I met with a group of women from my new church here in Texas this past weekend. This was a group that had come together to pray for me as I prepared and as I went to go speak for Scottsdale Bible Church’s Womens retreat. This, being only the second time I’ve ever spoken, was a bit nerve wracking and to say I was intimidated was an understatement.
So this group had committed to praying for and over me and wanted to get together afterward to hear how it went. The retreat was over a month ago now but trying to get the schedules together for so many women was a bit of a challenge, so it’s taken this long to get us all in the same room again.
We met in a room in the church and the woman who organized it brought snacks and little print outs of her favorite quotes from my talks. I felt so loved! One woman asked me what my biggest takeaway from the retreat was.
And it was easy to answer.
Three nights before we left for the retreat I was sharing with Matt that I was getting really nervous. The kids had been sick and trying to tend to their needs AND find time to write my content felt like a non-stop rat race. But finally, three days before we left, there was a bit of a calm.
I voiced my concerns, “What if they don’t like me? “What if they see how much of an amateur I am?” “What if they can’t relate?” “What if these truths that have meant SO much to me don’t connect with them in the same way?”
I shared with him that I didn’t want to be concerned with whether or not people liked me or to be fearful of failing…but all of those feelings were there, and they were real.
At the end of the conversation I told him that most of all I didn’t want people to be talking about me at all…whether for good reasons or bad. Deep down my biggest prayer was that people would walk away talking about Jesus. I didn’t even want them to remember my name. I simply wanted to give them Him and remove me from the equation altogether.
But how do you do that?
Sometimes I will attend a wedding and they will talk SO much about wanting God to be glorified and sometimes it can be said SO much that I find myself thinking, “Just do it then! Just glorify Him. Don’t keep talking about it, just do it.”
And that’s what I wanted for this retreat. I wanted to give God glory without ever having to say it. I wanted people to hear from Him, to see Him just a bit more clearly, to know Him just a bit more from having heard my words.
That night Matt prayed for me. He couldn’t take away my nerves or my fears, but He could pray. And one of the things he prayed for is that I would see “this opportunity as a gift.”
To be honest it completely caught me off guard.
All of my feelings about the retreat had been led by the word “fear.” To see this opportunity as a gift, as a present from God Himself, spun me 180 degrees.
That strange prayer didn’t remove all of my fears, I was still nervous and still visibly trembling, but my mindset did a massive shift. I began to think of what a privilege it is to stand before a group of women and GET to share about the true source of life, truth, joy, and peace.
What an amazing opportunity it is to show up in all of my weakness, in all of my shortcomings, and offer a group of women the Fount of Living Water.
The excitement began to grow. The joy did too. And that is exactly what the weekend turned out to be. An absolute gift.
During the middle of my third talk I paused for just a moment and looked around the room. In a split second I felt something I can only describe as “elation.” There was nowhere else I would have rather been than in that moment, sharing about Jesus, in front of those women.
Since returning home I have shared with Matt…that last month may have been the only time I am ever asked to speak, and maybe I’ll never again be given the opportunity again…but if, IF I am ever asked I don’t ever want to say no.
My biggest takeaway is that I will no longer lead with fear. I will no longer allow my weaknesses and my hesitations and my shortcomings to be the reason I would shy away.
I will now lead instead with the deeply rooted and passionate belief that to stand before others and give out Jesus is an absolute gift that results in elation.
I want to share with you all the recordings from that retreat. I have debated whether or not to put them on here ever since I’ve gotten back from that trip, but I’ve landed with the thought that if these words would or could encourage just one more heart it is worth it.
I pray you see Jesus as you listen…
Friday Night: an overview of the weekend and my personal testimony
Saturday Morning: Talking through the invitation to abide in Jesus in all things, to lament and to draw near to the Lord in the midst of pain, suffering or life just not going as we’ve planned.
Saturday Evening: Our story matters. What we are going through matters…but our story isn’t the biggest story. Our lives are not meant to make much of ourselves. Our lives are meant to adorn, or make much of, His story.
If you have a chance to listen I would love to hear if something resonated with you or what meant the most to you. If hearing makes you think of some else that might be encouraged please don’t hesitate to share with them.
God does what He does and to get to play a tiny role in His great work absolutely is the best gift. I pray are are blessed too.
Tag me in a post or a story, leave a comment below or email me privately. I’d love to hear from you!
To Him be the glory,
P.S. If you enjoyed these and would like to hear the recording from my very first time speaking you can listen here: