Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not without effect

When I was a junior in high school, I was one of several girls nominated by the faculty to represent our school at the Texas Bluebonnet Girls' State. As part of the selection process, each nominee was asked to deliver a speech to the local American Legion Auxiliary, who would then vote to decide the two Girls' State citizens.


The evening I was to give my speech, it was a dark and rainy night (really, it was). I wore a royal blue dress with a then-fashionable dropped waistline, big shoulder pads, white tights and red flats. We got lost and arrived at the Auxiliary meeting late, yet still in time for me to deliver my speech entitled "The Well Rounded Person." Or something like that. I don't remember the exact title, but I do remember the gist of my message: a delegate to Girls' State ought to be one who was "well-rounded," here's what makes one well-rounded, and guess what, I happen to meet all such qualifications.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement. Talk about being out of my comfort zone! Woefully lacking in any public communication skills, I had never even had the first speech class. To be sure, I had never spoken in such a forum as this. Oh, I had had the occasional line in a children's choir musical at church, but to take the podium and speak as if I knew of what I spoke? Never.

To compound my anxiety, I was among some pretty stiff competition. These girls were brilliant, beautiful, and by my estimation, self assured and even comfortable speaking in front of this group of women.

My dad was also nervous on my behalf. I asked him afterwards if I looked down at my notes too often and he told me he didn't really know, as he had his eyes closed through much of my speech!

Well, the ladies voted and either it was the red shoes or the compelling "well-rounded" message, but I was chosen as to be a Girls' State citizen. And while Girls' State was a great experience and another first for me to be away from home alone for that length of time, I really think it was the giving of my speech that proved to be something of a benchmark experience.

Today, part of God's call on my life is to stand (but I prefer to sit) before others, not to present my qualifications as one who is "well-rounded," but to humbly teach His Word and encourage women to know the Lord Jesus and His living Word. Oh, I've had lots of practice since that dark and rainy night, but I am still today much the same as the young girl I was then: totally out of my comfort zone, lacking in any formal training or skill, insecure, inadequate, and convinced there are others more brilliant and more capable and certainly more confident.

When I read Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 1:26-30, I know he speaks of me:

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
For whatever reason, truly God only knows, the American Legion Auxiliary chose me as a Girls' State delegate.

And for whatever reason, truly only because of His grace and mercy, God has chosen me, the weak, the foolish, the ordinary, the inadequate. He has gifted me and given me a passion and a compulsion to do what I would never do on my own. I say Yes to His call, my teaching my humble offering to Him through the power and sufficiency (and joy!) of Christ. I love it; I am compelled to it; but it is so not my natural self.

Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 15:10 that "by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect."

As I reflect on that night more than a couple of decades ago, I can say for sure that His grace to me was not without effect. No indeed. Thus far the Lord has brought me, and He is without a doubt the God who can do all things, to the praise of His name!

4 comments:

  1. My Friend....God has given you a wonderful gift to teach and believe me you NEVER appear out of your confort zone.....and those of us who love to hear you teach are thankful.

    *I went to Girls State, too...not in Texas...ha

    Love you,

    MdA

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lisa,

    I can relate to this! Even though I participated in speech writing/public speaking in high school, and majored in communications in college. I wasn't saved then. It amazes me when I realize that God used that training because He knew I would be a Sunday School teacher one day. He was preparing me for His calling on my life.

    Now, nearly 2 decades later, I stand to teach (and I must stand rather than sit)...not in my power, but in His. Even though I'm comfortable in front of others, I feel so inadequate to teach His Word.

    Isn't it wonderful that He doesn't call the equipped, but rather equip the called?

    P.S. - thanks for your comment on my blog. I hope the turf wars in your home will soon be over! Let's press on in victory, sister!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have to tell you Lisa that I (almost) daily log online to specifically get on your blog to be fed spiritually. I am so thankful that you have started this blog to show our precious Lord to the masses, to tell of His unfailing love and forgiveness. Thank you for obeying to His call! :)

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  4. Lisa,

    I can relate to this! Even though I participated in speech writing/public speaking in high school, and majored in communications in college. I wasn't saved then. It amazes me when I realize that God used that training because He knew I would be a Sunday School teacher one day. He was preparing me for His calling on my life.

    Now, nearly 2 decades later, I stand to teach (and I must stand rather than sit)...not in my power, but in His. Even though I'm comfortable in front of others, I feel so inadequate to teach His Word.

    Isn't it wonderful that He doesn't call the equipped, but rather equip the called?

    P.S. - thanks for your comment on my blog. I hope the turf wars in your home will soon be over! Let's press on in victory, sister!

    ReplyDelete