The Talk I Didn’t Give at Triennial XIII

I have two recurring “speaking nightmares.” The first is that I am walking up to a podium to make a keynote presentation and I suddenly realize that I completely forgot to prepare a talk. Though this has never actually happened to me, I have this dream regularly. The other nightmare is that I am in the middle of giving a talk and discover that the remaining pages of notes are missing and I don’t have a clue what I’m supposed to say next. This had never happened to me either—until last Friday morning!

After being deeply moved by Brenda Salter McNeil’s opening address at “Reflecting God’s Glory,” a conference sponsored by the Women’s Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church, I realized that the stakes were high at this conference. God’s spirit was clearly at work in the women who had come from all over the world to be challenged and inspired. I got up early Friday morning to think and pray before my speaking session, and sensed that the talk I had prepared was not the one the women needed. I felt peaceful with my last-minute decision to piece together a different talk. All was well until I got midway through my talk, realized I was a bit behind schedule, tried to skip a few pages and move to last section of the talk—and discovered that the concluding pages weren’t there! Because it was a last-minute hodge-podge of a talk, I really NEEDED those notes. I survived, but it definitely wasn’t my finest speaking moment. I offer my apologies to the women who filled that auditorium. (Okay, I had to get that off my chest.)

Despite the fact that one of my speaking nightmares became reality this week, I’m thankful to have played a small role in this conference. I loved the time I spent with Brenda Salter McNeil, worshiping with an all-girl band (including bass and percussion!) was exhilarating, the international parade of flags was extremely moving, and the Hall of Justice, which highlighted seven injustices faced by women, should be included in every women’s event. Thanks for challenging all of us to join the global sisterhood!

I promised the women who graciously sat through my less-than-steller talk that I would post the script of “the talk I didn’t give” on my web site. Just click on this link to my Articles page, look under "Rediscovering Self" and click on From Here to There. A PDF of the talk will download to your computer. I hope it’s helpful. We need to keep cheering each other on!