Hello! My name is Candace, and I am just another girl trying to follow the Lord. Many times, I fail miserably, but Mrs. Mary caught me at one of my moments where I blindly stumbled into what the Lord told me to do; and somehow, because of His amazing grace and love compensating for my weakness, everything turns out better than I could have ever imagined.
Before I share, here’s a little background. I am 20 years old, and ever since I was old enough to stand, I was afraid to speak in front of large groups. There were few things that created more panic and fear in me than the two words, “public speaking.” High school was when the fear really took hold of my life. A specific example was in my sophomore English class. After butchering a three-minute speech, a girl beside me leaned over and asked, “Are you OK?” Confused, I answered, “uh….yeah?” She then responded, “Oh, ok, ‘cause you sounded like you were crying the whole time!” Thanks for the encouragement, right?? So you get the point. I was TERRIFIED. This fear literally took over my life. I was so bound by the fear of speaking in front of people that even if the Lord had told me to my face to speak for some event, I probably would have pulled a stunt like Jonah and ran as far away as I could get.
So after I graduated from high school, I was home free and never had to speak in front of people again, right?! NOT. The utter horror I felt when I read I had to take Coms 101 (public speaking) in order to graduate from Liberty University was unimaginable. If you are or were afraid of public speaking like me, you’ll understand how terrifying it is to think of taking a semester-long class dedicated to the one thing that you fear more than anything else. So naturally, I frantically looked for ways to escape that dreaded class, and I soon found that I could take it online! This however, was not God’s plan for me.
During my freshman year of college, one of my closest friends was taking Coms 101 and told me how happy she was to be overcoming her fear. She was so happy, and I was so jealous. After much praying, I decided to take the class my sophomore year. From day one, the Lord was working on my faith. I had to give devotions in front of the class, give four speeches, and go up in front of the class to speak almost every day. I ended up with an A in the class and the Lord completely changed my perception of public speaking.
Fast forward to this summer.
I am currently an intern at Atlantic Shores Baptist Church working with the middle school youth group. Each year, we have a week-long summer camp with the high school and middle school groups together. So, as an intern, I was asked to speak in front of not just the middle school students, but the ENTIRE group including the camp staff, our church’s leaders, and the combined high school and middle school groups. Talk about facing fears! So, what does God give me to speak about? Overcoming fear. Of course. That’s just how God is. He loves to be ironic. So here I am, barely able to celebrate my victory with the Coms class, and God dumps another hurdle that requires SERIOUS faith. But this time, I was ready. I knew God would come through for me.
NOTE FROM MARY: I know gang – it’s a somewhat long post. But stay with us! It is definitely worth the read.
Here we go! I spoke from Jeremiah 1:4-19 where the Lord called Jeremiah to be a prophet to Israel. Verses 4-5 are God’s call to Jeremiah. Like many Bible characters we read about, Jeremiah throws around a bunch of excuses as to why he can’t do what God just told him to. God tells Jeremiah that he was chosen for this job before he was even born! How cool is that? And what does Jeremiah say? He basically tells God He’s wrong! When Jer, (let’s refer to Jeremiah as “Jer,” shall we?) says, “Ah Sovereign Lord,” he’s sighting God’s sovereignty, which is God’s ability to be in control of everything. So why would he say that God is wrong? If God is sovereign, shouldn’t He know if He got the right guy for the job? The answer is “yes.”
1. I am not qualified.
2. I am too young.
Just to top things off, I'm going to share this video of Candace that I saw on her mom's Facebook page. It's Candace and a crew of Liberty University worship leaders singing at Thomas Road Baptist Church. You'll see Candace enter from the left. This will give you "chicken skin."