Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement regarding today's speaking event. You are appreciated more than I can say!
As today approached, I was feeling somewhat less nervous than I expected, although my digestive track did get its usual workout ('nuf said about that!). And then this morning was a complete comedy of errors!
First of all, (ooooh, my vanity...) last night, I decided I really needed to wash my hair! I'm sure no one would have noticed, but I would have been focused on it, so I figured I'd get one distraction out of the way. Not too smart! My thick head of hair cannot be washed at night with any reasonable expectation of attractiveness the next day. Not what I wanted to see 1st thing in the morning!
I tried on four outfits until I settled on the one that hid most of the major flaws. Then, I decided to bring a smaller handbag. After all, I didn't need so much stuff for this event. When I transferred my wallet, I saw that I had way too much change making the small wallet fat and heavy. Taking my sister's advice to put the extra change in the car, I threw the heavy load of coins into my blazer pocket to carry to the car. When I got to the car, I noticed that the change was jingling down around the hem of the blazer! It seems that there was a small hole in the pocket - just right for coins to slip through, too small for my hand to retrieve them! With no time to deal with this, I got into the car and headed for the school.
As I pulled up, I saw a huge banner announcing that today was the Open House! So, now not only did I have to worry about speaking to the students and staff - there would also be visitors making decisions about where to send their children for high school. If I messed up, I could be adversely affecting their entire futures! (Do you also put ridiculously unreasonable and unnecessary pressures upon yourself?) Aaauugghh!
As I scurried to the auditorium for a microphone check, I fumbled around the pocket, enlarging the hole and trying to gather up jingling coins that were now circling the hem, slapping my jacket back and forth against my thighs!
To make matters worse, yesterday I had slightly sprained my left ankle and right wrist. I already have a bad right knee, and I was wearing higher heels than I'm used to. Can you picture me trying to gracefully go up and down stairs with no banister while holding my Bible and papers. All the while with huge hair and a slapping jingling jacket. Lord, have mercy!!
To further complicate things, I've had a cold for 2 days (it figures!), and my mouth has been as dry as dust. In my Tuesday night class, as I was speaking, I actually spit my cough drop right out of my mouth. So embarassing! Fortunately, I was among mature understanding women (who still went hysterical!) What if this happened in front of 400 highschoolers? So I put the cough drop in my mouth with plans to remove it when it was time to go up to speak. Good plan. Or so I thought until it came time to remove it, place it in a tissue, and now where to leave the tissue? Dangling out of my pocket? Oh yeah - that looks professional!!
And then, as I was waiting to go up to speak, Mr. Kim (the tech guy) replaced the microphone pack that Justin (the other tech guy) had given me. As I stood up to go to the podium, the mike pack fell to the floor pulling the lapel mike down with it. I clumsily picked up the snakelike contraption and held it up for Justin or Mr. Kim to come and save me. Hello??? Could use a little help here! Just a little technically challenged with this stuff! They stared (nicely) back at me, but I could read their minds - "Go ahead, lady, just clip it back on!" I somehow attached the lapel mike to my blazer, but I didn't put the pack in my pocket. I wasn't too inclinded to lift up the bottom of my shirt, and if it fell again while I was speaking, I'd be sunk. So now I carried my Bible, my papers, my tissue pack (couldn't let my nose run while speaking, now could I), and the mike pack and tried to fit them all on the tiny 1 inch ledge of the music stand I was using for a podium.
Finally, God brought me to my senses as I was waiting to speak. I thought - do I believe that God is who says who He is? That's a yes - so then do I believe that I am who He says I am? Well, I guess I believe that, too. After all, that is the very essence of the message that I was just about to share. How could I convey to these students who God says they are and hope that they will embrace it and live like as His child, His ambassador, His soldier... if I couldn't do it myself? So I asked God to be glorified and to use me as His instrument, to speak through me to reach one who needed to know how special he or she is in His eyes.
And God did not disappoint! The feedback I received both from students and faculty was so positive. I coincidentally (really?) ran into the woman who is in charge of the Ladies Tea that I am speaking at in April. Barbara was a guide for the Open House and shared with me that, during my message, one student in the family she was escorting started to feel ill. When Barbara asked the mom if they should leave, the mom said "no" - she wanted to hear the end of the message! That also served as a confirmation to Barbara that she had hired the right person!
One of my favorite reactions came from a student who told me that I kept the students attention which, she declared, is not easy to do! Other students' comments involved some statements I had made that had spilled out of my mouth which were not even in my notes. O... God is so good, is He not?
I'll keep you posted as this series progresses. The students have been developing some great ideas including terrific speakers, music, art and media to create some dynamic chapels for the weeks to come.
Thanks again for your prayers and your encouraging words!