A lifetime ago, the favorite part of my marketing job was presenting. In front of a team of evaluators, I confidently explained my company’s software proposal. Someone else handled the technical aspects while I negotiated terms and made promises others had to keep. What a dream arrangement. Oh… and I paid for lunch.
Later with young kids at home, I presented about the the importance of fruits and vegetables and clean eating. I loved that too. It allowed me to get out of the house and speak to other adults. It was rewarding to encourage other moms with practical information that provided hope and a concrete strategy.
So…. Why is it?
During what feels like my third career as a minister’s wife, the thought of speaking to a room full of kind and gracious women takes my breath away?
Not My Thing
For starters, I never felt “cut out” to be a ministers wife. It was not the job for me. In fact, that was the primary reason it took eight patient years for me to finally say yes to marriage. It’s true, Doug was called, but I only went along to get along. Ministry was not my thing. I resented being part of the package. Looking back, I know the Lord never flinched. He was up to the task.
That was EONS ago —26+ years! The Lord has been patient and kind. Never demanding, He saw my potential and how things would play out. And it has been a ride ! Walking with the Lord for so long, I’ve learned a lot. But I’m also keenly aware of the scriptures caution…
Luke 12:48 …From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
So with immense humility, I will take the podium. With unrelenting nausea, I’ll depend on the Lord to show up and hold me up. I’ll look forward to the afterwards. In my experience, when I yield and obey, especially when it’s beyond my own strength, the euphoria that results is like none other.
Depending on when you read this… I’m either nauseous with anticipation or floating because it’s over. Regardless, I welcome your prayers.
7th Inning Stretch
For me at sixty, It feels a bit like the seventh inning stretch. You know… that moment during the baseball game when you stand up, stretch and assess your surroundings?
Beware of the Bleacher People
When I do, I first notice my audience. My audience includes kind and loving people who cheer me on. Some are wise and discerning and have invested time and energy into my life. (Often it’s mutual) These people have prayed for me and earned the right to speak truth to me even though I don’t always like what they say. But there are others… I call them bleacher people. They sit on the sidelines spectating and ready to critique. They have a knack for reaching the most tender places of my heart. Since they don’t ‘know’ me, It’s uncanny how they can so effectively hurt me. Sometimes they’re even strangers who just don’t like what I represent, but under their scrutiny, they can take me down.
Do you realize you have an audience too? Consider who sits in the bleachers of your life.
After 26+ Years
After wearing the ill-fitting ministers-wife hat for 26+ years, I’ve grown used to being different than what others expect. And, I’m thankful that, for the most part, I’ve been accepted.
But here’s the thing… I’m not the sum of either the good press or the bad press the bleacher people say about me. My life is not under the jurisdiction of a committee — Minister’s wife of not!
And as I think about it, that was true for Jesus too. His life was filled with bleacher people who were constantly questioning and criticizing him.
But… Jesus didn’t allow his audience to divert His single minded purpose. He understood that pleasing the crowd is not only impossible, it’s a dangerous goal. That doesn’t mean we stop listening to constructive input, but it does mean, we stop turning our heads to be swayed by the loudest voices.
1 Corinthians 4:3 “It matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority”
The apostle Paul ignored the bleacher people. We should too.
A New Strategy
For my speaking engagement, I have a new strategy. To relax… instead of picturing a room full of women dressed only in their underwear, I will picture only ONE person standing in the back. The only audience I should care about…My loving, kind and gracious Lord.
Together, He promises, we’ve got this.
Oh, precious Debbie I so relate to your message today. First of all know that I am praying for you now and will continue to do so throughout the day today. I had so hoped to be at the lunch today but “life got in the way.” I had a fender bender two weeks ago and am without transportation. I pray I can hear you speak another time in the near future. I am now retired but during my 30+ year career I had to make many, many presentations. I never got to the place where I was not nervous before each one. And, I so often let the bleacher people be my measure of how I did. There are still bleacher people in my life today although I am not making public speeches. My bleacher people are actually in my family and friends, in my small church group and in those groups of people with whom my political views differ. Thank you, thank you for reminding me that the only person who matters in my “audience” is my Lord. I pray you feel God’s compassionate and supportive love today as you share your important message. Judy
Sorry to hear about your car trouble. But thank you for your prayers of encouragement. Debbie
Betsy Everett says
God put you on my heart early this morning! So I have already prayed for you. I know you will be awesome. Looking forward to the Luncheon!
Grace and Peace,
Thank you, friend!
