My sister asked me to give the matron of honor speech at her wedding last week and I was terrified. I was nervous because I hadn’t given a speech since running for president in 6th grade (19 years ago, oh my gosh). I was also nervous because I have a history of panicking under pressure in front of people.
In 10th grade, I made All American for cheerleading, so I got to do an individual routine at cheer camp in front of hundreds of people. I had a solid routine. My music even had sound effects with coordinating dance moves. Like a “wa-pow” where I’d throw a punch and a bell ding where I’d do a toe-touch back-handspring. It was good. But, as soon as I stood in front of the crowd, I blanked out, panicked, and ran off the stage sobbing. 😎 🙌🏻
So, about this wedding toast. I had what I wanted to say in my brain, but I didn’t know what my body would do while standing in front of 150 people with a microphone. So, I made notes on my phone. Just the bullet points.
I had my notes open on my phone as my dad finished his toast, and I kept touching the screen so they wouldn’t go away. But, somehow, 20 seconds before I took the mic, my incessant screen-touching erased my notes.
By what I’ll call divine intervention, my speech was a hit. By that I mean I didn’t blank out, panic, and run off the stage sobbing, and the people who have to tell me they loved it told me they loved it. So, a hit.
Hey, guys! I don’t run off sobbing when I have to do something in front of a crowd like I did 20 years ago.
It was a relief. It was a new feeling.
This past year, God’s been showing me over and over how He makes us new.
”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
I feel the back and forth of this almost daily. I hope to be “mature” in my faith, and yet, like Paul in Romans 7, I keep doing what I hate and what I want to do, I don’t do. Every day, I still battle my flesh, my fears, my panic. My moments of dependence on God in the midst of screaming and butt wiping and writing deadlines can quickly turn to pride which turns to despair which turns me, once again, to dependence on Jesus.
Just this week, I was texting the “Big Fam” (the group text with Brandon’s side of the family) about how God had given me eternal perspective and peace even though Dewy and Joy had both been screaming and pooping all day. But, just a few hours after I sent that text, I locked myself in the bathroom, handed the kids to Brandon, and threw my deodorant against the wall. It’s usually the deodorants fault. Not my best moment.
Back and forth.
Old and new.
I’m cycling through my humanness and seeing my sin and being constantly brought back to the feet of Jesus. Every day. And He’s refining me.
I don’t think I’m as bright and shiny as I thought I was last year. But, I don’t think bright and shiny should have been the goal. I’m being made like Jesus, old to new, one degree at a time.
Hopefully I’ll get better at managing the emotions that come from all the toddler trauma. Either that, or I’ll just “hang in there” until the screaming phase passes.
But, here’s what’s neat. I don’t have to look forward to my twilight years for peace and tranquility. The Prince of Peace lives in me. He has and is still making all things new, every minute of every day.
I’m not who I was 20 years ago. I can give a toast now. I’m not who I was a year ago. There is freedom in falling short, because there is a future that won’t fall short. My Father made all things. And He is making all things new, pure, perfect, complete, wonderful, beautiful, forever.
So, raise your glasses and pick up your deodorant. Wipe your tears and smile. Here’s to Jesus and newness and the next degree of glory.