It’s sooooooo good to be back here with all of you! Did you have a blessed Christmas? Was it maybe a little difficult this year? It occurred to me several times over the holiday that sometimes Christmas isn’t always the joyous season that it’s supposed to be. If you’ve lost a loved one, if you’ve spent the holiday alone, if expectations don’t seem to be met and it leaves you feeling less than… many things can play a part in how we feel at Christmas time. But ya know what the good news is? It’s a brand new year!
This is a time for God to be able to do a little more healing, a little more mending, and a little more fulfilling.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I spoke for the first time at my church. (If you prayed for me for that, thank you!) It was to be the “Christmas message.” Meaning I was to put the words out there that moved everyone from a Grinch state of mind to the final scene of A Christmas Carol when Scrooge has had a change of heart and is now “Father Christmas.” No pressure, right?
I had been praying over the last several months that if God wanted me to speak for Him, it would have to come by invitation. This was the only way I would be sure that it was Him asking and not seeking out the speaking engagements on my own desires. So after some time praying, the phone call with the invitation came. To which I responded with “Ya know I’ve been praying about this and God has done what I prayed for, so… Yes, I’d be honored.” Then immediately after hanging up I said “God I didn’t really think You were gonna do it!”
Have you ever done that? Prayed and prayed for something and it got answered and you kinda freaked out? Let me explain why I freaked out… I cannot have notes, teleprompters, flash cards… nothing. If you are new at the table, let me fill you in… I’m blind.
So I had to speak from memory. Now people will usually say that they would rather hear a message spoken from the heart rather then note cards anyway, but most people still have just a few notes to guide them along. Well this being my first time doing this, I was V E R Y nervous! I carefully chose my outfit, I already knew what scripture God laid on my heart, I prayed, I studied, I prayed some more…
After a week of curve balls like my computer crashing, getting a concerning health report about a close family member, the death of a dear friend, and my vision getting a little worse (I do have a little vision, 90% vision loss), I felt a bit unsteady. The day arrived and my stomach was in knots.
I spent the morning mentally going over what I wanted to speak about. I wrung my hands. I paced all around. “What if I mess up God’s message?”, “What if I trip on my heels and fall flat on my face up there?”, “What if I get the hicc-ups while I’m speaking?”
These were all my concerns and more. It was time. I walked up with the elders and deacons. I sat in the front row awaiting my turn at the microphone. I listened to the elder doing the prayer, he spoke a prayer over my message. Then the mic was handed to me. I stood before the congregation… and forgot EVERY word I wanted to say!
I once heard Jennifer Rothschild (a blind speaker and author) tell how she prepared for her speaking engagements. Obviously notes and such did not work for her either. She said she pictured in her mind a ladder. The verses she wanted to use were the rungs of the ladder and the message between each scripture was the space between the rungs. Y’all my message was nothing more then a step stool at this point. NOTHING… I could remember nothing. I babbled my way through, praying all the while for God to help me. I was sure I had visible beads of sweat on my forehead. I couldn’t wait to be done. I actually asked how much time I had left to speak. “Until you are done with your message” our head Elder replied. Wonderful! I’m done then.
I spoke for exactly 33 minutes. I walked down the isle on my husband’s arm, stepped out into the foyer and tried like crazy by biting my inner lip, not to burst into tears. I dreaded all the people coming out and giving me that sympathetic pat on the arm and saying “Well it was ok for your first time.”
Lord just get me through the next few minutes so I can go home and have a good cry and make my vow to never do this again.
Ya know what happened then? Person after person came out of that sanctuary, shook my hand, and told me how much the message touched them! People saying it was just what they needed to hear that day! Men and Women saying they had never heard that passage of scripture explained that way and would always remember it now!
Were these people in the same church service I was?
I even had a woman in the church who has always been very forthcoming about sermons she wasn’t fond of, come and tell me it was “the best sermon she’d ever heard!” I was dumfounded. I don’t know what they heard come from my mouth but it surely was not from me.
I share this with you because I want someone to read it with an understanding that if God asks you to do something… have no fear of how it will turn out. The more we try to do “it “ perfectly in our own strength, the more we worry. The scripture found in Philipians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” was lived out that day in a huge way for me. That verse doesn’t say “most things” or “some things” or even “almost everything.” No, it says “ALL things”
Friends if you are feeling the call to do what God has placed in front of you no matter how big or small it may be… trust that He will help you do it. It might be scary, it might be nerve wracking, it might be down right knee knocking, teeth chattering, beads of sweat visible to everyone dripping down your face kinda terrifying. But if God has called you, He will not leave you! Discover what He is asking of you by praying then be ready to live it out loud for Him! He loves you too much to let you do it alone.
So now we have our spiritual food, let’s munch on some physical food…
Egg Nog French toast
1 cup eggnog
½ tsp. cinnamon
Splash of vanilla
¼ tsp. nutmeg
In pie plate, scramble eggs with a fork. Pour in all remaining ingredients. Blend well with fork. Use a large skillet or electric fry pan sprayed with cooking spray or better yet, melt a couple tablespoons of butter. Using a good thick bread, soak the slices one at a time in the eggnog mixture, turning over to coat both sides. Place soaked slices in pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Spread on butter and pour on the syrup and let the yumming begin!