I sat in front of the computer screen one day in October 2017 and opened my email.
The Set Apart Committee is excited to let you know we have selected your workshop proposal as one we would like to have presented at our 36th annual conference.
Oh no. My stomach did a flip. My leg bounced all on its own. What had I done?
We would be asking you to present two one-hour sessions each day—a total of four sessions.
I held my breath. Anxiety was already dampening my palms, and the event was in March 2018—still months away. Why the surprise? I had submitted a proposal, hadn’t I?
In the gap of time between my submission and the acceptance email, I stewed. Let me get this gig. Or not. Maybe it’s not the best for me—then please don’t let me have it. Or do, and give me the strength to nail it. But if You don’t, that’s okay too.
How about I stop talking, and You just pick?
And He had.
The holidays zoomed by. In January, the need to prepare my presentation churned my thoughts into action. But doubts suffocated my work. Worry, the socially acceptable little brother of fear, tugged on my sleeve when I sat in front of my computer. Some days, the irony forced a chuckle from me; I was afraid to present at a women’s conference where the theme was “Fear Not; He is With You.”
Public speaking was not my strong suit. Even the thought of it made me sweat. And who was I to talk to women about conquering fear, as if I had it all figured out?
Then at 3:41 a.m. on February 3, I was jarred awake.
*Here’s what our back yard security camera captured. Turn up the volume and watch the trees across the alley. (Subscribers: If you have trouble with the video, click here.)
As usual, I counted. One. Two. Three. Four. Five gunshots. The plan to call 911, as instructed at our block meetings, floated through my sleepy brain.
Lord, protect us. I turned into my pillow and drifted off again.
The next morning, I informed Husband of the night’s activity. He reviewed the security camera’s footage and called 911—four hours after the gunshots had ripped through the night air.
I sat in front of the computer again. Sixteen years ago when we first lived in our home, I wouldn’t have fallen asleep right after a series of gunshots. Sixteen years ago, I would’ve stared at the bedroom ceiling until morning, thinking our move was a big mistake. Sixteen years ago, anxiety over our safety was the undercurrent of my days, unsettled sleep the habit of my nights.
Maybe I had something to share after all.
*Here’s the link for the Set Apart Women’s conference on March 9 & 10, 2018. Ladies, register today. (My presentation description is under 'Workshops.') I’d love to see you there.
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*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.