Thursday, April 24, 2014

Redeeming a "No"

I knew as I pressed "Send", I was responding from a place of personal fear.  There wasn't any way I could envision myself being able to answer this request in a positive way.  Just thinking of fulfilling this responsibility made my palms sweat and my heart race.  Feelings of disappointing the Lord filled my heart, but I just couldn't do it.

Each year mothers from our congregation are asked to take part in the special Mother's Day Services.  One will read the Scripture.  Another will pray.  It is a lovely blessing being asked to take part.  Several years ago the invitation was extended to me.  I felt honoured to be asked, but the thought of standing on the church platform in front of so many people absolutely terrified me.

I know that sounds strange coming from someone who actually speaks at Women's Events, but it is true.  Most often when God invites me to share at ladies events I take my trusty stool with me and speak from a sitting position.  This keeps the audience from seeing my trembling legs.  Not only that, but I've only spoken to groups of women.  This would be reading and/or praying in the presence of both men and women.  I couldn't do it.  Thinking about it made me nauseous.

Over the past year the Lord has been daily asking me to trust Him more.  He has been asking me to abandon self-reliance and abandon myself to Him.  Recently I told the Lord that if such an invitation was ever extended to me again, without hesitation I would respond favourably and rely on His strength.

I think in many ways the Lord has been preparing me for the invitation to come.  Early February I trusted the Lord as I stood on this very same platform as my role in Women's Ministries required I act as welcomer and announcer for our large ladies event.  Early March I spoke at a ladies retreat for the entire weekend without using my stool.  More recently I've had to fill-in on Tuesday mornings speaking to approximately 150 ladies at our weekly Women's Bible Study gatherings.  Step by step God has been asking me to trust Him and in His strength alone I've been obedient.  Anyone without this disabling fear may not understand, but it has seriously controlled many of my decisions and I've missed out on opportunities to allow the Lord to work through me.

When the phone rang this morning I had no idea what the call was going to be about.  I recognized the number as being our church phone, but was not expecting the request about to be made.  Actually, when I recognized the Pastor's voice on the phone I assumed he was calling concerning something entirely different.  However, within seconds he asked if I would be willing to say a prayer at our Mother's Day service.

This time initial fear collided with overwhelming delight.  So humbled, when by God's grace He offers a "do-over".  An invitation that was met with my "no" years ago, was extended again to me this morning.  There's no guarantee opportunities like this will come around a second time.  Still feeling anxious, but I responded with an enthusiastic "YES".  Immediately I recognized this as a gift from the Lord.  God is redeeming a fear and He alone will help me walk this out in faith.  "He is my personal bravery..."  Hab 3:19 (AMP)

Is the fear still there?  Most definitely.  But so is my God!!!!  Greater is He who is in me.  Praise His Name!

I would so appreciate your prayers as I prepare for this day and trust Him.  May I not live these in-between moments with anxiousness, but KNOW the Lord who has issued this divine invitation will fill me with His courage.

post signature


Brandee said...

Oh dear sister Joy I can so relate! will pray for you and against the fear. I have let that same fear hold me back for too long and I am saying no to fear and yes to trust! I have messed up so many times, but God is giving me a new start. I know what He has called me to and Satan has used the fear for far too long! Time for us to walk brave and even when our legs do tremble, our hands shake, and our hearts race we can know He is holding us up! Love you!

Leah Adams said...

You will do a magnificent, Jesus-honoring, job. God never asks us to do anything that He will not equip us for, so go forth in His strength and the power of His might. He will give you the words to speak.

Tracy said...

Prayers yes, my friend! I admire how you've allowed God to help you thus far and appreciate your enthusiastic (albeit anxious) response. You inspire and encourage me! Fear used to completely overtake and shut down any opportunity I had. In the tiniest of steps at a time, God is helping me to recognize the source of this fear, but more importantly, that He can work through and in spite of my shaking legs and pounding heart. No doubt God will empower you for the task ahead.


Jennifer @ said...

I am landing here after seeing your blog post linked at Ann Voskamp's blog this morning. I want to thank you for this beautiful post. I understand that terrifying fear, and am just standing with you -- right now, with my own trembling legs -- in agreement that we can do this, in God's strength.

Thank you, thank you ...

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Thanks for sharing your story with such transparency. I clicked over here after seeing the link on Ann Voskamp's blog. I can relate to the trusting God and fearing it aspect of your story. :) Trusting Him to strengthen us to fulfill His requests of us. . . that's trust. :) I'll be praying (Phil 4:7 just came to mind) for you as you stand before your congregation to pray. May He give you words and fill you with HIs peace.

Jill Beran said...

Joy, I can relate!! So neat to read about the story I'm guessing you were referring to on my FB the other day about obedience being a response to God's love!! Love it!! I will be praying for you!! Exciting to see "you" at Ann's!! Blessings!

tinuviel said...

I do understand and just received a similar but much smaller-scale divine invitation out of my comfort zone an hour ago. May the Lord prove Himself strong for both of us in our weakness. Stopping here via Ann V.'s Saturday link. Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus.

Jenny said...

I needed to read this today!!