By Annmarie Miles
About ten years ago, I was at a birthday party in a friend’s house. At the end of the night, the stragglers were sitting around the host’s kitchen table, chatting and drinking tea. The host’s dad joined us, and a conversation ensued about how I’d ended up living so far from home and married to a Welshman. Not one for refusing the opportunity to tell a story, I regaled the table with my journey of faith, my realisation of God at different times in my life, my world-changing connection with Him at 22, and my weak attempts to live as He would want me to since then.
Back at work on Monday, the birthday boy thanked me for sharing so honestly with his dad. He asked me to continue to pray for him to believe and follow Christ. Not for one moment had it occurred to me that anyone around the table did not share my beliefs; I just presumed I was preaching to the choir.
To my shame, my first reaction to realising that I’d poured out the Director’s Cut of my story to someone who didn’t believe in God was horror. I apologised profusely to my friend, but he was delighted. He told me that as I was talking, he was saying to inwardly, “Yes Amo! You go for it. Tell him…” I was saying things to his dad that he would never have been able to; he was grateful. I was embarrassed.
You see, I always had myself down as a rubbish evangelist. There’s a song we sing in our church in which, the last line of the chorus says, “and you’re now at work in me to change the world.” I never used to sing that line because it felt like I was lying. How could I change the world? I was too chicken to share Jesus with anyone. Mission trips always filled me with dread. Street evangelism, Holiday Bible Clubs – I just wanted to run away. I always felt like a failure when it came to evangelism.
I learned after that night that I can tell a story. I can tell my story. That’s what I’m good at; it’s where my strength is. It’s where my honesty is. It’s where my humour is. It’s where my ability to ‘evangelise’ is.
It took me years to get it, but we’re not all called to stand on street corners or go to a far-flung country. Some of us are, but some of us are simply called to tell stories and drink tea.
Now THAT I can do!
Annmarie Miles is originally from Tallaght, now living in her husband Richard’s homeland, Wales. If you’d like to read more between VOX Magazines, her blog is called Just Another Christian Woman Talking Through Her Hat.The Long & the Short of it, her first collection of short stories, can be found at www.annmariemiles.com/books, or you can pick it up in Footprints bookshops in Dublin.