That is how my Pastor greeted me on Sunday morning — after Speak Up Conference. I thought it was a fitting choice of words, using a tongue-tied character to describe me. Moses!
I attended my very first women’s conference when I was 18 years old. I had been a Christian for 2 years by that time, was newly married, and my sister-in-law asked me to attend Win-Some Women in Northern Indiana.
I was blown away by God that weekend, and it was a life-changing experience. I came away thinking, THAT is how I want to talk about Jesus. THAT is how I want my life to look. I want everyone to know THAT Jesus.
I assumed everyone went home feeling THAT way. “I want to speak and tell…”
That retreat long ago was amazing, and I know many lives were changed. But now, looking back, most of those women probably did not go home with this burning desire to speak and to tell. I think most of us went home inspired, refreshed, and equipped to follow and live for Jesus, but God whispered different messages to each of us. A personal calling, a purpose, if you will. I wish I had understood that then.
I was young. I didn’t have a college education. Those women were in their 40’s — I couldn’t be like them; I couldn’t do what they do. My words often got twisted and came out funny. I panicked in front of a crowd. They were gifted. I was not.
I didn’t recognize it as a call from God; I just felt desire in my heart. Didn’t everyone else feel it too? I have felt that tug, that same desire, for a long time. That retreat was 40 years ago. 40 years! Again, my Pastor’s choice of Moses makes me smile.
How could I not recognize that stirring at Win-Some Women as a call from God? Surely the devil would not give me a desire to talk about Jesus! No, he would not, but he was giving me advice: ‘You don’t have an education, you get tongue-tied, and you panic. They are gifted. You are not.’ I allowed that voice to be loudest — God was speaking softly in my heart, but Satan was screaming in my head.
Insecurities. Comparisons. Fear.
A friend asked me to attend Speak Up with her, and since I have passionately been pursuing writing lately, I eagerly said, yes. My church graciously paid for the conference because I am teaching a Bible study this fall. I am NOT writing the study; I am teaching the study. Therefore, I felt compelled to choose the Speakers Track at Speak Up to honor the church’s investment. As I sadly checked that box on the registration form, I envied all the writers on the Writers Track. Thankfully, we were allowed to “cross over” to attend some Writers Breakout sessions even if on the Speakers Track.
Funny how God works things out…
When our first small group met, I was crazy-scared-let-me-go-throw-up nervous about my 3 minute speaking presentation. On the one hand, 3 minutes feels like a lifetime to stand and talk in front of strangers, but seriously, to say something meaningful, 3 minutes is a nanosecond. But as the weekend progressed, I received good feedback on my “speaking” presentations.
I found myself changing my schedule from Writers Breakout sessions to Speakers and devouring everything I could on that Track.
Those who know me intimately know I have been questioning my role and seeking God fiercely in recent months. I don’t know what “speaking” will look like or how my role will unfold. It may be a Bible study on Tuesday evenings with 5 ladies — and that’s okay. If I can impact the lives of 5 women with the message of Jesus and how He changes lives, then I’m walking forward and not turning back.
The devil is NOT going to win! I heard the call loud and clear this time. 40 years…
No more desert for me!
No Insecurities. No Comparisons. No Fear.
Driving home from Speak Up on Saturday evening, I thanked God for this “retreat” and I asked Him for confirmation. “Please give me a sign if my heart is speaking truth to me”. I love confirmations, don’t you? God can be very creative when we ask for a sign. For instance…
After sharing just a bit of why I was “radiant like Moses”, my Pastor then said, “Connie, would you be willing to go up front today and share with the congregation what God is doing in your life”?
Up front? Ummm…
I think He has a sense of humor too.
How about you? Are you called to teach? to write? to speak? When did you first feel that stirring in your heart? Did God whisper in your heart? Or did He announce it loud and clear? I would LOVE to hear your story…
“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” Hebrews 10:35
The photo below is not from my first retreat, but look what I found 🙂
Yes! That is our Carol Kent. How fun is that!