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  • Writer's pictureAdrea Tilford

Spirit Led to Speak

Updated: Mar 26, 2022

Galatians 5:14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Here I am teaching the hand model of the brain during the on-line service. Click the button below to watch the whole thing.

I had no intention of becoming a public speaker. I wanted to write. I am good at writing. The words flow when I'm in the zone.

Speaking, on the other hand, leaves me feeling shaky and insecure. In my most desperate moments, my power has been found in the pushing of the pen as my voice shrinks from fear. So, I guess it makes sense that God would equip me with the ability to write and then ask me to speak.

I attended SheSpeaks in 2020. Right after the world shut down. Just a few minutes after hearing God whisper to stop working and write. Feeling excited about writing and fueled with a spirit inspired outline, I attended. I even signed up to meet with a publisher. All of this felt whimsical.

Then I learned this word. Platform.

I thought a platform was something you stood on to reach the ceiling. I mean, I get it - it's an easy metaphorical transfer. Over and over each session talked about having a platform. Social media driven - until I met with the publisher from Leafwood. In addition to saying this would be a five year journey at least, he said a more valuable platform was getting in front of church groups - real people, real time.

I hadn't thought of that.

Fast forward one year. One entire fall spent writing personally with God. So much writing and no push for public presence. Then, on another prompting and a few conversations I applied for Lysa Terkerst's Book Proposal boot camp. I got accepted and joined Tracie Mile's group. I completed a book proposal in eight weeks, but more importantly I met some incredible women and writers. Women I continue to learn and grow from now. Three of these women still get on morning group meets every other week to help each other with our various projects and callings. It's been incredible.

Additionally, during that time frame, I spent some time talking with my pastor Tom. When I mentioned the idea of talking in front of church groups, a connection was made. He'd been thinking about wanting to add some new voices, even hopefully female voices to the Sunday sermon rotation.

We made a plan for September. The sermon series designed was even influenced by our conversation around my book outline. The book outline I'm now fairly sure contains ideas for a few books. In September, God invited me to share my testimony as part of the sermon I wrote. My real testimony of childhood adversity and adult awareness. The one topic I had begged for most of my life to never write about - God asked me to write and speak about it. There was no pressure or "if you don't, I'll...." because our God is full of love and encouragement. The invitation was about loving others the way God was teaching me to love myself. God knew that this topic is tough. People don't want to talk about abuse even though abuse is so prevalent in our society. That means many people carry stories that are shame inducing and fear provoking and even the place that should provide respite from that shame doesn't always offer respite.

Now to yesterday, I chose the passage on healing that I felt led to. The woman who is healed after 12 long years of a painful illness. I knew I could related to the longevity of suffering and the glorious celebration of healing. What I wasn't expecting was the second story intertwined. The story of the young girl of 12 who Jesus also heals. I let the spirit lead. And I ended up being led right back to some of my very passion areas.

You'd think that would excite me. And you know what - it did, but it also terrified me.

TBRI - Trust Based Relational Intervention - and other trauma informed practices have been a game changer for our family relationships. The more I learn about God's design for our brains and bodies - our entire nervous system - the better I continue to thrive. Yet, I didn't know how Christians would respond.

I see the gospel reflected in all of what TBRI teaches. Would they? I have experienced the therapeutic power of Jesus' healing voice of love. His fruit of the spirit voice. Would they? I have a dream that the church would be trauma informed. Could that dream be empowered through this sermon? Would the opportunity to continue to love God and love his people well be embraced in what I shared? Could I give the sermon and let God do the rest? (That part I'm still having to lean into right?!)

Well, I have no idea what God is planning to do with all of those questions. I am certain God continues to work in the life of my family and TBRI is one of the tools we've been equipped with. Yesterday, at the end of my sermon, my daughter walked down the center aisle of the church and wrapped herself up in my lap. If God is becoming real to her because I am being asked and challenged to speak - well I am all in. God's giving me what I need to make this happen. My nerves get calmed. The words come my way. God connections are being made and neighbors are sharing how they feel loved.

Okay God.

If you ask me to keep speaking, I'll do it.

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