Speaking By Faith (A.K.A. What You Do When You Toss Your Talk) - Sarah Mae
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Speaking By Faith (A.K.A. What You Do When You Toss Your Talk)

Psst…you can see my talk here.

I threw out my talk for Killer Tribes…the night before I was to give it.

I was at the speaker/attendee meet-up, and one of my friends, Annie, said, “we just want to hear your story.” I pondered her comment. And then I went outside and asked some people what they thought of marketing and they were all, “we love it!”. So, hmmm. Plan B.

Of which there was none, a plan B, that is.

I went back to the hotel, got settled in around 10pm, and was exhausted. I couldn’t think straight, but I knew I needed to toss my talk. I set my alarm for 5:30am, and went to bed praying, “please give me some clarity of what to say, and please give me a closing story.”

5:30am came quickly, and I headed downstairs to the lobby for a comb (I had forgot to pack something to brush my hair with!). I went to the fitness room and walked on the treadmill awhile and just started practicing what to say. God did give me clarity, and He brought to mind a closing story. I finished my mini-workout, grabbed some breakfast, and headed back to my room to iron my shirt and scribble down some notes on the Hampton Inn notepad. I practiced again. Then it was time to get ready and go. I made it to the church where the conference was being held by 7:15am (registration was at 7:45am). I met the coffee folks from Eurasia cafe; they were great and I loved taking in the delicious coffee aromas, without having any. I checked out the stage, and got myself familiar with the surroundings. I got to meet Mark Hughes (he was another early bird), and then I spent time getting to know the attendees as they were showing up. I am so glad I got there early – I was able to get my bearings and meet people, and apparently, meeting people helps me not to be as nervous (I’m tucking this gem in for the future).

The conference begins, the morning goes fast, and before too long, Tyler is introducing me. Here we go.

I start speaking…and the words come out well…and I’m barely nervous at all! You have to understand, I’m the girl that sweats and gets nervous before doing a scripture reading at church. But there I was, about to wing it (for the most part-I did have some clarity about what I wanted to communicate), and I felt great. I knew had something for the audience, and I felt confident. Craziness.

I spoke for about 24 minutes, and when I was done, I felt exhilarated. I couldn’t believe it went so well. And here is where I say, thank you.

I know that many of you were praying for me (I received your emails, DM’s, and Facebook messages). Thank you. Seriously, thank you! I believe that your prayers carried me.

But the craziest part of all is that God allowed me to speak a message I believe He wanted me to speak. Because my talk turned into something I didn’t plan. By the end, I was encouraging people to make their platform matter with words that matter, and for such a time as this, what are we going to do with what we’ve got? The Holy Spirit just filled me up, and so it went.

All by faith.

By faith I tossed the talk. By faith I prayed for clarity and a story, and He gave me both. And by faith, I spoke, and I loved it, and I believe a good message went out to the attendees.

I wanted to share this story because it’s a God-story. When I wasn’t, He was. He filled the gap. He was my help, and He directed my steps.

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Do you have a story where you had to let go and lean into faith and God made the way? I’d love to hear it.

Print this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666555285 Elisa Pulliam

    So awesome, Sarah Mae!

    Ah yes, I have a story where I tossed an entire session of a retreat to share a personal element I swore would not enter the dialogue.  I feared it being recorded and left for public perusal in the conference store.  But the Holy Spirit urging was too bold to ignore, so I went ahead and shared what was written on my heart.  The response blew me away and confirmed I did what needed to be done.  At the end of the day, the retreat coordinator nearly tackled me with an apology, explaining that the session never recorder.  Even the though the track played, there was no sound.  Hah!  God was in the details.  Funny, I could have just opted to hit mute on the mic, but that never crossed my mind.  I think God wanted me to learn the joy of walking by faith.

  • http://yestheyareallours.com/ Elizabeth

    Great testimony!  Thanks for sharing!  It is so exciting to see what God does when we step out in faith!  

    Love Elisa’s testimony here as well — so precious!


    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Yes it is!

  • http://memyselfandmercy.blogspot.com/ Mary Bonner

    If I had counted the number of times I thought of you and your family and said a prayer for you while you were away, I would need multiple hands!  You were on my mind so much.  I am glad you had the courage and faith to listen to your heart and follow His lead.  He always blesses us when we do that, doesn’t he?!?

    I have done a lot of public speaking over the years and the best talks are often the ones that involve tossing the script at the last minute.

    You are an inspiration!  Thank you.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Mary, I thought of you praying for me! Thank you so, so much!

  • Jenny @ Monkey Toes

    Congratulations on a job well done!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae


  • Beth Williams

    Congratulations on doing a terrific God-driven job!! 

    Iget nervous just getting in front of a group of people.  Here I was in church–doing some basic sign language to Contemporary Christian Music & the music director asks me to go up in front of everyone and redo this song “You are my All in All”.  I had no idea what I was doing–I just faked it for the most part.  God got me through it.

