Are there things you may not know about me? Sure. And that is okay. But there is one thing I do want you to know about me that I do not share often here AT THE CROSSROADS.
It is not that I have been intentionally hiding something from you; it is just that I would rather use this space to talk about you, about life, and about faith rather than myself. Posting the picture of me was hard enough…
But on this Mindful Monday, I decided that now would be a good time to share something about myself that many of you may not know.
What is it?
I am a speaker.
Not the shocker or the deep dark secret you were hoping for? Let me explain why this means something to me.
Many of you only know me as a blogger or writer who posts on Mondays and Fridays. And that is awesome. You cannot even comprehend how grateful I am that you allow me to share with you about how faith and life intersect each week. It truly is my privilege. It still pleasantly surprises me when someone talks to me about a post I have written and how they connected with it in some way. Way cool.
However, if you follow the trajectory of how I arrived at where I am today…at the crossroads pondering which path to take…teaching came first, then speaking, and then (very reluctantly and oftentimes unwillingly) blogging and writing.
That may come as a surprise to many of you who only know me through this blog.
But it’s true. If you were to ask me over a cup of coffee (and I would so love to sit with each and every one of you over a cup of dark, rich, bold coffee!) what I “do,” I would answer you directly, without any hesitation:
I am a teacher first, a speaker second, and a blogger/writer a very distant third.
See? There is something you don’t know about me, right?
This blog was birthed several years after I had been teaching Bible studies and speaking to women about faith and life.
I began teaching Bible studies over 15 years ago and had my first real speaking engagement in June of 2006. I started this blog (which has gone through several transformations and renovations) in the fall of 2012 at the insistence of a few close friends and mentors who thought blogging would be a great way for people to get to know me as a teacher and speaker.
So it is kind of ironic that of those 3 areas, blogging/writing has consumed most of my time, energy, and resources. It has forced me way out of my comfort zone (I was totally content just teaching and speaking occasionally) but it has also given me a platform to connect with the most people.
We make our plans, and God laughs.
That is why I love the verse in Proverbs 16:9: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
I met with a sweet young lady last week who wanted to meet (for coffee, of course!) to ask me some questions about how I got to where I am and to ask for my advice on how to get started in ministry. Why she picked me is still a mystery because I still wonder on most days how I got here. I did not have a 10-year strategic plan or a lifelong dream. Nor did I seek out teaching and speaking opportunities…let alone writing! I just kept trying to follow God and do the next right thing. And HE directed, determined, and designed the way I should go. He ordered my steps.
That doesn’t mean I was a passive participant, just waiting around for the knock at the door or the phone to ring. I had to actively and intentionally get on board with what God was doing right where I was. I had to reject the excuse that I could only be used if I had more time and talent. If my kids were older. If I had more training. If I had more confidence. If I was funnier. If I had a true platform. If I had more disposable income. If people liked me.
God called, I followed. That is my story…and exactly why crossroads hold such meaning for me.
So, why do I consider myself a speaker second? And why is it important for you to know that about me?
Because in addition to blogging weekly and teaching Bible studies, I try to speak as often as I can.
Speaking energizes, stimulates, and challenges me.
Speaking allows me to make direct eye contact with my audience (and I love that!),
Speaking enables me to be animated (which is a genetic predisposition for an Italian girl!).
Speaking gives me the gift of interacting with some of the most amazing people.
Speaking teaches me about myself and my faith in a totally different and unique way.
In the past year, I have spoken to both large and small groups, groups of faith and business groups, groups of just women and groups made up of both men and women, groups of young moms, teenagers, and groups containing women in all seasons of life. I have stood in grand ballrooms with wireless microphones and I have sat in a circle among a few people in a cozy living room.
I have been asked to speak about connection, faith, grace, purpose, and passion. I have shared stories of personal growth and struggle. I have developed questions and activities to push my audience to ask the tough questions and go deeper in discovering truth.
I have also had my share of bruises, failures, and missteps while speaking. Everything from technological malfunctions to people falling asleep to people disagreeing with something I said and letting me know it. It has kept me humble and on my knees before God.
But more than any of these things, my life has been enriched, broadened, improved, cultivated, and sweetened by my opportunities to speak. It is a significant part of my ministry that I would like to continue to develop as I walk my faith journey and seek to encourage, support, and challenge others.
Again…why do you need to know this?
Well, we are friends and friends share things with each other, right? And friends ask each other for help sometimes too.
How can you do that?
- You can keep me accountable as speaker. I want my words to be God’s words. I want to speak the truth with love. I want to encourage others to connect their faith and their life. I need wisdom and guidance to do this.
- You can pray that God would give me opportunities to speak. I want to trust His timing and His provision. I want to follow in His steps by not getting impatient and rushing ahead or staying back in a safe place because of fear and doubt.
- You can connect me with those who need speakers for their events. I have a lot of experience and will customize a talk specific to any group or organization. Check out my speaking page HERE for more information about how to contact me for a speaking engagement. You can also hear a radio interview and download a free brochure.
Okay, that was both harder and easier than I thought. Who wants to go next on this Mindful Monday and share something with me about yourself that I may not know? I’m serious! You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am the only one who reads and responds to my emails. I sincerely hope to hear from some of you so that we can continue to connect and communicate as we walk this journey of faith and life together.
Thanks for allowing me to be open and vulnerable with you today…I am so thankful for your encouragement and support!