When you're asked to preach a sermon . . .

This past weekend, I tried something new . . . something I never had envisioned myself doing - I preached a sermon.  I somehow managed to graduate from bible college without ever delivering a sermon, so when our pastor approached me this summer about preaching, I was both nervous and excited to try something a bit outside of my comfort zone. 

I was not prepared for just. how. challenging. it was going to be.  

Let's be clear about one thing - the enemy is not a fan of truth being proclaimed.  PERIOD.  The attacks prior to delivering the sermon were brutal - Tanner and I were at odds with one another, our girls were sick and fussy, I (randomly) got poison ivy so bad that I had to start taking steroids (which DO NOT help you act nice).  Life felt insane, and yet somehow, I was trying to grasp at some sort of peace, calm, and depth to prepare to deliver a message to my community of faithful sojourners.  

I have an entirely new appreciation for those that prepare and deliver sermons week after week.  Sure, I had all the stress that you would perhaps expect - I wanted to treat Scripture with integrity, I desired to be accurate in my interpretation and presentation of the text, and it remained paramount that the good news of Jesus' life, death and resurrection be proclaimed.  Also, I desperately wanted to be true to the journey of faith that God has had me on.  And so, as I attempted to hold all of these desires together in a creative tension of sort, what came of it was a message that I pray God uses to continue to encourage others in their own faith journey.  

It's a message about suffering and pain, yet simultaneously, a hopeful reflection that I pray encourages you to find even the tiniest of space in your heart today to believe that redemption really is beautiful and is already at work. 

Below is the audio of the sermon from our church, St. Mary of Bethany Parish, here in Nashville, TN.