Doesn't life have the strangest sense of humor?
I was scheduled to speak at my first international ladies conference. The date had been booked over a year in advance, but there was one looming problem — I looked like I was 12 months pregnant!
I was, in fact, only eight months along, but I can assure you the standing-room-only auditorium full of "ladies who lunch" all but gasped as I waddled onto the stage. I was pregnant with our daughter, Destiny, who began practicing her extreme modern dance choreography in the womb. I should have known better than to begin by singing "Ready For Battle" because once she heard the primal drumbeat, the gyrating began with a vengeance! I held my mic in one hand and patted my rolling belly with the other in a futile attempt to calm her down.
To make matters worse, my poor choice of wardrobe — a flowing chiffon sheath — was literally dancing around me with her every karate kick and arm extension. The giggles started mounting like a sport's fan wave from the back to the front of the crowd. By the time I finished the song, some of the women were crying with laughter.
At that moment, I made the decision to get over the embarrassment, forgive their insensitivity to a pathetic pregnant woman, see the humor in it all and just go with it. I also chose to forgive my husband Dony for pressing me to keep my commitment to speak, even though I was as big as a barn!
"I'm not really pregnant," I smiled. "I accidentally swallowed my washing machine and it's stuck on the spin cycle!"
After the audience regained some composure, I began teaching on "the authority of the queen" — how Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father and has given us the keys of His kingdom. Just before I was introduced, a group of young girls had shared a delightful skit and left their props on stage, which included an old overstuffed armchair. Well, I am such a visual learner, I saw the perfect opportunity to demonstrate my point. So I plopped down in the sagging cushion and began to teach from my throne of authority. Only one problem — my huge pregnant self couldn't get back up out of the chair!
Finally, two dear female ushers who were trying their best to maintain some composure came to my rescue. They each took their battle station on opposite sides of the chair and tried to gracefully hoist me out. I arched my back and valiantly tried to push up and out, kind of belly first. The problem: that morning I had put on a pair of maternity pantyhose. Well, I guess the strain of Destiny's gymnastics and my pushing out of the chair were just too much. The elastic waistband popped and suddenly I had pantyhose at my knees! I eased back into the chair and howled along with hundreds of other women.
Suddenly, my friend Judy appeared from the wings carrying a large cloth and a pair of scissors. She motioned for the ushers to hold up the drape in front of me, and before you could say, "No she didn't," she knelt down and cut off my pantyhose and stuffed them in her pocket! With a regal "ta-da" they swept away the curtain, and the three of them finally lifted me from my throne. Needless to say, the dignity of that meeting was never fully recovered.
Funny, I received more letters from that service than perhaps any other single time I've spoken. Women shared that they laughed more then they had in years, and because I could laugh with them, it helped them be able to not be so uptight and feel free to laugh at themselves.
My one regret? That my friend Tori Taff wasn't there. It would have been comedic fodder for her for years!
As Ms. Gloria says, "We made a memory!"