A few weeks ago a dear friend who lives in Birmingham called me out of the blue. Immediately I thought something was wrong, but no, she just chatted joyfully about things going on with her. I should have known she was just buttering me up! Cause then she dropped the question. “Oh, by the way, since I am in women’s ministry at my church now (along with children’s minister) I need a speaker for a big banquet we are having. I feel you will be perfect! Then she went on to guilt me out in such a manner, you could not even believe! (No..she really didn’t.) But, she did tell me how the Holy Spirit had impressed upon her to call me two years ago and she didn’t and then last year, she wrestled with calling me and this year, again she felt the Holy Spirit telling her to call me. She asked several others. I don’t know what happened. Either they couldn’t or it fell through…but anyway…here she was on the other end of the line asking me would I please not grieve The HolySpirit and come to Helena. (See what I mean by guilt). I mean who is going to ignore the work of The Holy Spirit intentionally? I told her I’d think about it.
I have been impressed lately , by the Lord, of several things I need to work on in my life. One of these is realizing that others we come in contact with are not just random people. Every person I meet deserves a smile and a kind word from me…and if possible a word of encouragement. That’s what Jesus would do. I also need to always be ready to tell anyone, anytime about my God and what He means in my life. I have been very conscious of this lately and have attempted to do better. Now here the Lord drops a group of 60 ladies right in my lap…what am I to do? If I said I would try to do better…then I must try. That was my answer. So, I called her back. I told her I would be happy to do it. She was very happy…then told me the number was up to around 100! Oh! My!
“Quietly trust yourself to Christ the Lord, and if anyone asks why you believe as you do. be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.” 1 Peter 3:15 TLB
I began writing on the topic How I Know Prayer Really Works. It wasn’t hard to write the text. It is the story of my life. But, I needed to back up everything I said with Scripture…and so this is where the work came in. I began searching The Word to find certain verses I remembered were somewhere in that big book…I could quote them fine…just not exact reference. I knew them, had lived them, believed them…couldn’t find them.
And, I’ll admit here to you, my friends. I have a big problem with procrastination. I have had ADD forever and it is extremely hard for me to stay focused on one task for very long. But, when it gets down to the wire…and a task must be finished…I can whip it out…correctly…in no time! Just the way God built me! So, two nights before the meeting I finally had the speech ready. THAT’s why i desperately needed that ink on the Saturday before I left…it was just then finished.
And, I’m here to tell you… Satan did not want me to give this speech. Immediately after I said yes, I began to feel inadequate. I am in no way good enough to stand in front of people and talk about Jesus. Who was I to think I could do this? I began having bad dreams. Dreams in which I was attempting do do a task and I would continually fail. This happened several nights.
Now, I say this to you as a matter of fact…not boastful. I learned a lot from my Mama. She could get in front of a group and sing or talk or do something silly, and she always did it with confidence. Not a shy bone in her body. I was pretty much the same. (Except the singing part) I never minded giving speeches in school. I could give reports of trips at church. I could talk in front of our groups at a moment’s notice. I just did not have fear of speaking in front of people. I even spoke at Mom’s funeral. I liked, as she did, being the leader, and the responsibility that goes along with a leader. God puts that trait into some people, just as He puts a more studious nature in some and a following spirit in some. One isn’t better than the other….it’s just the way God built us.
But, in this instance, I was getting very nervous. My sweet Alex said, “Mom you do that kind of stuff so well.” And, he listened as I told him the whole speech. BTW…she said 45 minutes!!!!!
I did not sleep well on Saturday night before leaving on Sunday. But, about 4 in the morning I awoke with the worst stomach cramps. And, just what you can imagine followed soon. I could not go to church. I could not leave the house. I couldn’t even leave the bathroom! And, Joy was picking me up to go around 2. This was not just a passing episode…I had some sort of virus. But it stopped finally and we left. We stopped and got a plain baked potato for supper. She was beginning to feel a few grumbling in her own belly area. We checked into the hotel and I pulled my papers out and began to study. But, I really needed sleep.
The next morning…the day of the meeting., Joy got up early to go and get her car serviced, as she had bought it in Bham. I ate a few plain cheese crackers and drank some tea…and studied. And, I prayed. I prayed for strength, for the virus to go away, and for a clear mind to remember my notes. I worked until she came back…then we walked around the Galleria for little while. They had put us up in the Wynfrey which is attached to the Galleria. But, neither of us felt much like shopping. We came back to the room and rested. Bless Joy’s heart, she even listened to my speech. Then we had to leave!
Both of us still had uneasy stomachs, and I tried to think maybe she was just feeling nervous for me and I was just feeling nervous for my own self. We drove up to the church. And, the virus hit her hard. She went in and found a bathroom. And, I didn’t see her for about 2 hours. I went and checked on her a few times. The last time I went, the bathroom was dark and quiet. I said “Joy, are you in here?” She said, “Yes…please turn the lights on I’ve been sitting in the dark and quietness for 30 minutes!
Fortunately she got better, she ate none and I ate very little of the food they had prepared. And, then we sang and prayed and my friend introduced me…and it was time!
I told them when I first stood up “Ladies, I’ve been trying to get here for 3 years…FINALLY, Susanna asked me!” And, I started my speech.And, I talked and tried to convey to these dear ladies how I know prayer works. By showing them how He worked in my life, and how much a part of that was prayer, I hoped to give glory to my Lord for His mercy and goodness. And, I think I did. I had very favorable comments, and many tears. They were all so gracious to us for coming and made us feel so welcome.
I was pleased with what we did…not alone, me and Jesus. As I told them, I’ve heard all through my life, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Friends that is a lie. There will be times that so much will come upon you, you will feel like breaking into. What you have to remember is that it’s not just you. If you are a Christian, you have strong, strong Helper who can match anything you face. His mighty strength matched up with our puny strength is an unbeatable combination. And, the most wonderful thing is…you can access it any time ¥ou want. For big problems or small. Doesn’t matter to Him.
“Then He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness…”
I felt small and I felt weak…for more than one reason. But, when He came along beside me, I knew I would do fine. Does that sound boastful? I hope not! Does it sound confident? I hope so! Because I am confident that God will always stand beside me in tough times…or just uneasy times. I’ve seen Him do it too many times and my testimony to you is that He will do it for you, too!
ADD TO SB…
So, Queen Bee of Green Springs Ave…former beauty queen…imitator of barnyard animals extraordinaire, dear, sweet friend, thanks for the invite. Thanks for finally giving me a chance to be a part of your ministry and I love you!
Once again I enjoyed your story. Not your suffering but the facts you shared with me and others That you were operating not under your own power and strength but under His .God knows us and uses us for our good and His glory Wow! Thanks