Only a Youth

the godly, gifted women (and man) of the Speak Up Q&A panel


Hello again. It's been a while.

I've spent time worshiping the idol of entertainment instead of worshiping God through the hard work of writing.

I've become defeated by self-doubt because of my age and lack of life experience and how easy it was for me to quit my job so I could write.

So God met me where I was last weekend. I didn't want to go to the conference: Speak Up with Confidence! Who am I to speak up? I don't have a hard story. I'm not an encouraging, caring person. And with confidence? Ha! I'm so young. No one will listen to me. I'm doing it all to boost my ego anyway. Because I like to be in the spotlight. Because I honestly enjoy speaking and writing for crowds. I shouldn't enjoy this. This should be hard.

There was the question of what I should tell people I do. Do I call myself a writer when I haven't posted on my blog for three months? Do I call myself a speaker when the last speech I gave was in college over three years ago? Do I call myself a musician when I don't perform, haven't been practicing, and won't begin teaching for several months?

I pulled into the Prince Conference Center and parked my car Thursday afternoon, knowing that I hadn't prepared well and my heart wasn't in it. I opened my Bible to Jeremiah 1, something a mentor at church pointed me to last summer when I met with her about discovering my spiritual gifts. Last Thursday I wasn't feeling spiritual and I didn't feel gifted. I felt worthless.

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”
But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,

“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”

Jeremiah 1:4-10

That first day I went in, gave my speeches, attended my breakout sessions, and left for home.

On the way home I stopped at Meijer for the sole purpose of purchasing a chocolate bar - a real, dark chocolate, I-need-me-some-magnesium-and-happiness kind of chocolate bar. In the checkout lane, I ran into one of my husband's good friends, Brian, and confessed my chocolatey sin.

"You came here just for chocolate?" he asked, innocently. He's not married and hasn't lived with his sister and mother for years, so he's probably forgotten this element of the female life.

"Yes. It's been a long day, and chocolate makes me happy."

He got that look on his face like he was cracking up internally but didn't want to encourage my unhealthy behavior externally.

When I got home, I broke it to Randell this way:

"Honey, I love you so much, and I'm so thankful for what a kind, patient, and loving husband you are. So I decided to celebrate by... buying myself a chocolate bar!" Yes, it was that kind of day. And I couldn't fall asleep until 1am because of 500 calories of 70% cacao caffeine goodness.

Back to the conference. Friday morning I was barely awake but resisted the temptation to buy coffee so I wouldn't pass out during my speech. I didn't need the caffeine, either, because God woke me up.

God spoke to me so many times through so many people on Friday and Saturday. It was beyond what I could have asked for or imagined. Beyond any of my expectations. Beyond myself.

He spoke to me through Cindy Bultema, who taught, "In Christ, you are enough for this ministry."

He spoke to me through my small group facilitator, Kathe Wunenberg, who told me the world needed me, as a young woman, to share Christ.

He spoke to me through Jen Ferguson, who said God gives you your name and gifts for a reason, and it's not prideful to use them to point others to Christ.

I didn't even mention Karen Porter, Carol Kent, Elizabeth Murphy, Robyn Dykstra, and the loads of other beautiful speakers and attendees I interacted with last weekend. The conference was a gift from God to me - time away from the distractions and temptations of ordinary life to hear the truth.

The fact is, I'm not comfortable counseling or comforting hurting people because I just simply don't know how to do it.

The truth is, God reminded me that I care about hurting people, and that is enough for Him to use me.

The fact is, I feel really awkward sometimes trying to make conversation.

The truth is, God knows I want to help others feel loved and accepted.

The fact is, I'm not brimming with life experience and wisdom to offer a hurting world.

The truth is, God is the answer, and I can point others to Him.

Here I am, Lord, on my knees, willing to speak up. You are hope for the world, and You are my confidence.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.

5 comments:

  1. I loved reading this! Just a complete and total "wow." I'm not the "youth" anymore, but I can identify with everything you wrote. Beautiful. I needed to hear it. Thank you.

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  2. Transparency. So hard to be real, but you made me think about my own motives and actions. Thank you for sharing

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  3. Thank you, ladies. I really hope that my "real-ness" will be thought-provoking and a blessing to people who need to hear that Christ is enough.

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  4. Kelly Minter, one of my favorite authors, shares, "Satan may tell us what's true, but he never tells us the Truth."

    Faith, I'm so grateful that you took a step of faith and courage to come to Speak Up this year.

    Although it may be true you are not comfortable counseling or comforting hurting people, and whereas it's true you are not middle aged, and may sometimes feel awkward in conversations...

    the capital "T" Truth is that the Lord has given you a heart of compassion, and that is enough for Him to use you, especially to point others to Him. And we desperately need young woman your age, infused by His Spirit's power, to engage this lost and hurting world and to lovingly point them to the True source of Life and Love.

    May God continue to fill you to overflowing, sweet friend, and answer your prayers to send you. I'll be cheering you on every step of the way.

    Sweet blessings,
    Cindy :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cindy. That is what I want to do so much!

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