A week ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to finally share my story with a live audience and quite frankly, I was not sure how well I could hold my emotions together.
The event was well attended and many have their own stories of personal tragedies. My hope was that my story would inspire some to continue living through their pain and suffering. We all will feel pain and loss throughout our entire lifetime so this topic of discussion applied to everyone regardless of their age.
Therefore, the privilege of speaking to this audience on this particular day was truly my honor and as the people found their seats,
I began to mingle around to introduce myself. That broke the ice and warmed up the audience for when I stood up to speak.
The story began by identifying a few losses early in my ministry when I accepted the call to become a backup singer for our internationally known choir director at the time. Though I had to suffer those losses, it turned into gains that only God could have orchestrated. Then I shared about how I married my first wife which was a great segue into the introduction of my book, “Every Day Passes Is One Day Closer”. I piqued their interest enough so that some purchased extra books to give away to their loved ones – what a blessing that was!
They laughed and cried throughout my PowerPoint presentation as my story touched each of them in a way that was meant to be received individually. I concluded with the 1964 story by Margaret Fishback Powers called “Footprints” and in spite of my many readings of this famous story, today was the day that my emotions came out at the end when I read the lines:
“I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
As I read these two sentences, my mind reflected upon how God carried me through the hardest parts of my life so that I could share my stories with others at the appropriate times. I reflected upon the loss of my first wife, Diana, and how hard it was towards the end of her life as she lay on that hospice bed. The nurse gave her only 24 hours to live but God was gracious enough to allow her 72 hours so that we all could spend our last precious moments with her. That proved to me that God is in control – not us.
I was not sure if she was entirely present towards the end but I was privileged to say “good morning” to her one last time before she went home to be with the Lord. That private moment, though brief, would always be captured in the depths of my heart and I’m sure it will not be the last time I will experience this emotion.
So as I read those last two lines from “Footprints”, my emotions reflected upon my last moment with Diana and how God has been faithful to carry me through these past six and a half years. Yes, I still endured another job loss and the short-sale of our house but I have not lost the most important thing in my life – my faith in Jesus Christ!
I am preparing to reach out to others to set up speaking engagements as this experience has proven to me that my story really is not about ME but in fact, it is about those lives with whom my stories will affect and inspire. Therefore, if you would like to help impact other people’s lives and are willing to provide me that opportunity to speak at your gathering, please leave me your contact information.
Many have and/or will experience losses in their lives – I would love the chance to come alongside these individuals just as others have done so for me. In the meantime, it was very special for me to tell my story.