Rarely do I like to talk in front of people. Five or six people, maybe, and that’s only if I feel comfortable around them.
Working at The Journal-News, I am required to speak to people, especially on assignments, so when I had to give a speech on Saturday, May 8, I freaked a little.
So let me back up a bit. During the month of April, and a few days in early May, I had the opportunity to plan a Mother’s Day brunch for all the mothers, daughters and grandmothers at Calvary Baptist Church in Hillsboro.
To be honest, I had never planned an event in my life. A few of us started to plan the annual event last year, when everything was cancelled; but this year, I wanted our mothers to be honored for their hard work and dedication to their families.
In order to plan the event this year, I recruited one of our newer members, Alana Baker. She was ecstatic to help and gave me advice every step of the way to make sure that everything would go as planned.
During the course of planning, she reminded me that I was going to have to give a speech. This is when I essentially freaked. I was nervous and, like I said, I don’t give speeches; however, Alana assured me that I could do it.
I am grateful that God was with us every step of the way. I was so excited that every detail fell into place, right down to the decorating. In fact, everyone who I asked to be there was in attendance (thank you Mary, Susie, Charley, Aarianna and Gabi), and everything matched (thank you, God), including the things we did not have to purchase, like the flower arrangements and serving trays.
The morning of the brunch, I prayed and even sang (thank God no one heard me), while walking around the church’s prayer room. I kept singing a song from the movie, A Perfect Chord. The chorus of the song always speaks to me, and it especially did that morning: “I won’t hold back, I won’t back down, I will stand firm and hold my ground, I lift my voice, raise my hands, I’m giving everything I am.” The song, although different, gave me the confidence I needed for the day. Afterward, I asked Him to let everything go well, including my speech.
Later, as people arrived and were seated, Alana’s daughter came up and said it was time to start. So, I grabbed the microphone and just stared at it. I kept thinking to myself, “Say something! You have to say something!” I kept looking around the room, waiting for someone to give me the okay, when I realized I was the one who had to give the okay.
Finally, I said something. I welcomed everyone, and began to let the words flow out. I found that I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be (thank you, God).
At the beginning of the brunch, two of Calvary’s youth sang a special song. As I stood there listening, I was overwhelmed. Their singing was amazing and I was (and still am) incredibly proud of them. In fact, during part of my speech, I told everyone that one of the missions I would like to see at our church is for our youth to use their talents for God’s glory, not just on Wednesdays and Sundays, but every day of the week. I want them to get out of their comfort zone and feel like they have a voice. Because our youth have something to offer to the church.
Hello? Is this thing on? All of a sudden I realized what I said was ministering to me as well: I have to get out of my comfort zone, and let God use me on all days, not just when I want to do something.
I did it. I gave my speech, and it really was easy, knowing that I had God and everyone else pulling for me. I now get it when I see quotes that say, “With faith all it takes is the first step.” I took the step and God did the rest.
I am thankful that I have family and friends who support me through some of the most challenging times in my life. It’s during these times that God builds me and shapes me, and I want to keep moving forward in Him.