Biblical Principle:

Prov 16: 9 – The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

What I say to God:

Psalm 31:3
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

What God says to me:

Exodus 4:12

Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what to say!


I had been looking forward to Blaine Ray’s workshop next week.  He is the founder of the foreign language methodology I use (TPRS® – teaching proficiency through reading & storytelling).  When I had read in the literature that he was coming to Newport News, I had contacted him in the winter and asked him to dinner one of the nights.  I wanted my husband to meet him and for us to get to spend some time with this delightfully witty trainer of foreign language teachers.  So earlier this week I emailed Blaine to make sure the workshop was still a go for 9-10 July 2010.  He wrote back and said he had been experiencing some dizziness and hoped that it would clear up before his Virginia workshops.  I wrote that down as a prayer request.

So Friday, 2 July, I prayed for Blaine and told God that his health was not something I had control over and would He please bless Blaine so he could come to town for the workshop and our dinner.

I almost dropped the phone when later that morning he called me on my cell and told me that he would NOT be able to present at either the Washington, DC workshop (2 days) or the one here in Southeastern Virginia (2 days).  And would I present for him? Long story short – after an incredulous reaction – ME??????, I said I would pray about it and talk to my husband.  Mike was busy at first, but I was able to talk with Marilyn, my principle, through tears and tissues – (I don’t even feel I practice the techniques well!). With both her and my husband’s enthusiastic support, I actually began to feel excited about the possibility.  I called Blaine back and said I would be willing and with God’s help, would do my best, but asked, “Are you REALLY sure you want ME?” Turns out, no one else is available and the alternative would be to cancel the workshops.   So God is choosing to use a jar of clay in order to get the gloryJ

I knew right away that I would REALLY benefit from this challenge.  It had never even crossed my mind to be interested in being a trainer.  I’ve been practicing TPRS and going to conferences and workshops for 8 years, but feel far from competent. I have an occasional good day when it all comes together – student engagement and enthusiasm, an ability to be creative and think on my feet and the sense that the kids really acquired some language through a good story we developed together about something that interested them.  When they bounce out of my French class chatting about the story, I feel fantastic.  But not every day is a homerun.  Some days I fall flat on my face and there is no energy among the teens.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because I know this is a TEST from God.  Not one of those ‘gottcha – you weren’t prepared’ tests.  This testing is about whether I will CHOOSE to trust God for all the unknown details and not play the WHAT IF game, fretting and fearing.  To be honest – I’ve already spent 2 restless nights and had the beginnings of a migraine last night and I don’t even get migraines.  Here is what I have to keep handing back over to God:

  • Attendees’ reactions when it registers with them that Blaine is not presenting.
  • Will my computer, the sound system and the projector work?
  • Will I be able to fill and follow the schedule adequately from 8 to 2:30 on both days of each workshop?
  • Will catered lunch show up on time?
  • Will these language teachers be nice to me?
  • Will I be able to think on my feet and develop a story in French as we go and sustain it while demonstrating all the proper techniques?
  • When I do the workshop a 2nd time here in my hometown, what will the 2 teachers I know (one from my school) say when they see ME, their peer?
  • And what about anything else that I haven’t even thought about?
  • What has Blaine failed to tell me because he does these workshops in his sleep? (after all, he came up with this method)

Mike gently keeps pointing me back to God.  I appreciate that.  So, with God’s help, I will trust the good shepherd and not be afraid.   I will step into this new territory and buck up like Joshua when God told him basically – “Dude, haven’t I already told you to FEAR NOT!  I’m going with you; I’ll work out solutions for you as problems arise.  You are not alone.

Pray for me – not that it goes well, though I hope it does.  But that I win the battle in the mind and keep casting these worry thoughts back on Him.  I’m looking forward to reporting back to you next week how God did more than I could ask or imagine.