Sunday, September 28, 2014

Beyond the Stain

The beautiful and talented song writer,
Denise Nicholes!
This weekend I had the joy to attend the California Free Will Baptist Women's Retreat - for my 10th time...and boy, was it a fantastic weekend filled with much needed refreshment and encouragement!

This year's theme was, "Journey to Joy".  A dear friend of mine (and my mentor!), Amberly Neese, was the main speaker for the event.  Although she was the main speaker, I had the honor of being asked to speak for a 20 minute segment during the weekend.

Many of you read my initial post about my photo going viral in my last blog entry,  The Face that went Viral.  I plan to post a follow-up, written, entry on my story soon, but  for now I have decided to post the video of my talk...My talk in which I tell the story verbally, but in addition, the journey to joy that I've experienced - even in the midst of the hardship of the last two months.  (Please keep in mind - it's not a professional video by any means, and it was my first time speaking on the topic.)

(For some reason, not all devices are showing all the videos I'm sharing today.  If you are impacted by this error, I apologize and am working on trying to fix that.  Until then, I'm also including the links.  So, for my personal message/20 minute talk - click here if you cannot see it directly on my blog.)

For those of you wondering, this is the video I had all the ladies watch:

(Please click here if this video doesn't show up directly on my blog.)

After I spoke, and the video was finished, I was surprised when my friend Denise Nicholes (the one who introduced me in the clip) went back to the piano and shared a song that God had given her the lyrics and melody for...a song for my story titled "Beyond the Stain" (my birthmark type is called a port wine stain, and the song was partially inspired by my mom's writing of The Stain). In addition, she even had a video playing in the background with photos from my life as I've grown up.

Instead of showing you the "live" version that I recorded, here is the slideshow and song on video that Denise put together and uploaded to her YouTube account for me:

(If this video isn't showing up directly on your device, please Click Here.)

First off, I have to say - my friend Denise has so much talent and such an amazing skill set, and she is a tremendous blessing!  I'm not even sure how to express how much this song means to me.  As she played it at the retreat, I quite possibly shed a tear or two.   I never expected, or thought, that anyone would ever give me such an incredible gift.  (Seriously, it's one of the best gifts I've ever received.)

Denise captured my story so perfectly with the lyrics and melody, and I can't imagine my story being put any other way in the form of a song...And in a way I can't really explain (yet), this gift has helped bring me a sense of healing.  It has also brought me so much needed encouragement! 

Ever since this whole fiasco started, I have had up and down days - just like I mentioned in my talk.  I've had days wondering if I should change my makeup to hide the birthmark so strangers can meet and see me before they have a chance to see my difference.  I've even become extra anxious about the idea of going out in public after future treatments...Yet, knowing that God gave her a song for me to write, it was as if I were hearing from God directly with Him saying, "Keep going!  You can do this!  Keep telling your story - do not hide who you are.  You have a team of support surrounding you, including people like Denise...but more importantly, I am with you always.  You are not alone.  I'm going to do something great with your story if you continue to be willing to be used."

Thanks to Denise, not only am I a super hero, but I have a theme song that fits perfectly for my life.

I hope you enjoyed the song as much as I have been enjoying it.

Thank you, Denise!!

The Travelin' Chick,

PS: If you ever need a speaker for any event - please consider my friend Amberly! She is wonderful. Her website is linked above (if you click on her name in the second paragraph). For a taste of her speaking style, though, check out her YouTube clip as well!

(If the video doesn't show up on your device, Click Here.)