Sitting on my back patio spending quiet time in the Word, I knew that God was calling me to take a risk. I knew that he was dogging me to volunteer for something that I would love to do. I also knew I was choosing to follow His lead, not just attempt to do something to make me look or feel good. I broached the subject with my husband to see what he thought about the volunteer position.
His response, “Go for it, Honey. Just don’t be hurt if they say ‘no’.”
Ouch! That would be the hard part. What if the person I needed to ask said ‘no’? Could I live with the embarrassment?
Before I put my neck out there, I decided to let my kids know what I was thinking. It would mean that they would need to be responsible for dinner and cleanup one night a week and would need to make sure any homework that needed to be reviewed was complete before 5:00.
Getting the thumbs up on the family front, I ventured the call. Trembling, I decided the make the offer informal. “Would you like to bring your kids over to swim in our neighborhood pool?”
We spent almost two hours sitting by the pool while our tweens swam. The longer we talked, the more comfortable I became at sharing my story. You know the one…the story of all the good, bad, and ugly that had gone in my life and how I thought God was calling me to this ministry. After all, that’s what this ministry was all about! Being brave enough to go out on a limb because God was calling me to action!
As our time came to a close, the ministry leader looked at me and said, “Debbie, I think it is great that God is calling you to do something. Just know that we are fully staffed right now and I really don’t have anything for you to do. Thanks for letting me know. Maybe God’s got something else out there for you.”
My heart nearly dropped out of my chest. It took everything within me to rein my emotion in and keep the tears from falling. Honestly, I wanted to grab her and shake her and tell her that God was asking me to do this! How could she possibly turn me down like that?
At dinner, Dave and the kids couldn’t wait to hear how my meeting went. With bowed head I admitted that they didn’t need me. “I really thought God wanted me to do this. Guess I didn’t have the timing right,” I responded through a cracked voice.
Even though the kids tried to cheer me up telling me what the ministry was missing out on, the lies continued to bombard me. “You aren’t anyone to them. You’re not good enough. What did you think, asking them to be part of the ministry? Now they know what a loser you really are!” And the self-defeating voices continued through the night.
Still in pj’s the next morning, I grabbed my Bible and sauntered into my office to close out the world. God and I needed to have a talk! “Why, God? Why did you have me make a fool of myself?” After letting Him know how frustrated I was and letting Him know that I didn’t understand why He had set me up for failure, His Word came loud and clear:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
And I kept reading.
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”
“Lord, I am so sorry. You are right! The lies I’m hearing in my head right now are taking me captive. I am your creation. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You made me who I am and you’ve asked me to do this ministry. Lord, I do not doubt what you’ve asked me to do, but now, Lord, I’m going to throw it back in your lap. I’ve contacted the ministry leader and now I’m going to patiently wait on you to let the ministry leader know that she is supposed to ask me to participate. But God, could you hurry up and let her know that she needs me? I really hate this waiting process. I promise that I will choose to not take it personally. I know that you’ve designed me to do this and you are calling me. I’m going to choose to be still and wait to see that You are God in this situation.”
By the time dinner rolled around, each of my children had separately asked me how I was doing. They knew I had been “turned down, excluded, or not chosen” (their words). It was a great opportunity to model “choosing” to let God work the details and not allowing myself to believe the lies that I hadn’t really heard God’s voice or had gotten it wrong or was a “nobody”. I assured them that I wasn’t going to wrap my identity up in this setback. “I’m going to let God sort it out,” became my mantra.
Two weeks later, God showed up big time! “Debbie, would you still be interested in working with us this year? I had someone step down for the Fall session and think you would be a perfect fit.”
Wow! A lot of learning took place over dinner table discussion that night! I was so glad that I had allowed my tweens and teen to see me hit a roadblock of life. I thanked God that He had given me the ability of waiting on Him to be modeled well for my children. Sharing where I was at with my children, at a time of feeling like a failure, has given us lots of opportunity for discussion for when they are “turned down, excluded, or not chosen” (my words.)
Dare you to be vulnerable with your kids when opportunity arises so they can learn from you how to “be still and watch God work in their lives.”
“Let go…and let God,”