Each year, on Good Friday, our church holds an evening service in honor of Christ’ great sacrifice. There’s typically music, some scripture reading, and then the pastor does a little talking.
This year though, my husband and I were asked if we’d speak during the service and share what Good Friday and Easter mean to us, along with a few other questions, and sort of give our testimony through it. Although we were humbled to have been asked to share, the thought of standing on stage combined with public speaking slightly intimidated us.
We agreed to do it nevertheless, and had practiced our answers ahead of time, and were feeling pretty good about it…but when the day of the service came I began to panic. I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of public speaking and the tears began to spill just hours before we were to speak. I wanted to wimp out!!
I couldn’t remember my words suddenly, I couldn’t decide what I’d do with my hands, and the idea of where I’d look completely overwhelmed me.
I wanted to be able to think I’d get on stage and eloquently share my answers as if I’d just received a Grammy Award but Satan was all over this moment.
I quietly prayed as much as I cried…and then finally determined I’d have to go on stage with notes like some of my friends had suggested I should do. I really REALLY didn’t want to use notes—however “go-time” was right around the corner and I felt helpless. So I wrote down exactly what I’d say—word for word.
My husband is absolutely not a fan of public speaking even more so than me, but he was such a warrior and encourager. Nate knew God had a hold of this night and could use it to bring Himself glory, just like He had some 2000 years ago on the very first (original) Good Friday.
That evening, once we got out on stage with Pastor Trevor, the three of us positioned our stools and casually took a seat. Trevor quickly introduced us and then came the conversation which was set up in question/answer format. All of that fear seconds before entirely melted away and our voices were strong and sure. I’m pleased to say that I only glanced at my notes a few times. Trevor asked us questions and then Nathan and I each took turns responding:
Question 1: What do Good Friday and Easter mean to you?
Nathan: “It’s the greatest sacrifice ever and it’s the reason we can spend eternity with God; actually I think Good Friday should be called Great Friday!”
Me: “When I think about Good Friday there’s no other place I’d rather spend my evening than here at church, but it wasn’t always this way—if you’d have known us 12 or 13 years ago you’d have probably found us at the bar “celebrating” Easter weekend with family and friends and a drink in our hand. We were clueless, but God changed that and when I consider Easter—as cliche as it may sound, the words of John 3:16 come to mind, God loves us so much, He gave up His Son; and when we choose to believe we have the promise of eternal life.”
Question 2: What was Easter like for you growing up?
Nathan: “Our family didn’t go to church when I was growing up; church to me was a place for weddings and funerals, so Easter was very much about bunnies, candy, and dying Easter eggs.”
Me: “Growing up, Easter was about chocolate bunnies and candy, we had very hit and miss church attendance. My mom is a strong Christian these days, but when she refers back to that time she explains that we’d go to church on Sunday and then leave God there for the week and do life without Him, and looking back I’d say that’s pretty spot on. We didn’t follow Jesus and we had no relationship with Him.”
Question 3: So what changed that?
Me: “The loaded question…Nathan and I married very young and had kids at a young age. We lived very much in the world and not at all in God’s word. The kids and I had hit and miss church attendance, and Nathan would never go. When I was mid-to-late twenties I began to feel like I was missing something and I didn’t want my kids following this pattern. One Sunday morning I took them to church and there happened to be a woman speaking that day. I hadn’t ever heard a woman preach before and since I’d been feeling lost, my mindset was a little different and I listened closely. I remember her quoting Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ and then she said most of you are probably familiar with this verse! I felt ashamed over the many times that I’d sat in the church pews and yet that verse was very unfamiliar to me…but it changed my life in a huge way. I went home and began studying and memorizing scripture. The kids and I hit our knees every night, praying their daddy would come to faith. That was in January of 2013…by August of 2013 Nathan was drinking more than ever, and I was totally against it. But he was diagnosed with diabetes that month and completely gave up drinking and started coming to church with us and his faith grew and he gave his life to Christ. Our faith as a family grew, and since then we’ve been praying people would would come to faith…so I don’t know where you are in your faith? Or who you might be praying for, but don’t give up hope because that’s what Easter is about.”
Nathan: “What else can I say, God answers prayers!”
Afterward, once Nathan and I were home, he said to me, “it felt so freeing to share our story.” And he’s right! I’m not sure why I ever get bent out of shape having to speak publicly because every time God shows up, takes over, and does His thing and He’s always glorified through it. The truth is, “us” sharing our story was really never about “us” to begin with— it was (and always will be) about Jesus changing our lives and His unconditional love available to anyone who’ll accept it.
He is so good!