Saturday, September 21, 2013

It’s Not Us…It’s Him

I was humbled this week. As a speaker with Set Free in Him Ministries, my two friends and I were invited to speak at a country church. After we were introduced, I spoke first. I was to share my “reluctant” heart to get involved in prison ministry. Then Nanette Friend would share her “repentant” heart and what led to her involvement in prison ministry. Finally, Connie Johnston, an assistant chaplain at our local jail, would share her “restored” heart over the decisions made by a wayward child that led to her involvement in prison ministry, too.

Prior to advancing to the podium, I glanced over my shoulder. Hmmm, a few dozen older ladies and a few middle-aged women. Yeah, I got this. I was instantly put at ease.
But something happened when I arrived at the podium and glanced out at the crowd. I’m not sure exactly what changed, but my confidence not only left me, my speech did, as well. Even with my notes before me, they looked like Greek, and I definitely don’t know how to read Greek.

 It was evening and I am a morning person. I knew I should have had a short nap or a little caffeine (or both) to stay on my toes, but… I’ve shared this message before. I’ve lived this message, for crying out loud –it’s about me and my past. This should be easy.
So, why couldn’t I recognize the relaxed facial expressions of the audience as possibly being tired (like I was)? Why couldn’t I simply tell myself that they were unwinding from a long day, or maybe trying to focus on my message?

Instead, the enemy whispered loud and clear, “They’re mad at you.”
It sounds ridiculous to type those words now, but at the time, believe me, they were convincing.

They don’t like what you have to say.”
“They don’t believe you.”

“You are boring them.”
It went on and on, one after the other. And there were lots of interruptions that night, too. Somehow, parents of a Boy Scout troop thought this church was where their meeting was being held.

It was only a twenty minute talk, but it felt like two hours. I said several emergency prayers throughout and I know my two friends were praying for me, too. God was faithful; He helped me get through it and to even make sense. It’s been a long time, however, since I have struggled so much to get a message of hope in Christ relayed.

The Holy Spirit showed up that night, in spite of my blunders and in spite of the enemy's attempts to thwart me off course. After we three shared our testimonies of how amazing our God is, we were privileged to pray with many a hurting grandma who approached us at the altar, offering them hope, and reminding them that God loves their children and grandchildren more than they do.
Once again God showed me that when we are weak, He is strong. He still uses us in spite of our fears, and in spite of our over confidence in ourselves, too. You can be sure I will not make that same mistake of thinking, “Yeah, I got this,” again. Instead it will be, “Father, You got this. I am simply Your willing servant. Use me for Your glory.”

For it is God who gives the increase: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”  (1 Cor. 3:7)

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