Thursday, 14 April 2011
“Oh hi! Are you the speaker?”
She was a young mom, cute short hair, button-down shirt, brightly colored denim. I was balancing a box of jewelry, my computer and purse in one arm and clutching my latte in the other.
I almost looked over my shoulder to see who she was talking to.
“Um, yes!” I managed. “I’m Kim. How are you? Where do I go?”
Just to be clear: I’m a writer, not a speaker. But when I was asked to speak to a lovely group of moms about Africa, or adoption, or whatever I wanted to, I found myself wanting to speak. I believe in words and their power to change hearts and minds and relationships, and isn’t speaking just the words aloud instead of on the page? So we set the date, I put it on the calendar, and when I began working on what I wanted to say, I found lots of words.
And I wrote all of them out (see above re: I’m a writer).
I was nervous, but not as much as I thought. I talked to them like I talk to my friends (because they felt like they were, already). I got lost a little and had to look sideways at my notes too many times (words escape me when they’re floating rather than down in ink), but everywhere I looked I saw engaged faces, eyes looking into mine, listening and open. It’s all I needed to let my guard down and just talk.
I talked about Jane, my inspiration now when I feel afraid.
I talked about the 12-year-old playing with the dinosaur at the crisis pregnancy center and how I still think of her.
I talked about my own moments of heart-gripping fear and how God’s grace pulled me through to the other side, and how it was like a rebirth.
They listened, and they really heard my heart. That’s all I’m looking for in my writing, too. I was surprised how the same it was, especially when I’m talking (or writing) about something I feel way deep in my bones.
I know so much of it depends on your audience, what you see in the faces you look out and see, and there I just got really lucky.
So thank you, women of Marshall MOPS, for receiving me with such grace and love. Thank you for caring about what I said and for receiving Africa with open hearts. Thank you for being lovely and wearing brightly colored denim and buying jewelry and giving so generously and talking about your deliveries and pregnancies and your kids and inviting me into your home base and sweet circles of friendship.
Guess what? Because of you, 121 women in Africa will have a safer birth. You absolutely saved lives this week. You helped mamas live. You helped prevent babies from becoming orphans.
That is definitely worth some awkward sideways glancing at notes and saying “um” too many times.
– – – – –
Speaking out was way more fun than I expected, and I’d like to do more of it. Please contact me if you’d like me to speak at your event.