You Gave Me A Promise

I've been preparing for an upcoming presentation before a group of psychiatric nurse practitioners. I was blown away to be asked to make a presentation since my initial contact was simply to let them know that I had started a group, in case they might have a patient who would benefit from a peer-to-peer group. I've been putting my energy into researching and researching and making connections with professionals to verify that I'm not steering them wrong.

I feel confident from conversations with professionals in the know, that I know and understand this disorder. But as I tried to take the information in my research and translate it into a one-hour presentation that was "professional", I felt that I was hitting a wall.
I questioned how much I knew and how much was conjecture. I became uneasy that I would stand up to give the presentation and sound like a moron, uneducated, and illiterate. (Have I mentioned that this is a group of psychiatric nurse practitioners with lots of letters behind their name? I have a ton of college credits, but not even an AA!)

I committed to doing a "friendly" test run with a group of people from the community next week, a week ahead of the actual "professional" presentation--a group that would give me feedback and be filled with constructive criticism. But I have only put together ten slides. And there's no way I can make those ten slides cover everything that I want to say, or to last for an hour.

Tonight, after praying about it and asking God to give me the presentation HE wants me to GIVE, I had a revelation:

I've already spoken to many mental health professionals. Most, if not all, have been impressed with my knowledge, openness, and ability to inspire and call to action those around me. They have invited me to speak, not to get every good and pertinent fact (they could search the internet and make the phone calls I've made if that was what they were seeking), but because they want to hear my story--our story, the story of a hoarding mother and hoarder's daughter who pressed on beyond the statistics to make good out of this bad!

And this is where I'm going to start to cry again...sorry. You can't see my tears, but I can feel them.

When I was a little girl, I loved to sing. I still love to sing. I knew all the words to the hymns at church before I could read. I L-O-V-E-D to sing! I dreamed of being like Amy Grant, praising God and entertaining and reaching others with my voice. I wanted this so bad!

About five years ago, I realized that while I can sing, I can't SING SING. I hear harmony and I'm great support in small groups, but I am never going to be the featured performer at a concert. No one's going to buy tickets to see me sing, except maybe my family and closest friends. I was crushed...again. This realization that God hadn't honored MY wish to be a singer and to lead worship was hard for me to understand. I felt that God had let me down, in much the same way I had felt He had let me down when I was little and praying to be removed from our hoarded home.

Although I grew up in the church and believed in God, there was always this disconnect that God didn't really love me the way He loved the people in the Bible. If He did, my childhood would have been different; I believed I would have been given the spiritual gift I wanted instead of the ones I have been entrusted with.

And I realized tonight that I had prayed over and over that God would give me a VOICE.

And He has, over and over again. My voice is not singing in concert halls, but almost every professional in the mental health community I've met has wanted to hear my story. Even in my neighborhood, people have questions and want to know about how I survived.

In Psalms 105, verse 8 we read:

He always stands by his covenant--the commitment he made to a thousand generations. (NLT)

God promised to give me hope and a good future, not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11). He's kept His promise to me. The person I am today is completely because of what I faced growing up and since. He gave me a voice...just not to sing. But He kept His promise; He answered my prayer. GOD GAVE ME A VOICE.

I hope you listen to this song which ran through my head as I pondered this good promise, kept and fulfilled. God has a promise for you too...He can't wait for you to seek it openly, and to watch you as you unwrap it with the joy and expectation of a child on Christmas morning (assuming that child doesn't have a HP!). How long are you going to wait to get yours and open it?


Sidney said…
Ceci, my tears began to flow JUST BEFORE I read "And this is where I'm going to start to cry again."

Your voice is to hug people like you hugged me, all of us, in New Orleans.

You will be stunning, whatever you do. Be strong!!!
You have done it again. I know I always say it but you are so inspiring Ceci!

Hope the presentation goes well. xo

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