for them and am still learning the ins and outs. Plus, when/if I decide to talk on that, I’d like to have a book to offer at the same time. Mine comes out in October. So, I prayed.

Now, when I say I prayed, I don’t mean the on my knees, pouring through the scriptures, fasting kind of prayer. Ever since God made Himself my writing partner, it’s like sitting and talking to a friend over tea.

Picture me at my computer, lounging in my big chair, tapping my lip and saying, “Well God, any ideas?”

“Why not start your speaking career the same way you did your writing career?”

I sat up straight, intrigued. “What do you mean?”

“Your writing career started with that article you wrote for the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference back in 2002, right?”

“Right.” My heartbeat quickened. I began to catch up with the Almighty in His thinking.

“Why not turn that article into your topic? It was about writing with My voice. I gave that to you, and allowed it to win first place so you would have a definite starting place to launch your writing career.”

I nodded my head. “So, You think I should speak on writing with Your voice, pulling from that article.”

“I KNOW this is what you should do.”

Power rumbled from his still, small voice, and I immediately brought up that article on my computer.

The following is more testimony to God’s gentleness with me, and His never-failing grace.

I began an outline on writing with God’s voice. I kept it on my computer for a month while I worked on other things. As God would give me more ideas, I would plop them into that document before I forgot them. So, I had a working outline two months before I was to speak. Plenty of time! Or so I thought.

I had been booked for the end of July to speak. But when the June speaker had to rearrange her schedule, I was asked if I could bump mine up a month. I didn’t even panic, because God was in charge and He’d already taken my procrastinating little self and got me started.

Over the remaining three weeks, God continued to refine my outline, giving me little nuggets here and there. A week before, He gave me something so off-the-wall, I felt it a privilege that He’d called on me to carry out it out. Don't think God has a sense of humor? Ask Him why he wanted me to present "The Hokey Pokey" in four different voice styles! (Caution, marketing attempt coming up: If anyone is curious about that, book my talk on "Writing With God's Voice.")

Then--and I know this is God--the day of the talk, (I was speaking at 7:00 that night) I had everything done. So I could chill, relax, color my hair . . . I wasn't rushed at all. Wow! Talk about a God thing! My friend asked if I was nervous or excited, and I told her I was "in the zone." I felt the prayers, and I was neither nervous nor excited. I simply felt like the clay pitcher that God would use to pour his Living Water onto those He brought to the meeting. The talk itself was well received and, surprisingly, well attended. Of course, I had a handful of my peeps there from my local group, but the others didn't know me. So, yes, it all was totally God.
I pray that as each of you come up against something that seems overwhelming, or terrifying, or simply out of your comfort zone, that you'll: 1) seek God's will first on the matter 2) ask for prayer 3) relax and know that God is in control and He won't let you drown as you step out of that boat in faith.

Our God is an Awesome God. He reigns from heaven above . . . yet He lives in our hearts. He cares about us, and wants to be a partner in whatever we’re doing.