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Only when I focus on Him can He accomplish His work through me.
        by Gracie Rosenberger

    "Who is she?" The question seemed loud enough for everyone in the entire ballroom to hear. Two women sitting at the table near us carried on a conversation and a critique of all the participants in the annual celebrity golf classic and concert held in Lexington, Kentucky.
    "She's obviously not that important, because her picture's not even in the program."
    Cringing, I felt like crawling under the table and waiting until everyone left. Already several well-known names had left the stage to thunderous applause; I panicked while wondering how I could compete with these people. To top it off, I was going on before the superstar closing acts.
    "I can't do this; they're going to boo me off the stage," I hissed at my husband, feeling sick with fear.
He shrugged and laughed, "Of course you can. What's the problem?" Mentally going over my inspirational and religious songs, I looked over the audience and felt my stomach drop. "This is not my environment," I thought. "I can't win these people over. They want to be entertained by real pros, not some girl with metal legs."
    Earlier that year, I removed the cosmetic covering on my artificial legs so I could get into the water. I never seemed to get around to having them replaced, so it left me with legs that my family called "Terminator legs" after Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie character. Uncovered legs made my life easier, and if it didn't bother me, I figured it shouldn't bother anyone else. Now, however, I began to regret the decision a little.
    Reaching out, my husband put his hand on my shoulder and smiled, "Relax and be true to who you are. Don't worry, you'll be fine!" Why did he act so calm? Didn't he know the big names in the audience? It's not fair; he loves doing this sort of thing, while I am a nervous wreck.
    "Please welcome. Gracie."
    "Oh God, help me!" I muttered under my breath, feeling like I was going to throw up.
    "C'mon babe, let's go," my seemingly nonchalant husband said while helping me stand. Walking to the stage, passing the women who had written me off as a nobody, I struggled up the stairs and willed myself to center stage. Whispering a quick prayer of thanks for the blinding lights that obscured the hundreds of faces I knew were scrutinizing not just me, but the exposed robotic-looking legs below my knee length skirt, I grabbed the microphone and held on for dear life. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw superstar comedian Jeff Foxworthy sitting in the front row. I quickly turned away and stared into the blackness behind the lights as my husband's hands glided over the piano to begin the song. As the band joined in, I felt more focused on the message I was singing:

    You don't have to worry
    And don't you be afraid
    Joy comes in the morning,
    Troubles, they don't last always

    Oh there's a friend named Jesus
    Who will wipe your tears away
    And if your heart is breaking
    Just lift your hands and say

    I know that I can make it
    I know that I can stand
    No matter what may come my way
    My life is in your hands

    The fear faded as I remembered the meaning of this song and why I chose to perform it that night. I remembered the compulsion that drove me to tell people that our worries, fears, and heartaches can really be trusted to our Heavenly Father---just like I have everyday since my 1983 car wreck that not only cost me over 60 operations, but eventually my legs.
    Halfway through the song, I felt my heart would break with the knowledge that there were people in that audience with shattered lives just like mine, and they needed to hear someone tell them that God does care. They needed to hear hope, from someone who once lost it.
    I stopped worrying about singing and remembered my mission: not to entertain, but to uplift. Someone in that room needed to know God was still in the business of redemption, and that night the responsibility fell on my shoulders to make sure I bore witness to what I know to be true.
    I vaguely remember finishing and felt surprised to see the audience standing with a roaring applause. Walking back to my seat I noticed the women who earlier dismissed me, only to see them with tears in their eyes waiting to hug me. Maybe they were the ones who needed to hear about God's faithfulness.
    Once again, I felt humbled to remember it isn't about me; it's about Him. His Holy Spirit can be my only source of strength as God breathes the specific message He wants to communicate through my life. Only when I focus on Him---and not my worries, my disability, my weaknesses, or any success---can He accomplish His work through me.

    What about you? Are you willing to allow God to use you in spite of your weaknesses? Are you relying on His Holy Spirit as your source of strength?
    God wants to be our leverage in living, empowering us to feel better about ourselves, more excited about our future, more grateful for those we love and more enthusiastic about our faith.

    If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:

    Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have sinned against you by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ's death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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