That is how my Pastor greeted me on Sunday morning. 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 41 years ago when I was 18 years old. I was newly married and had been a believer for two years. 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 to know THAT Jesus. I want EVERYONE to know THAT Jesus.”
I assumed all the ladies went home feeling THAT way.. “I want to speak and tell…”
That long ago weekend was amazing, and I know many lives were changed over the course of three days, but now, looking back, most of those women probably did not go home with this burning desire to speak and to tell. Yes, I think most of us went home inspired, refreshed, and better equipped to follow and live for Jesus, but…
God whispered different messages to each of us.
A personal calling and a personal purpose, unique to each of us.
I wish I had understood that then.
I didn’t recognize it as a call from God.
I just knew I felt desire in my heart. Didn’t everyone else feel it too?
Again, my Pastor’s choice of Moses makes me smile — and cringe at the same time.
I am young. I don’t have a college education. Many of these women are in their 40s, and I can’t be like them; I can’t do what they do. My words get twisted and come out funny. I panic in front of a crowd! They are gifted. I am not.
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.’
God was speaking softly in my heart, but Satan was screaming in my head. I allowed that voice to be loudest, and to persist for many Moses-like years.
Insecurities. Comparisons. Fear.
A friend recently asked me to attend a Christian writing and speaking conference, Speak Up, with her. And because I have passionately been pursuing writing lately, I eagerly said yes. To give you a little background: Before this conference begins, attendees are asked to choose either a writing or speaking track while at the conference. This is an interactive few days, and we, as attendees, prepare and present either mini speeches or samples of our writing according to whichever track we selected.
I was so excited to learn more about writing…
However, my church graciously paid for the conference because I am teaching (speaking?) a Bible study this fall. I am NOT writing the study. Therefore, I felt compelled to choose the Speakers Track at Speak Up to honor the church’s investment. As I checked that box on the registration form, I envied all the writers on the Writers Track.
When our first small group met for our speeches to be critiqued, I was crazy-scared-let-me-go-throw-up nervous about my three minute speaking presentation. On the one hand, three minutes feels like a lifetime to stand up and talk in front of strangers. On the other hand, to say something impactful and meaningful, three minutes is like a nanosecond. But as the weekend progressed, I received wonderful and encouraging feedback on my mini devotionals.
Those who know me intimately know I have been questioning my role and seeking God fiercely in recent months. And this is what I have learned about my God: He is faithful. He pursues us. He calls us by name for his purpose. He is relentless.
And once again, I felt “THAT way”… I want to speak and tell…
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 five ladies. And if I can impact the lives of five 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. No more desert for me!
No Insecurities. No Comparisons. No Fear.
Driving home from Speak Up on that Saturday evening, I thanked God for this new “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? And God can be very creative when we ask for a sign. After sharing just a bit of why I was “radiant like Moses,” my Pastor said, “Connie, would you be willing to go up front today and share with the congregation what God is doing in your life?”
Speak? Up front? Ummm…
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 from below (and the one above) is not from my first retreat, but look what I found in my bookshelf — a Winsome Women program brochure! And yes, Carol Kent, the founder of the Speak Up Conference, was the speaker. This woman has been a wonderful influence in my life for 40 years!