    Later she asked me if I would do this periodically for special music.  Now that I’ve done it a few times–it seems natural and rather easy to pick songs.

    In every circumstance I think “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      That is so cool! I love how He fills the gaps!

  • http://rachelmariemartin.blogspot.com/ rachel @ finding joy

    Well done, Sarah Mae! What a testimony to following the prodding that one is giving and for walking out in faith and “Tossing the talk” !  I’ve always found that when I’ve spoke my talk seems to never follow the exact words — as I pray for the wisdom to diverge if I feel led. 
    It sounds like you did a killer job at Killer Tribes! And thank you for being such a testimony!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Thank you for your encouraging words, Rachel! I’m just so thankful it all worked out!

  • http://www.sonyamacdesigns.com/ sonyamacdesigns

    Thanks for shareN your awesomeness, just a few weeks ago … I too, had to let go and let HIM speak in a church business meeting. I found that when I honored him with my first words … the remaining words were HIS.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Amazing, isn’t it?!

  • http://twitter.com/kristenkill KristenKill

    Oh I am so blessed to hear your story here and to see how God continues to knit your words together to gather others around to revel in what he is doing and to bring him glory. You are amazing! Love you!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Very cool, indeed!

  • http://twitter.com/BrookeWrites Brooke McGlothlin

    So proud of you!

    • http://www.sarahmae.com/ Sarah Mae

      Thank you, Brooke! 🙂

  • http://altarofheaven.wordpress.com/ arcelia

    Praising God Sarah Mae…God really had you on my heart and I couldn’t help but pray without ceasing, especially after reading your heart about leaving your children (I understand) and God sees your heart and He looks to and fro looking to strengthen those whose heart is completely His–you have His new heart and His Spirit in you.  I prayed because you had such an awesome opportunity to sow and water His seed and you were faithful!! I rejoice with you, I rejoice with the surrender and truly see when we are weak He is strong.  I am so encouraged Sara Mae! I prayed that your utterances would be His and thought about what Jesus told the disciples when they would be brought before governors and kings for His sake…”But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.  For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” 

    Yes I know what you are talking about it has happening more and more when I surrender…this happened to me again last night and a friend texted me,

    “Thank you for sharing the Word the Holy Spirit gave to you! I could feel the quickening of your heart nd the love that steered your words. I love you!” 

    I ditto that comment to you…Sarah Mae you are filled with the Holy Spirit and you surrendered and obeyed and did not quench Him–that is the exhilaration you felt! 

    Thanking God for your obedience…indeed you walk and live by faith…

    “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”” Romans 1:17

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      I’m telling you, it was the prayers from friends like you, combined with His faithfulness and plan. Thank you a million times over. 

  • http://www.anothernewseason.com Donna S

    I love stories like that! I love the way God sometimes takes our best laid plans and change them around for us. I’m sure you did amazing! I’m sure you’re happy to be back home though 😉 

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      I happy to be back, but I had a wonderful time!

  • http://altarofheaven.wordpress.com/ arcelia

    P.S. when I was in the military and I had to be away from my family for long hours I would say, ‘I’m gonna make this count…’ Now I still say that…but I want it to count for ‘God’s Kingdom’ and I know unless He builds I build in vain–you know that Truth and you made an investment for the kingdom–you made it count…enjoy your sweet family as He refreshes you all and restores the time…

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Yes! I kept saying that to myself, if I’m away for my family, this better count! I’m going to make it count!

  • http://twitter.com/countingjoys Katie Kafoure

    Hey Sarah Mae!  I was totally encouraged by you at Killer Tribes this weekend!  I just enjoy writing, and wasn’t really sure what my purpose in it is, or even if I should actually pursue it.  But it was so great to hear your story, and how the Lord is using your knack for writing to impact lives and bless your family!  I think I’ll keep it up & trust the Lord to use it how He wants to!  (By the way, thanks for being so friendly and meeting me in the bathroom!  I was kinda nervous & didn’t know what to say, so I just wondered off.  And later wished that I’d talked with you more & hoped that I didn’t come across as rude!!!)

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      You weren’t rude at all! I’m glad we got to meet, even if it was brief! I can’t wait to see your journey unfold! I’m a fan now!

  • http://theuglyblogling.wordpress.com/ Chelsea Farnsworth

    I think the best stuff comes from ‘just winging it’ and relying on God to provide the words. I’ve been doing this as I start (yesterday!) a series on Depression  on my blog. I have no idea what I’m doing, what I’m going to write about, or anything other than I’ve been told, by God, to write. I’m simply spending a lot of time in prayer and asking God to use me to say what needs to be said.

    Don’t ask me to do public speaking (yet!), and good for you for having the courage to stick to your guns and trusting God! 