Anne kole says
Oh Debbie, you are not only a minister’s wife but you minister to many yourself! I look forward to your message today and am praying for you. I love your perception of Jesus being your audience. His love and peace can banish your fear and nausea. And May your message open hearts and minds to his truth. Love you.💕
You always seem to know what to say. Thank you Anne.
Geraldine Dempsey says
I do not believe I have ever read the verse from Paul, but wow, it has so many applications for me personally. Since Mike’s sudden death, I find that everyone close to me wants me to do what they see is the right thing for me to do. I am not only overwhelmed with grief, but with what others believe is best for me. This blog was what I needed.
Amen Gerrie. May the Lord be the LOUDEST voice and may you confidently walk in His steps.
Helen Marie Brigham says
Debbie thank you for your message. I pray that you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and that your words will draw the ladies in attendance closer to Jesus. If its possible, would you please post your presentation for those of us who are unable to attend. Thank you and may God bless you dear friend. 🙏
Thank you Helen-Marie. Not sure how the technology works, but if I can post it, I’ll let you know.
As I read your post today, I just kept thinking of Moses who felt so inadequate and ill equipped and unworthy to do what God was asking him to do. You, Debbie, despite the weaknesses and fears you confess, have been equipped to bring to us all God’s messages of hope, love, and redemption. You might have become a reluctant servant, but you’ve more than risen to the task.
Thank you Dorma.
Karen Chalmers says
WOW! You hit it girl. Speaking & listening to a party of one – Jesus Christ. HE will be with you today. Have fun sharing.
Thank you Karen.
Know you did a great job and blessed the ladies you shared with today 😊
Thank you Cinda.
Martha Nail says
Above all else you are God’s precious child.
I am sad not to have been there.
But I know Jesus was smiling and is smiling at you, faithful servant.
I especially LOVE that label. Yes, His beloved child. Thank you Martha! Sure miss you.
Emmy Browning says
Wonderful message. Know your presentation was great. Sorry I am out of town. Hope you can post it.
Thank you Emmy.
Berta Pitzer says
I hear you from my heart about not being called to be a minister’s wife!! I didn’t wait to marry Jack, but all he knew did NOT get downloaded into my brain while I slept at night! That’s what it felt like people at the churches expected from ME!! I was a nurse! Not a minister! We simply fell in love with them and wanted to spend our lives with them!!
You are so right that we are to play for the audience of ONE. All of us need to remember that. I’ve found as I focus on Him, then I can hold onto His Peace better and fear has no place in me.
You’re a great speaker and you put truth out there in a clear way.
Thanks Berta… you’re part of my inspiration. 🙂
Ginger Grossetete says
I’m so glad that I brought three guests with me to the luncheon today! I was so proud of how well you delivered your message and they all told me that you certainly had lived up to what I had told them to expect. They were all moved by your dynamic presentation. On a more personal note, I think you are the perfect wife for Doug. You both have different strengths and together you are a WOW team. How lucky we are to have you at Sandia Presbyterian!!!
What high praise, Ginger. Thank you.
Debbie— you are a PERFERCT MINISTER’s wife! Yea u couldn’t be better!!!! God knew what he was doing in his plan for you!!!! Doug must be so proud and appreciative of you!!! You are a wonder, and it always amazes me how articulate you are in giving your wonderful messages!!! You are a light into my heart, and I thank God he brought you to us! You probably will never realize what an inspiration you are to so many people! You are a blessing in so many lives, and you did a FANTASTIC presentation today!! You rock, girl!!!!❤️❣️💕🥰❣️💕⛪️⛪️⛪️⛪️❤️❣️💕
You are too sweet. Everyone needs a Mary cheering them on. ❤️🙃
Karen Shope says
I’ve been sitting outside since 6:30 am on the patio which is now empty of our couch, dining room table and chairs, entertainment center and odds and ends. It feels good and God has blessed us with liviing in limbo. Sleeping and living in the kitchen, garage and patio. I haven’t been able to cook like I’m used to (thank our Lord for the BBQ grill). It was even a test for Frank and my relationship. There wasn’t a place to go for me or him time. I’m truly sorry I missed your talk yesterday. We were able to move everything back inside but before that it had to be vacumed, dusted and washed from all our Albuquerque dust and our son came to help us move the heavy stuff. My thoughts and prayers were with you as you spoke the words God wanted you to say. It reminded me of when I would sing. To me it was much easier to sing to a crowd of people you didn’t know you weren’t going to see them again, than to a crowd you did know. God is good no matter who we talk or sing to when we’re doing it for him. I’m looking forward to hearing from the ladies who were able to attend I’m sure they were blessed.
No worries Karen. Congrats on your home changes. Living in limbo is a challenge.