We had planned, prepared, and prayed for the Weekend to Remember marriage conference in Bermuda. As Drew began, I thought about his challenge earlier. “Kit, this could be our last opportunity to present a Weekend to Remember. Let’s trust God to make it our finest hour.”
I didn’t feel my best from a sore throat caught on a previous trip. But each of us had persevered in difficult conditions previously. Drew looked at me, our signal for me to begin. I opened my mouth and couldn’t believe what came out . . . nothing. I had no voice. Actually, I had a very scratchy voice barely audible with my microphone. The audience cringed thinking I was in pain. No voice? The beginning of a full conference? How could this happen?
Drew and I have a contingency plan for almost any situation. You wouldn’t believe all the hurdles we’ve jumped over speaking internationally. But losing my voice had never occurred to us. Watching the reaction of the audience when I did manage to get a squeak out convinced me that I was a distraction. They seemed to be suffering as much as me. I told my first story, but then motioned to Drew to read the text in the manual. After the first talk, we did a little regrouping–more for Drew–less for me. We managed to get through the first night.
Back in our room, I had a heart to heart with the Lord. In truth, my prayers came out like a one way conversation. “I mean really? Lose my voice at a conference? What are we going to do?” I just couldn’t get over the challenge we faced.
Before I fell asleep Drew gently reminded me about the verses we had chosen for the year.“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed: perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-10) He tried to encourage me that despite some troubles, we were not beaten. I mumbled something like, “Seems like we’re beaten to me.”
Morning came and miraculously my voice came back. Don’t I wish? But that was not the case. We spent the next hour rearranging our notes so that I would share my personal stores and Drew would do everything else. Once we began, my voice did seem a bit stronger, but as the day went on my voice weakened.
The audience was so gracious. They brought me cups of hot water, lemon, and honey to drink. Unfortunately, I only felt worse not being able to deliver the materials in the best possible way. I was crushed. Drew rose to the crisis with what I think was his best, most entertaining presentation ever. And he assured me that the audience appreciated me for my obvious struggle to serve them well.
After the conference one of the organizers said to me, “Kit, I know that losing your voice was hard for you. But I have to say that I think the audience benefitted by seeing a husband and wife working together as a team under difficult circumstances.” She went on to praise the conference as better than one she had attended in the US.
When we returned home, I wrote one phrase about our trip in my journal, “perplexed, but not in despair.” I still can’t believe I lost my voice. Surely that conference was not our finest hour. Or was it?