Do you ever find yourself in those moments where there really is no manual for how to handle the situation? I’m not talking about using the right silverware or wearing white after Labor Day; I’m talking about those moments when there is no etiquette book to follow and no real grasp on what is supposed to be right.
Welcome to my life.
Whether it’s trying to eat
a salad or get in my jeep while wearing a dress, I find myself in a number of awkward spots quite frequently. Most of the time, quite honestly, I just give up thinking there are any rules. I stuff my face and hope the food all makes it in – it does not always happen. I throw my leg into my jeep and do a little hop and say a little prayer that I make it – please don’t tell my mother.
And I find that most of the time there is more grace than I expect. Or, more accurately, I think people don’t care.
People are not preoccupied by my eating habits or the way I get in and out of my jeep. Even in my wildest moments I am pretty tame. The reality is that my decisions about these actions do not make a difference other than to make me giggle.
Because there is no real risk here. Other than offending someone I may not even notice, there is no real cause of concern.
But there is still a nod to the deeply engrained social expectations of ladylike manner, which I probably should have given up on at the ripe age of ten – or when I bought my jeep.
So it comes back to what is acceptable, what are the expectations?
I really hate these questions. Not just because I think they are vague and culturally driven, but I think there are better ones.
What is the best? What is the best I can do?
I think I have overlooked intention out of laziness and called it productivity. I think I have become so overwhelmed in multitasking that the act or habit of the accomplishment has lost any meaning other than a means to an efficient end.
I crave more than efficiency. I desire intentionality. I want the best.
How do I do that?
It. Is. Hard.
It means taking the small steps to create painfully boring habits to build up the necessary character to produce the best.
That’s what it has boiled down to – the small stuff and a lot of minutes.
It means practicing the hard conversations when you are squirming because you would rather be anywhere than there in that moment staring at the floor, the wall, the clock, the coffee cup, the window or any other inanimate object because you cannot even find the other person’s face much less their eyes.
It means apologizing – often.
It means reigning in the exaggerations to allow words to carry weight and not just hot air.
It means little white lies are no longer cute and are held with as much distain as any other misuse or tangling of the truth.
It means being honest even if it means it does not seem to matter or make sense.
So, here are my honest, weighty words with no vagueness or exaggeration:
I have been given the honor of working with women to minister to women.
This has been the hardest work I have ever done and I would never have chosen this road. Ministry invades of all possible places of life. And women are difficult – they are busy – they are sensitive – they are broken.
Had I not been difficult, busy, sensitive and broken and had my life not been invaded by the mercy of God and the grace given in these places, I would have no understanding of them and I would have missed the best part of my life thus far.
Ministering to broken women may be the hardest work I have ever done, but it is by far the most beautiful work I could ever have the privilege to be a part of.
I have been followed. I have been misunderstood. I have been encouraged. I have been criticized. I have been hugged. I have been hated. I have been honored. I have been ignored. I have been held close. I have been held at arms length. I have cried tears of joy. I have cried more tears of pain.
And I love that God lets me be a part of this – all of this.
And even in all of this, there is an excessive circle of safety to learn how to love and lead and serve.
And here’s my heart being filleted:
*I am leaving this place I have loved with every ounce of my heart, my spirit and my time.
I am leaving women I have been gifted with and have walked with through the unknown praying grace over our steps as we have led together.
I am leaving because God said it’s time and his time is never when I’m ready, but it is always perfect.
And as I leave, there is fear of the failure, there is fear of the forgotten and there is fear of the future.
I have no idea what I’m doing. I never have.
The idea of walking by faith sounds prettier than it is in practice.
So as I walk out this part of the path in absolute faith I find I am comforted in the familiar desperation of need meeting the profound provision of grace.
*I am not leaving ministry or the church or Savannah or my job; rather, I am moving towards a new place of ministry.