Updates on Speaking Engagements
The Lord will be your confidence
and will keep your feet from being snared.
I have much to learn about becoming an outstanding speaker.
What I have, and have always had, is enthusiasm. And it comes from God.
With my vision and hearing problems, I am always skittish inside about getting to the front of the room without tipping a chair over, or climbing steps–and missing one– or even picking up the mic. Will there be problems? But once I start, I remember one thing: God has given me this platform to shine for Him.
I have a story and He has opened the door to share it, however imperfectly.
On June 25, I spoke at a senior center, a program started by a vibrant medical training hospital. The theme was “Awakening Your Senses,” and I took that literally, intertwining the sounds, touch and aromas of life overseas with the sounds, aromas and touch necessary for me in my progressively blind and hard-of-hearing environments. I compared how each was important to adapt to these new cultures I’ve been “visiting” for various lengths of time.
Though I had only six or seven participants and it would seem I didn’t have much reach or perhaps couldn’t even draw a crowd, I felt something click right off and heard God’s silent whisper to my heart, “Just share. Let me make the connection.”
One woman was legally blind in one eye. One had RP like me. Two others had been affected by macular degeneration. Another had been waiting for my talk since March.
When I discovered these insights at the end of my talk, I felt the “rightness” of my choice of topics. My confidence had come as it always did. There was no doubt that God had hand-picked this audience for me to encourage. Maybe, for the first time, I was in the center of God’s will.
Being in the center of God’s will was exciting! By obeying, I had stepped into a partnership with God.
It hit me that I continued to educate others as a teacher might, only the subject matter was rooted in my experiences. And it was through sharing my vulnerabilities (fear and prejudices associated with losing my vision and hearing) that got them to speak openly about theirs.
I was reminded of a verse in the Bible about not being competent in and because of myself but knowing that my competence comes from Christ.
I sold 4 books that day out in a crowd of 6.
That was a result of my obedience.
A few days later, I had a book signing at the library in my hometown with another author.
The summer rain came and kept most of the crowd at bay. Though it was well advertised, few attended. However, those that came touched my heart.
A former kid in a neighborhood where I’d grown up.
A new friend from the Lions Club.
A couple of my sister’s classmates–even more dear to me since her passing.
A classmate of my own, whose voice actually caught when she was talking to me about the testimony found in my book. “I’m praying for you, Amy. You are touching many with your book. Maybe God will heal you and give you an even bigger testimony.”
Another great outcome of the library signing is that I learned a little bit more of how to promote my book from the other author, Nancy Kay with her latest book, Wine and Spirits.
On July 6, I spoke to a larger group at another senior center about retaining eye health and how to get the most out of your hearing as well as how others should speak to someone with hearing loss. I thought it was really practical.
The men, in between rounds of whatever card game they were playing, looked up. The women were sipping cups of coffee and watching with intent expressions. It reminded me of the sharp contrast in the way the male and female students responded to their English classes in the Emirates!
Since I’ve started teaching senior groups, I’ve relaxed a bit and worry less about the manner the men take in what I say. Even though I’m educating, it’s not a classroom situation; it’s their social time. I’m honored to speak and whatever they absorb through the talk, I’m happy. I’ve adapted.
That talk was special for another reason, too. I received a speaking fee! PAID! I now have a brand new manager who negotiates for me! What. A. Blessing. She is so much faster at setting up “gigs” for me than I can do for myself.
I am overflowing with gratitude about all the help I receive.
I feel like God is providing me with a team of people to help me move forward in my career as an educator, inspirational writer and speaker.
I’m so awed by His provision!
What goals are you setting for yourself in your personal lives? Are you in or out of your comfort zone? How are are you being stretched?
You have just read “Updates on Speaking Engagements” July 7, 2015. If you’d like to know more about my faith walk and my journey in coping with vision and hearing loss, check out Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith.