Do not fear, for I am with you:  do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Is 41:10

Last week I reported how God had opened up the door for me to present two workshops for second language teachers interested in the language acquisition method I’ve been using for 8 years: TPRS® (teaching proficiency through reading & storytelling).  I was not necessarily anxious about sharing the thinking, research and techniques.  That was to be in English and I had the power point slides and had prepared notes.  What frightened me were the two demos in French that I needed to sustain.  I was afraid that I would not be a credible poster child for using the TPRS techniques.  I often compare myself to those TPRS personalities I watch at national conferences who demonstrate the skills with great ease & success.  By nature I am an introvert who extraverts for time-certain periods.  I don’t always think of clever story possibilities, on my feet, in French!

The other details that made me nervous were the tech and logistics of the conference room set-ups.  Finally, I had no control over what the attendees would think when the founder of this methodology, Blaine Ray, did not show up and instead they had me, a mere practitioner from the field!

Well, it’s no surprise that the God of the universe who does more than we can ask or imagine took care of me.  I love Psalm 23 because of God’s promises.  ‘Goodness and mercy’ actively followed me all 5 days!

  • At one point my iPodfell out of my purse at lunch and one of the teachers picked it up.  I had a play list of French music on it I was using during breaks.
  • My mind was on other matters so I wasn’t paying close attention to the envelope containing checks/credit card info for book sales.  Another teacher tucked it out of sight when we left the conference room for lunch in the lobby.
  • The attendees at both workshops were VERY nice and encouraging.  I felt I could be myself.
  • My day 1 of the first workshop left me feeling poorly about that challenging French demo.  I spent a lot of time that night in the hotel getting coaching from Blaine and another French teacher, Donna, who presents at workshops.  The next morning when I was out walking early in the morning, I recited all the verses that I know and drew encouragement from them.  Nonetheless, I was resigned that my skill level was just not where it should be yet!   What a JOY-ful surprise at the end of that 2nd day of the Washington, DC workshop when it all came together and my French TPRS skills moved to a higher level.  I felt like I had achieved a new competency.  On top of that, the satisfaction those attendees communicated was heart-warming.  I felt that I had given them something of value over the two days.
  • God was faithful to keep me awake driving through summer afternoon traffic back down to Newport News.  That had been a prayer request because I knew I was running on less sleep than normal.
  • The next morning was the local workshop in Newport News.  I found myself ‘angsting’ as I was driving to the hotel.  It was only a 5 mile trip, but my mind started thinking, ‘What if I get into an accident and am late to set up for this workshop?’ That’s when Isaiah 41:10 came back to mind and I just affirmed out loud ALL the parts :

Lord, I WILL not fear, for you are with me.

I will NOT anxiously look at all the bad things that might happen.

You ARE strengthening me in this situation.

You ARE holding me and you will uphold me in all the possible situations over the next two days

My spirit relaxed.

  • THIS 2nd workshop went even better.  The changes that both Donna, the other French teacher, and Blaine had suggested worked very well.  I felt that I fairly showcased the techniques.  These mostly Spanish teachers got to feel what it is like to be taught a foreign language using TPRS.  Their energy built me up and I was able to give it back to them.  God enabled me to think on my feet and together we created a story about a lady who wanted to dance the tango.  The two men in the group were good sports and played the game well.
  • God revealed a surprising thought to me yesterday as I was relaxing into a very welcome nap:  Now that I have presented two regional workshops, I no longer have any grounds for thinking I can’t do TPRS well.  I am competent.  Of course I will continue to work on the many skills that go into making a good TPRS teacher.  But I have barred the door, forever, to indulging in negativity.

I CAN do all things through Him who strengthens me.  It’s okay to be a jar of clay, a cracked pot, when you have the God of the universe upholding you!  Thank you, Lord.  And thank you dear faithful friends who prayed and encouraged me.