Wow. God is really using this speaking thing to challenge me. We just wrapped up the Fresh Fire Retreat where I spoke on "choosing joy." It was an awesome retreat and I walked away with some truths. I enjoyed the other 3 speakers and meeting the women that attended the event. It was in a beautiful atmostphere at the Elfindale Mansion/B & B. I was the last speaker. There was a break before my time to speak. During the break, feeling the full weight of my inadequacy as a new speaker, I cryed in my bathroom. I told the Lord I couldn't do it and that He would have to do it through me. After I composed myself I went downstairs and got up to speak, and all my fears were gone. I really enjoyed speaking because I love the truth of God's Word--it speaks for itself.
Other than the speaking experience the biggest thing I took away from the retreat were the things God spoke to me through one of the other speakers as we laid awake and talked until 2:00 a.m. We talked about ministry, family, finances, prayer, sacrifice--and in the middle of the night I wrote out the things God is teaching me and the requests He is going to answer.
Now I'm getting ready for another speaking engagement--"prayer and pasta" where I will be teaching the study "Igniting a Passion to Pray." The study is one I taught in August. It has revolutionized my personal prayer life and my prayer time with my prayer partner. And now it is taking me further as I am learning about kingdom-focused prayer and praying for the world.
In preparation for my speaking engagement, I yearn for time to be alone with the Lord. I drop the kids of at school hurrying home to have my time with Him. In my time of prayer I wonder if I would devote this time with Him and hunger for it if there wasn't the sense of desperation in preparing to speak. Would I still want to spend the time with Him even if I wasn't looking to get anything out of Him? I confess to God that many times my prayers are about getting something out of Him instead of just being with Him. My prayers are just me talking and not listening. So I'm learning to listen. I know I hear from God through His Word, through His answering my prayers, through other people, and through whether or not I have a peace about something. Being a person who goes with my feelings a lot, I want to make sure that my emotions are submitted to God and that I am operating out of His truth and not how I feel. I am working on being still before the Lord and hearing His voice. I am also learning how to pray always with Him exalted --as I praise, as I confess, as I thank, as I intercede and request--that it all comes out of humility and acknowledgement of the Greatness of Whom I am communicating with.