I successfully got through 3 weeks of block classes at seminary, it was a roller coaster of new information, work overload and a testing of so many things within me. I quickly realized that I was ‘in training’ from the minute I set foot in the building. My exact stream is MA in Theology, majoring in Education which basically means its a two in one mix which feeds my passion for teaching perfectly but is more work than you can imagine especially since I have my lecturer position at the college again.
Anyway, so I somehow got through those 3 weeks and in the last week, the Wednesday evening, I got a message from a friend asking if I could fill in for him at a small event at a Children’s home in 2 days time. He said I would need to share/preach a short message relating to Youth day we had just celebrated. My immediate thought: No thank you! I don’t know what I’d say and to a group of people as well? Nooooo. And that’s when I heard God say “How will you ever learn if you never try?”
So I dived in, acted all cool, calm and collected about the whole thing as I agreed to it when in actual fact I was freaking out! I basically had a day and a half to prepare which in hindsight was brilliant timing on God’s part because had I had any more time, I definitely would have backed out. It also turns out that one of my assignments required me to share a short message relating to what I had learnt in the subject so this opportunity was perfect for me to complete the assignment as well. I thought, thanks Jesus for having my back on this assignment, I thought that was what this was all about, God was giving me a chance to do one of many assignments. Well, He was helping me do that but it was so much more than that at the same time.
Friday came and I had my scripture (and its supporting scripture- I listened in Biblical Interpretation classes). But scripture was all I had, further than that I had no clue what I was going to say! My main scripture was:
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.- 1Timothy 4:12
I love that scripture, I relate to it so much and I knew it was the perfect one, yet I still had no clue what I was going t say about it. Five to ten minutes can be a really long time in front of a crowd when all you have to say is a verse. I kept asking God what it is He wants me to tell the kids, His word was about to be shared and I needed to do it in a manner worthy of Him. I needed to get His message across, whatever that was for that moment. All I heard Him say was “Tell them that they matter.”
Now that is definitely something children who live in Children’s home needs to hear daily but I couldn’t just quote a scripture, say that sentence and then sit down. So I sat at my desk, trying to go through what I was going to say and you know what happened? Every time I spoke out loud, I’d end up jumbling up words and get tongue tied! I got so frustrated and eventually just gave up and resided in the fact that this wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about how well I could prepare or how well I could speak. It was about what God wanted to say and what He wanted to do and all I needed to do was wait on Him, He’s never failed me and He wouldn’t start now.
So off I went with just a verse, I arrived there to a small hall of between 40-50 people, majority were kids. Inside, I was freaking out again, all I had was a verse! One of my friends came to support and he was a literal Godsend, he kept reassuring me and cheering me on. I would have been more of a wreck had he not been there to keep me calm. The time came where they called me up, I picked up my Bible and as I walked to the front, I prayed “This is ALL you now God, I’ve got the verse, you’ve got the message. Do what ever you want to.”
I ended up preaching a message I had never thought of delivering in that way before. The thoughts came as the words left my mouth, I was the most surprised person in that hall by everything I was saying and how much sense it was making. I shared my verse and then explained each part of it to the kids and reinforced how much they matter. As I spoke, I looked into eyes of children I’ve come to know and love, children who are facing harder battles than you can imagine. As I spoke, I saw the connection to my words, I saw them take it in. That feeling…..the feeling of knowing this is going in. It’s indescribable.
One of the girls had prayed earlier in the night at the start of their little talent show and this was part of her prayer,
Thank you Lord for giving us a chance to be happy and laugh and have fun tonight and forget our worries for a little while. Thank you for the people who came out to watch us and support us.
My heart squeezed a little as I heard her say that, this little talent show meant so much to them, they absolutely loved being center of attention and having everyone clap for them. They loved feeling like they mattered, even for one evening. Afterwards some of the childcare workers told me how much they enjoyed my message and how good it was. I laughed. I couldn’t take the credit for something I know was all God. God completely blew me away that night, not only in how necessary His message was but in the way He orchestrated everything down to the words I needed to say. Then, the scariest realization came after the night had ended……this is only the beginning. My freak out session over something so small is nothing compared to when God sets it up on a bigger scale. Can you imagine my freak out session then?! haha As scary as that realization was, I’m so grateful that God is giving me the nudge whilst starting small so my brain and my emotions have time to get to grips with it all.
The main point of this entire post though? Well it’s simple really (in hindsight):
A verse might be all you have….but it’s also all you need. God does the rest 🙂