In one week I will be preaching the sermon at my church. It will be by far the most personal, most vulnerable, and most unresolved talk I’ve given to a Sunday morning crowd. I’ve shared intimate aspects of my stories and women’s and youth retreats, and I’ve openly shared difficult and personal (but resolved) bits of my testimony in Sunday morning gatherings. But this story is still raw, still incomplete. This evening I shed tears talking through the points of the sermon with friends. The pain of loss is still fresh, and closure is still a distant reality.

People have asked me how I feel about preaching this time around. My response has been, “fine.” Because that’s the best answer I have when I feel so many different emotions so strongly at the same time. Am I nervous about the public speaking? Sure. Am I already agonizing over what to wear? Yes. Have I spent time preparing? Absolutely – I’ve been through journals and websites and Scripture, filling pages with notes and organizational ideas. But do I know what I want people to walk away with? No. Do I have answers to the questions I’ll be raising? Nope again. Am I sure I won’t break down into a weepy puddle? Absolutely not.

I am preaching this Sunday because my pastor asked me to and I think it will be healthy for my relationship with my church. I’m doing it because I am fortunate enough to be in a faith community that wants to hear the voices of both men and women in harmony, and I want my voice to stand in for those who are not so fortunate. I’m doing it because those close to me believe this part of my journey is worth sharing.

In the end, I’m preaching this Sunday because it’s a clear opportunity for me to pass on the legacy of everything I think Cornerstone was intended to impart. I am a woman with a voice, a community that values me as such, and a story of redemption in the unlikeliest of places. My hope, my prayer, is that this message will reach those who need to know that there is room for them at the table of faith, room for them and all their questions and doubts and baggage. I hope it reaches the person wandering in the wilderness of isolation, feeling out of place and rejected, and gives them the strength to reach out for a hand to hold. I hope it reaches the person lost in a spiritual desert, desperate with thirst for a drop of Living Water, and offers them hope. I hope to honor the legacy of my home in the desert.


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