Walking up to the podium in front of all those women in their white and black uniforms felt like my first oral presentation in elementary school. Spending the night before reading over the report, writing it onto note cards, making sure to number the cards just in case they fell into disarray, and finally trying to be able to talk about what I had written down on paper. I remember my palms feeling sweaty and the pencil marks on the cardstock smudge as I held the stack in my hand. I remember trying my best not to look down and read each and every word, hoping my memory wouldn’t fail me. I remember my cheeks getting hot, turning red, and trying to gaze out into the classroom of peers looking at me intently. When I stood in front of those women, all of the same feelings came rushing back. Sentence by sentence I pushed through and as I came to the last page with a few more bullet points to share, relief started to come. I was almost finished! I had hoped they would understand the point even through my American accent.
little did I know.
I was never asked, I was never given the option to say no. One day in December I was just told that at the beginning of each year the Abusa and Amayibusa preach at the first few Women’s Guild meetings of the year. January was approaching, so naturally, as there were two Abusas and two Amayibusas, we would take the next four meetings. I was going to be last, which meant February.
The idea of preaching has always seemed intimidating to me. Maybe this is because I have heard some horrible preaching and also some life-changing words come from the pulpit as well. Mostly though, it is daunting to me because it is speaking about God’s Word: Scripture, and I know that doing this comes with much responsibility. A responsibility to communicate clearly what God would say. A responsibility to make comprehensible what can often be so confusing to us as we read the bible. A responsibility to be the messenger bringing forward what God wants to say, not just getting personal attention. There is also a responsibility not to skew scripture. I have heard some speakers say things that are just flat out erroneous and that just rub me the wrong way, and then their words have just been an obstacle to me hearing anything at all. What I would want to avoid at all costs would be to turn someone away by saying the wrong thing.
Of course, the day in February when I spoke at the Women’s Guild, it was also announced that I would be preaching at the Women’s World Day of Prayer. A surprise to me. All turned out well in the end though.