The posters and other promotional material were soon all over the church. Before I knew it, the same hip graphic and my name were also being pushed out on the church’s social media platforms.
Honestly, it was -and still is- humbling and intimidating to see the words “Key Note Speaker” next to my name. With the idea of “Ted Talks” and the experience of attending other conferences, my fear of what the attendees might expect of me was a very real thing.
So, I decided to start my talk with a disclaimer. I am no expert.
The conference was on parenting and prayer. Yes, I am a parent. Yes, I do pray, believe in the power of prayer and can testify to prayer’s efficacy. But my kids are far from grown. They have real faults and I fail them often. I don’t pray like I should, often making it my last resort instead of my first and I keep my conversations with God far too general and generic.
Even before I began, I knew my 20 minute time limit would push me. I had too many pages of notes, too many quotes I wanted to share and too many thoughts I wanted to be sure and convey. I wasn’t surprised as Pastor John slowly approached the front of the room from the spot in the back he had assumed after introducing me.
I found myself scrambling to finish my thoughts, silently praying that somehow, someway God would bring cohesiveness to my words and that what He wanted communicated was somehow accomplished.
From the moment I finished into the next week I fought Satan’s taunts. I kept striving to hold to the belief that God had answered the prayers I prayed for the event. From the time I had been asked to speak, I had prayed that He would speak through me.
I had even recruited close friends to pray for me that way too. Faithfully, several of them approached me after the event, asking “how’d it go?” Even last night with several friends inquiring, I found myself explaining how I was just trying to trust that God somehow said what He wanted said through me.
Today, God confirmed that He did answer all those prayers.
My friend and her husband had attended the conference. Immediately afterward she complimented me and I had dismissed it as polite platitudes and discounted her words. Somehow in my head, the notes I hadn’t gotten to, on top of the ways I swayed from my outline were somehow greater than the kind things she had to say.
This morning she stood in my office and renewed her gratitude for what I had shared that afternoon. I started to dismiss her kindness again, when she stopped me cold by asking me if she had already told me about her son’s conversion. Knowing and loving her little man, I told her she had not, and could not wait to hear all about it.
She shared specific words I had said and how another one of the presenters had encouraged the couple as well. That very night, after those sweet parents had prayed driving home, their son made his desire clear that he wanted to be a Christian and they guided him to accept Jesus as his own.
I felt the goose bumps rise on both my arms and legs as she spoke. God had used me. He had answered my prayers and the prayers my friends and husband had prayed for me. And now, He let me see how.
He didn’t have to do that. Yet, he did. I could’ve lived the rest of my life never knowing how He had answered my prayers – but He allowed me a glimpse into eternity to see how He did use me.
Grace upon grace.
After I finished speaking that afternoon, I attended two of the breakout sessions and took notes. Parenting and prayer are two areas of my life that I can always learn more about. I want to grow in my practices of both.
Maybe I will blog about that someday. Maybe I will share my notes here that never made it to the conference attendees that afternoon . . .
But for today, I am choosing to thank Him for the ways He answered my prayers for speaking at that conference. God gave me victory over my insecurities and short-comings. He silenced Satan’s accusations. He allowed me to see how He was indeed glorified in and through this sinner’s words and actions . . . His grace has saved me and it continues to cover me.
If His grace would do all that for me, I know He will use it to do all that for you too. How has God’s grace covered you recently?
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