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My first speaking engagement – I thought I hated public speaking?

By December 9, 20136 Comments



In the springtime, I was asked by a woman who I met thru The Red Apron to speak at her church’s Christmas Gathering Women’s event.  I, of course asked for details.  And when she said “1100 women in attendance” I thought I nearly may choke.

Then she said that last year, one of their guest speaker was Mary Carol.  You know….the lady who owns Nell Hills in Kansas City.  The EXPERT on decorating!!!!!

I nearly double choked.  How could I possibly follow Mary Carol?????

So, I paused.

And I knew better than to think.

I said yes before I could change my mind.

You see, I took Speech Class back in 1990….yes 23 years ago…in my first semester of college because I am terrified of speaking in public. Anyone else?  Anyone?????

I thought if I took the class then….I would never have to speak in front of people again.  Ha!

And so the summer came and went. I didn’t think about the speaking gig.

Fall rolled around.  And I continued to ignore the fact that 1100 women IS A HUGE NUMBER FOR MY FIRST SPEAKING EVENT!  Perhaps I should have started with 30 women.  Ha!

I wanted to be terrified and yet I knew I was  


Let me tell you what preparing for speaking in front of 1100 women can do.  Well, it can make you do some emotional eating.  And it will also get you on your face before the Lord…. begging Him to give you the words, give you peace, give you ideas.  It is a very vulnerable position.  And I took it very seriously!



I just have to say….the women at Kearney Baptist Church are just the sweetest, dearest women.  I was humbled at how much work goes in to their Women’s Gathering and how important it is to them to show Christ’s love to the women who come to their event.  This is not the church I attend and yet each of us just have such a heart for Christ that I was right at home!  They were the real deal and I was blessed beyond measure.

So, my first big night came and I thought my heart may burst out of my chest as I waited to go up on stage… and yet I didn’t die. Nor did I trip going up the steps to the stage and for that….I am eternally grateful.  ha!

The first night I spoke to 550 women and I spoke to them not only once….but twice!!!!

And here is what I learned:

  1. When you are speaking about what you know and love….it comes naturally.
  2. And apparently… I LOVE being on stage and speaking to a crowd.

WHO KNEW?????????????  I certainly didn’t!

I shared with the ladies how to decorate their front steps for Christmas.  We talked about my wooden “JOY” sign and hedgeapples and sticks in urns and sleds and glittered skates and


And I got to do it all over again the 2nd night to another crowd of women.


Where we again talked about front porch decor and I also taught them how to make chalkboards as Christmas gifts!


We glittered skates.  We gave away prizes. We laughed. And  no one even noticed I lost my gum in my red scarf right before going on stage. It was a magnificent night!

Literally after I spoke for the 4th time in 2 days, I was sad it was over.  THAT is how much I enjoyed it.

And people…. that is shocking.

It’s so sad to think I could have said no to the event because of an old fear.  A vain imagination.  A silly box that I put myself in.

I wonder how often do we do this to ourselves?  How often do we miss God’s best for us because we are AFRAID to try something different from what we are comfortable with?  Or because we are listening to those OLD tapes in our heads???

I learned way more from this speaking event than these women ever learned from me about painting and decorating.

It was a Christmas gift to my soul!

I encourage you as 2013 comes to a close and the hope of 2014 is upon us….to let God lead you somewhere you may be uncomfortable.  You just never know what blessings may be there waiting for you.

Many blessings,





  • Sandi H. says:

    I was there and you did an AMAZING job! You made it look like you’d done it several times before! Thanks for saying YES!

  • Debbie says:

    I was there the first night and as a retired teacher/guidance counselor who is used to doing a lot of public speaking I thought you did a Great Job, you would have gotten an A+ from me!!

  • Shaun says:

    Jennifer you were awesome! Because of your seminar I have a pair of red glitter skates hanging on an old sled on my front porch! I love them and get so many compliments on them. I always give you credit, thank you so much for the idea!

  • Cheryl says:

    I know exactly what you are saying. In High School I was terrified of giving oral book reports. As life progressed and I was given opportunities to lead worship and speak before congregations, I realized how much I dearly love it! I was 25 before I ever held a microphone in my hand. But I’m hooked! It’s amazing what we learn about ourselves when we are obedient to God and step out of those comfort zones. We really can do it!! Congratulations to you Jennifer!

  • Bek says:

    I would love to have been there. If you’re ever anywhere even remotely close to Alabama, I’m so there!!! And I’m super double thankful God hasn’t called me to do any public speaking. Just sayin.

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