The first time I told my story it was to a group of women from my church. I spoke for 45 minutes about infertility and how God rebuked our storm and then it was completely calm. Really, up until then I'd been pretty private about our struggle. Sharing left me feeling exposed, raw, and battered. Shamed for reliving my sin, raw for reliving the pain, blessed by reliving the victory I'd had in Christ. Not the accomplishment of motherhood, mind you, but the victory of full dependence on my Savior. I wasn't sure I'd ever speak publicly again.
And then I was asked to speak four times at a retreat in southern California. I prayed about it. I told God it was probably not the best idea. He told me He didn't care if it was my best idea, it was His idea. I wasn't the best choice. I certainly wasn't the most seasoned choice. I definitely had no idea what I was doing. But He'd chosen me. Like Gideon. Like Moses. Like Paul. Although, clearly, and thankfully, not to that scale. When He told me to tell my story I didn't even have my Matthew. He came a few weeks later and with him came a tale of total surrender, of heart wrenching pain, of trusting the Savior and not flinching. I spoke in the middle of that trial. I shared. I sweat--a lot--and I felt completely inferior. But the Lord blessed it and I did not die. I felt exposed and raw. I felt like that was maybe what He was trying to accomplish.
I wondered what He had in mind with this story. I wondered what He had in mind with this vessel.
And then I didn't speak for a year. Suddenly an opportunity dropped itself straight into my lap. No way, no how, had I gone looking for it in any way, shape or form. The chance to share how the trial had ended. The ability to explain a profound change our Lord had done in me. I agreed. Because I was crazy and thought I could put together two 45 minute sessions in two weeks. Because I knew God would do it through me. And if He chose not to, I'd still show up. Because I want to be a faithful servant. A woman rededicated her life to Christ that weekend. Regardless of what God said through me and regardless of whether it touched anyone else, it touched that woman. And that is the only thing that matters to me. I'd volunteer to fall flat on my face into a pile of wow, you're horrible over and over again if it meant people would make commitments to the Lord. But, for the record, no one said I was horrible. At least, not to my face. Of course, I felt raw. And I began to think that maybe my being exposed is as much for me as it is for them.
I'm speaking again in March.
I was asked to speak again in April.
Concerning April, I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. And prayed. And talked to my husband. And talked to my mom. And prayed. "God, I'm just a girl with a little story. Are you quite sure?" You see, I've said before that I kind of wanted to do this thing. I've said before that maybe, one day, I'd speak--one day, when I had it all figured out. Which I don't. So perhaps people want to hear from someone who only has a fraction of a clue. But I want to make absolute sure that He's in this 110%. Because if He isn't, then ten times out of ten I'll realize halfway through that my fly is down. Or I have a booger hanging out of my nostril and a chunk of food between my two front teeth. Or, most importantly, I'll be way off base with teaching the Word.
When I was asked to speak in April it came just after a conference that encouraged everyone to tell her story. God's given us all a story to tell. He's given me one where denying His existence is absolutely impossible. Not that I'd ever want to try. He's given me a story where His love was unmistakable, His provision was tangible, His will was discernible. He's given me a story that runs around my house with a curly little head, a smile that spreads from ear to ear and a temper that reminds me that all of this is very, very real.
I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. And then God gave me this.
1 Timothy 4:10-16
That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
I know that Paul is writing to Timothy in a specific time and place. I also believe in the Living Word of God and it's ability to transcend time.
So I said yes to April.Please pray for me.