    I think the exhilaration comes from seeing God’s providence unfold before your eyes. Best.Feeling.Ever.

    Have a great week Sarah Mae!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      I still believe in practicing and doing the work, but holding your hand open for what the Lord will do. Because I had been preparing the talk for awhile, and practicing, I did have the info in my head, which helped my confidence tremendously – it made it easier to change things. 🙂

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=21403276 Carolyn Svellinger

    That is wonderful!  Having Faith, I believe makes me a stronger person. I feel at peace in matters that the average Joe/Jane tends to have great anxiety.  As the years go by with my little boys, I have gained such deep grace by letting go have having faith and peace.  

    And I hope you’d agree with me: Don’t you feel more satisfied, more complete, knowing that God carried your burden for you? That you don’t have to rely solely on yourself during challenging times?  It is a mysterious miracle and I am thankful to know Jesus.  I’m so happy your talk/conference went well!  Thank you for your inspiration!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Oh, absolutely! 

  • Us2walls

    That had to be God, Sarah, cause I know that was way beyond your comfort zone.  I’m sure folks were blessed by what you had to say as you allowed God to speak through you.  See you soon when I get back from MN.  Love you!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Can’t wait to see you, Ginny, I miss you!

  • http://twitter.com/croyseniles Christine Niles

    You sure seemed natural up there!  I loved hearing your story and knowing that I don’t have to be all perfect and have the right connections on Day 1.  I have a voice.  I have something to say.  You showed me the inherent value in that:  “If you know who you are and the message is good enough to share, it’ll work”  That’s inspiration!  Thanks!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      I’m SO happy you were inspired Christine! I can’t wait to follow along on your unfolding journey! 

  • http://themarriagechecklist.com/ Dr. Ann

    Sarah Mae,
    I loved this story!  I’m gearing up to speak tomorrow, and just found a lot of encouragement in the idea of not aiming to be “on” but letting God use me, in all ways at all times. Thanks.  Post a video of your talk, if you’ve got it!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      I’ll post it this week on itstheidea.com. 🙂

  • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

    You were like a female Chuck Norris just kicking everyone’s butt there (in a good way)! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experiences with us all!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Haha! Thanks, Jim! 🙂

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trina-Holden/515132083 Trina Holden

    Thank you so much for sharing this story, for being so real, for letting us come along side you. I needed to hear this, especially as I prepare for a speaking engagement in the fall. 🙂

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      You’re going to own it! 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1486806950 Jamerrill Stewart

    Wow, Sarah…this really blessing me.  I have several speaking engagements coming up and I want it to be all *HIM* and none of *ME*.  Thank you for sharing your story, friend!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      So glad it blessed you! You’ll do great!

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Your message was clear and compelling. You were awesome.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Thank you! Big happy 🙂

  • http://www.kellenfreeman.net Kellen Freeman

    I wasn’t able to make it to the conference, but from watching Twitter, I’d say a lot of people enjoyed what you had to say. The tweets had your name in them for awhile.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      I saw that later, and I think it’s really pretty neat. It was a great conference, if you can every go, you should consider it. 🙂

  • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

    Your plan “B” seemed like your plan “A”.  What a testimony to truly stepping out in faith.  Your story was amazing and I’m glad you chose to speak about what you did.  I was floored by your presentation and glad I got to speak with you.

    I had a similar situation just the day before, when our family did our “debt-free scream” on The Dave Ramsey Show.  We have been waiting over 4 years to talk to Dave, and there we were in his lobby, on the radio with 5 million listeners…and I totally blanked on the things I wanted to say.  

    Those who heard it said I sounded great, but I did not respond to any questions the way I had planned on over and over in my mind.  (i.e; When he asked how my cancer surgery went, I told him it was a minor procedure.  What was that about?)

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Hey there! It was great talking to you at the conference! Thanks for your kind words. I was telling people about you, how you got to do the Dave Ramsey scream! Haha! Way to go!

      It’s weird how our minds take over, right?!

  • http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com/ Dionna

    One of my favorite verses.

  • http://aboverubies.net/ jasmine

    Fantastic, Sarah Mae. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and be filled continually.

  • Kristine McGuire

    This is awesome. You want to know the truth? The best experiences I have as a speaker are when I toss the notes and trust God for the words. People relate to story so much more than slick presentation.

  • StopnSmellChocolates

    I just love that story my friend!!  So glad you shared it with us all to inspire us.  God is SO good!  🙂

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ HopefulLeigh

    Sarah Mae, you truly had one of the best talks that day- and there was a whole lot of greatness going on at Killer Tribes. I’m still amazed that you threw out your first talk and managed to not only do well but inspire all of us the way you did.  Go you and go God!

    I just wish I’d been able to meet you at some point that weekend. Hopefully we’ll get a chance at Allume Social.

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