Good morning! I always find it so ironic that when I am preparing to teach on a specific topic, God allows me to go through something that tests me in that exact area. So, I have been preparing for the past couple of months for my first speaking engagement. I've taught small groups of teen girls, small groups of ladies at my church but never in front of hundreds of women...especially women I didn't know. I was pretty nervous, to say the least. The topic I was asked to speak on was, how important it is for us to take time out for God to allow Him to fill us up, refresh us and equip us to do His Will. I'd spent two months studying this and preparing intellectually but the evening before the event I was freaking out a little. Doubting God's calling, doubting the lesson I'd prepared and scared that I would freeze up on stage. I thought if I just kept rehearsing I'd get better. I even tried videoing myself as a way to practice in order to perfect it, but I was wrong. All of that just seemed to make it worse. Then, it finally dawned on me, I hadn't even been applying what I'd been preparing to teach. I was relying on my own abilities. Yes, I had prayed and prayed for God to help me, but never once did I stop long enough to allow Him to fill me up and equip me. In that moment, I was reminded that this was not about me. That my fears were self-focused and about to rob me of reaching those God had called me to reach. I was more concerned with what people would think of me rather than what God wanted to do through me! I finally turned off my computer, put away my notes and sat before my loving, patient Daddy God as He calmed my fears. I was reminded that He has been preparing me for this my whole life. This opportunity was not something I sought out, He brought this opportunity to me. Therefore, He would not let me fail. Scriptures began pouring into my heart and mind, reminding me that I didn't need a perfect lesson or be an eloquent speaker. I simply need to be emptied of myself and my fears, so I can be filled up with God. I just needed more of Him and His love, which will in turn spill over into my lesson and those listening. I began to get excited about the opportunity to share with others something I love more than life itself...God and His Word! What could be better than that!! How did I miss that! Sometimes we can get so caught up trying to fill our minds with God's Word, seeking to "know more about God" versus seeking to "know Him more"..."more intimately"! The Women's Brunch went wonderful...my speaking wasn't perfect and I said "Ummm" a gazillion times but I was filled with peace and joy and actually enjoyed it. Gods Word went out...that's all that matters! He will handle the rest. So, as I close, I want to share the scriptures that God poured over me that night and all the next morning...giving me the courage, joy and peace I needed, to trust God to compete His mission! "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philippians 1:6 "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 "The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?" Psalm 27:1 "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed." Isaiah 61:1 "And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone." Mark 16:15 "Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen." 1 Peter 4:11 I say all that, to encourage you to step out in faith and do whatever God is calling you to do...with the strength and power God provides. Do not be afraid...He will go with you! Simply go to Him daily for the purpose of "knowing Him More"! Let Him fill you up and send you out into all the world...to proclaim The Good News, to feed the hungry, set the captives free and Care for widows and orphans! That is what God calls all of His children to do and He will guide us and equip us! All we must do is obey and draw close to Him as He works through us!