I am thrilled to have Paula Sorrells-Beene, friend and teammate from reNEW – retreat for New England Writing, as the #BeBoldGirl this week. When God asks you to step out for him, he will step in and give you boldness, as Paula discovered.
“I’ve written a dramatic monologue and I’d like you to do it.”
What? Me? A solo drama.
I was flattered that she asked. I was excited about the idea. But, wait. I had no experience with solo drama and very little with acting. Oh, sure, I was in The Beverly Hillbillies play my senior year of high school. Played Emmaline Fetty, a con woman claiming she came from back home when in reality she was there to extort money from the Clampetts. But that was years ago. You’ve no idea how many!
Then, I had a small part in a church musical we did a few years back. But still … a solo drama!
“Sure, I’d love to do it!” I wanted to turn around to see who was talking because I was certain it wasn’t me.
“Great. I’ll email the script. Take a look and let me know what you think.” Cathy, my pastor’s wife and dear friend, looked hopeful as I stood trembling beside her. “I wrote this with you in mind. You’ll do great.”
I got home and pulled up the document on my iphone, then printed it out. You know how sometimes when you print from your phone it makes the text really big? Well, four pages of fourteen-point text printed. Four pages. Oh my, what had I gotten myself into?
Have you ever felt really excited and, at the same time, petrified?
I could still say no. But I had told Cathy yes. Could I do this? Could I memorize a four-page script and present it to a group of pastor’s wives? I had three-and-a-half months to prepare. Surely, I could memorize it in that time. Surely.
It was a redemptive story, emotionally stirring, and long. I read it out loud to my husband, Ed. He liked it and encouraged me, telling me he knew I could do it. Cathy had given me permission to rework the script, so Ed and I tweaked it just a little and talked about places to add voice inflection. There were some funny parts, so I wanted to make sure my audience laughed. There were some thought-provoking lines, too. So, I had to learn to pause and give my listeners time to process. Not too much time, but a moment or two.
I knew it would take dedicated preparation time and lots of prayer.
The first time I met with Cathy to go over the monologue, I was a mess. I didn’t know how to start. I felt silly and awkward. Then, when I finally began to speak, it felt like my mouth was stuffed with cotton.
Cathy encouraged me and soon I was able to get the first page behind me. Then, I read the rest and did my best to add timely expression with both voice and action. Cathy made suggestions and showed me how to better express myself at appropriate moments. She seemed pleased. I felt a little more confident.
As the day drew near, anxiety trickled in.
[tweetthis]What if I got up there and forget everything? What if I stood up in front of those pastor’s wives and froze? via @PaulaSoBeene #BeBoldGirl[/tweetthis]
I didn’t want to disappoint Cathy, or all those other women.
The day before the event, Cathy sent me a text. “98 ladies registered.” Oh my!
The day of, I got to the venue while all the ladies were out having dinner. Small, square tables were each set among three chairs in a variety of styles. It felt cozy. The unique room setup encouraged intimacy among the ladies. I began to relax.
Cathy presented her talk, focusing on Sarah from the book of Genesis in the Bible. She also brought the ladies into modern times, weaving threads from the lives of women living in various parts of the world and how, unbeknownst to each, their lives transformed the life of another. It was a message of redemption.
As Cathy concluded her talk, I walked up the aisle in full Sarah costume, women on both sides. About halfway to the front, I became Sarah: “I still can’t believe it. God promised my husband and me something, and it happened … just like He said.”
It was a bold step. A step of bold faith. And yes, with His encouragement and strength, I will again step out boldly to glorify His name.
Paula Sorrells-Beene–writer, blogger, TV show host, speaker. She loves Jesus, dancing, learning, and encouraging others. Although rooted in Texas at birth, Paula now blooms in Connecticut. Paula’s mission is to inspire and encourage readers and listeners to embrace a love that lasts with a God whose love lasts for eternity. Her passion to love God and love people is revealed in her writing and speaking as she weaves biblical principles into everyday life.
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