Once upon a time there was a sweet little girl who loved to talk. She was also the oldest of four children and took this responsibility very seriously. It was up to her to protect her 3 little brothers, wasn't it? They needed to do what she told them. But more often than not, they did not need (or want) her protection. And they definitely didn't do what she said! She was sort of a bossy little girl and maybe not so sweet after all! So she grew up wishing she was an only child (true story!).
The little girl grew up in the 70s and 80s facing many of the same challenges every kid has to face. Obey your parents. Do your homework. Make friends. She didn't have any problems making friends. She was an agreeable, easy-going girl. But ask her to speak in front of her classmates and she froze up with fear. A million humiliating scenarios would run through her mind: tripping in front of the class, forgetting what to say, the kids laughing at me. And most importantly "How do I look?"
Needless to say, over the years the little girl had to speak in front of a group of classmates. And it never got easier. So life went on and the little girl grew up. She would marry, have children — and divorce. At one point during her life, she joined a direct sales company where she HAD to speak in front of people. So she would talk about the product: jewelry (what woman can't talk about jewelry?!). And she would tell her story. How she was raising two children as a single mom and earning extra income selling jewelry. She would also share her faith. This particular company was founded on biblical principles, so it was okay, right?!
Well, as you might have guessed, the little girl is me. As I grew my Premier Designs jewelry business, I began feeling more and more comfortable speaking in front of women. I began to hear God's calling in my life to continue to share my story — and my faith.
I did not always walk with the Lord over those years. My relationship with him was almost non-existent during different times in my life. Oh, I always "believed" and prayed — especially when I needed something or after making another bad decision. But I always felt like I wasn't "good" enough for God. How could he love me? I was a mess! So when I would "mess up" - I vowed to "be better."
Well, good news! God doesn't expect us to be perfect! (whew!) He forgives us when we mess up. He loves us in spite of our mistakes. That's why he sent Jesus to die in our place, for sins he knew we would make. But God does expect us to trust him - and obey.
I am trusting God today. That he will continue to work in my life and lead me to share his word. This website and blog are part of that plan. I still need to do my part. It's been a couple of months since my last posting. Unacceptable! hehe Seriously though, I strive to obey and struggle with trust. Life gets busy. My to-do list gets longer. Things need to go my way! But like Paul, I am "...forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me..." (Philippians 3:13-15)
God has opened a door for me recently but I need your help to walk through it. There is an annual conference specifically designed for women like me, www.shespeaksconference.com. Women who feel called to share their story and God's word. I am hoping to attend this summer and am launching a fundraiser. Will you prayerfully consider sponsoring me? If you feel compelled to support this effort, please click here to email me and I will send you the information. OR click on the document below - it has all the details!
I would love your prayers and financial support. Even if it's just $10! It's a tax-deductible donation to help me pay for the weekend conference. I am trusting that the Lord will provide!
Thank you in advance :)
P.S. Here's a picture of me and my three brothers. I'm glad I'm not an only child after all!
_The conversation with myself went something like this:
"Should I go back in and ask her?" I wondered.
"Nah, she will be offended and I'm certain she wouldn't need it." I reasoned.
"No, she might. You never know. I'm just going to do it."
I had stopped at Pizza Hut to pick up dinner and noticed a young woman bouncing her baby. She was standing beside a booth with two other children. As I walked back to the car with my pizza, I remembered my son's bouncy seat in the car. I had planned to give it to a friend along with a box of Austin's outgrown baby clothes. But when I saw this young woman, a thought popped in my head: I wonder if she needs a bouncy seat?
And so began my internally struggle. Like a tennis match, my thoughts went back and forth. Should I?
Or shouldn't I?
Over the years, I have learned to recognize God's voice. He often speaks to me through my random thoughts. Those times when I think about an old friend and consider calling or writing. I believe that is God's voice. He also speaks to us through his word: the Bible. I can read a particular scripture and think, "Wow, God is totally telling me to _______ (fill in the blank)."
My challenge is the ACTION part of listening – doing it!
It's never easy to step out of our comfort zone and make the first move. Whether calling an old friend to say hello, volunteering to help an elderly neighbor or... approaching a total stranger.
So, we may say a little prayer – or promise to help out next time. What keeps us from actually doing something - now?
Fear of rejection? The young woman will think I'm nuts.
Taking the time? I needed to get home with dinner.
Laziness? It was raining and I was already in my car.
We can come up with any number of excuses.
So with much trepidation on that rainy, Friday night I LISTENED. And made myself go back into the restaurant and approach this young mother.
"I know this is going to sound crazy but I am trying to listen to God. I think he's telling me to talk to you. I have an 8 mo. old who has outgrown his bouncy seat. It's in my car. Do you happen to need one?"
With tears in her eyes, she replied, "Yes, that was God. The only thing we need for the baby is a bouncy seat. But we're on a budget and haven't been able to get one."
My eyes began to fill and I was left speechless. Oh, the power of God. And how he works when we listen - and obey.
I recently shared this story with my Sunday School class and came up with an acronym for LOVE: Listen. Obey. Value. Everyone.
Let God use you to be a blessing to someone!
DO IT :)