Friday, February 3, 2012

From 33,970 feet in the air

Back in 1992, Mrs. Ellie Johnson, wife of Dr. Ed Johnson asked me to teach a workshop for mothers of young children at the First Baptist Church Ladies' Extravaganza in Rosemount, MN. My children were still "under construction" at the time, so I didn't know what I was going to say, but I accepted the job. I had already been taught this much: If someone in the ministry asks you to do something and you can do it, do it. So, I started writing a workshop, using Titus 2:3-5 as my text.

Since I had never done this before, I wrote WAY too much material for the 45-minute workshop, holding ladies hostage with my crazy war stories of motherhood as we laughed past the cutoff time. They had to send security (in the form of a hostess) to break up our wayward operation, and I gleeful walked down the hall with a clump of happy Moms to the auditorium. We were all late for the next session, it was my fault, and I didn't even have sense enough to be ashamed of myself. That day, a speaker/teacher was born.

Ten years later, Mrs. Ellie Johnson had a conversation with Mrs. Betty Smith about potential speakers for the Sword Ladies' Jubilee. I blame these two for the fact that my calendar rarely has an empty white square anymore. From what I was told, the conversation went something like this:

Betty to Ellie: "Do you have any good speakers that we could invite to teach at the Jubilee?"
Ellie to Betty: "Oh, you should ask Francie Taylor. She'll do a great job for you!"

I didn't even know what a Jubilee was, and it was going to require flying across the country. I said "yes" with my mouth, but my heart was screaming "What in the WORLD are you agreeing to NOW?"

Fast-forward to February 8, 2012 and this same teacher (I prefer to be called a teacher, because a "speaker" reminds me of those things on the platform where sound comes out) is seated on Delta flight 2159, en route to Los Angeles where I'll catch a connecting flight to Sacramento. I will then be met and driven two hours north to co-teach the ladies' retreat at Shasta Baptist Church in Redding, CA. Not all conferences are so difficult to reach, but some take an entire day of travel. With the time zone difference, I'll be a melted Tootsie Roll with a flattened afro by the end of the day, but I love what I do.

In the twenty years since I first walked into the Johnson Chapel to teach that workshop for young mothers, I have flown all over the United States and even to Canada (the foreign country that doesn't feel foreign), teaching basic Bible principles for women of all ages and stages of life. I still write lessons that are WAY too long for the time allotted, but I know how to edit myself in midair now. I still love to make ladies laugh, because I'm convinced that "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." (Prov. 17:22) I've taught teens and I've taught ladies who could be my Grandmas. When I'm teaching teens, I'm appealing to them as baby sisters. When I teach ladies my age, I appeal to them as sisters in my "time zone." When I teach ladies who are in their later years, I appeal to them as I would my own mother; with utmost respect and full awareness that I could sit at their feet and have them teach me!

I never hung out a shingle that said, "Invite me to teach the Bible to the ladies at your church." This was never in my mind, and I did not go to college to study travel-teaching-101. "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." (I Tim. 1:12) God put me here, and I am humbly aware that the responsibility of teaching is enormous. I think on Scriptural principles and see lessons to be written everywhere I go, all year round. Preparing lessons for conferences, writing books, and now writing for this website is my second full-time job.

My first full-time job is as a wife to Norman H. Taylor and mother to Austen, Hillary and Collin. I love being a wife and a mother, and even though I've not done it perfectly (ask Norman about dinner last night...no, don't ask), I have made it my aim to be pleasing to the Lord in the roles that He has given me. Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to get to know the heart of the teacher behind this website. Some of you are my dear friends, but others were referred here by sister-friends and you may not know me from Adam's housecat. Did Adam even have a housecat, and is "housecat" a compound word?

Come back often, as I will write articles, post in this blog, and answer questions in "Ask the Teacher." Eventually, this will become a spot where you can sit down with a cup of coffee, tea, Teeccino (my personal favorite) or hot chocolate and read things written for Christian woman. Please pray for me. My heart's desire is to be beneficial, bearing fruit that remains.
Keep the heart, Sisters.
Francie
Prov. 4:23

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