For entrusting your congregation and our community to hear me share for the first time.
Your faith and belief in me is one of the many blessings I count.
I remember when Beth and Chrissy contacted me about speaking at Believer’s Chapel North in Mexico, New York for an evening event they were planning. I wasn’t sure I was the right person yet accepted and enjoyed joining them for part of the planning process. The time leading up to this first event were spent in prayer and preparation. I practiced in front of the dogs, my family, and the mirror. I delved into the Word and prayed God’s message of hope and healing would encourage at least one person. I also prayed for there to be at least a couple people, who weren’t friends or family, to be in attendance.
Friends, family, and even people I’d yet to meet. My nerves started to increase so I retreated to the prayer room. Not only did I enjoy moments of quiet and prayer, I was prayed over by the wonderful women that were already in there. It was a quiet and blessed time of preparation. It was a beautiful evening filled with laughter, tears, and hope. Since this first event, I continue to be amazed at how God uses the ick of my past to encourage others. This is probably one of the reasons this verse from second Corinthians speaks so strongly to me:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
My daughter teases and calls me the “Crying Speaker”. My intent isn’t to make people cry but my prayer is to have the message God gives me touch their hearts. I’ve learned that tears are a natural reaction when the heart is affected. I know this on a personal level too.
To look back, I’m amazed. Each year has brought different and more opportunities to share God’s message of hope and healing through me. I’ve shared with women’s groups, churches, educational groups, schools, organizations, missing person’s groups, and even shared as the guest speaker on Sunday morning for a few churches.
I’ll never forget the day I lost my sister, Heidi M. Allen, to the hands of her kidnappers. My heart will forever be changed because of her absence in my life. The goals and plans we made as children were altered. BUT…there is Hope! God loved me through it and continues to do so today – I pray to seek Him daily and continue to share His message of hope with others, using my personal brokenness and loss as the spring board.
As I start to schedule speaking events and book signings for 2014, I prayerfully praise and thank God for each one. I also pray for the hearts and minds of those I’ll meet to be open to hear the message God has for them through me.
May He be lifted up and hope restored to the hopeless. We all need hope!