Where do I even begin? Do I go back to the days when I used to respond to the “What do you want to be when you grow up” questions with “a writer & a speaker at big conferences”? Do I go back to the night when I was surrounded by the church body & still felt so isolated & alone? Do I go back to 2017, the first year I helped at VBS, the year I was placed with the 10-12 year olds, the year I met 12 year old girls who made me question the ministry I thought I was destined for?
There are so many pieces to the puzzle. Like a volcanic eruption, this is the build up of a million little things, that combined stirred something fierce in my heart & set me into motion. This conference that hasn’t even taken place yet, already affecting hearts & minds & breathing life back into the church. Bringing momentum.
So I’m going to write about The Belonging— the baby steps, the beginning, the middle, & when its time, the event itself. I’m going to tell you this & I hope you can see past me in this story because I mean it with all my heart when I say this isn’t & has never been & will never be about me. This is about God & about these little things he’s done that have caused a big commotion.
My God is using young girls to transform & renew mindsets. To breathe unity into our church again. To bring healing to the sisterhood & show us how its done. My God is raising these girls up, & I want a part in it.
In 2017, my husband & I decided to volunteer at our churches VBS. Having been looking for a way to get involved, I figured this was the safe way. Little kids don’t hold back anything. They don’t make you feel left out. After all, you are the adult, therefore you are semi cool & all the little ones want to sit on your lap & hold your hand walking from class to class & tell you all about their dogs. We ended up being placed with the 10-12 year old girls. I was honestly a little scared, as they aren’t really anything I had bargained for. They probably wouldn’t think I was as cool as the four year olds. They were probably going to be a little intimidating.
So those couple days, I stuck with the outcasts of the group. The girls who seemed to have trouble fitting in were the ones I made sure I hung back with, because I didn’t want them to be left out & I felt like out of anyone, they needed me the most. & you know whats crazy? I was wrong.
God may have used me with those girls, but the ones who continued to come up to me in church & give me hugs & make me presents & talk about life were the ones who I thought had it all together. A couple of them were always going out of their way to come find me to say hi.
One day, we went to a church function & accidentally showed up too early. For those of you who don’t know what I consider too early, too early can be defined by anytime I show up before my mom arrives. Because I hadn’t really gotten close to anyone at the church yet, I didn’t dare arrive before my only friend arrived. & this time, I had done the deed. I had not timed out my trip as well as I’d hoped, thinking since in my mom’s mind to be on time is to be late that she would never fail me.
So we showed up early, & there were some people there, but not my mom. Now here is where I want to say I’m not trying to be weird here & make anyone feel bad or feel like I’m accusing them of being bad christians or anything. In all fairness, I’m only a fraction of this story. & I wouldn’t share it if I didn’t think we could all benefit from hearing it.
Lets keep going. Remember, no hard feelings. No pointing the finger. I’m trying to be vague but still get the job done so no one places themselves in this story.
We were early, my youngest was such a little newbie, I was hormonal, & I was alone. My husband had gone off to find the men, & there I was by myself not wanting to intrude on conversations & also not wanting to seem like I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was an awkward struggle bus. But anyways, no one talked to me. I felt so alone, like I did at a lot of church functions. I felt like I just couldn’t find common ground with anyone that would lead into real deep friendships. I was in a hard spot, feeling like I didn’t belong, like I couldn’t relate, like I could never build friendships with these people who already had built great deep friendships that had clearly weathered some storms. As I was sitting there, pretending to text my mom at a table by myself so I wouldn’t look as alone as I felt, in walked two of the girls I had been with in VBS. Two twelve year old girls, waiving to me from afar & coming right up to me. As I walked in their direction, I felt God saying, instead of looking for a way in, reach out. Use this stage I’ve given you.
So that is the exact moment that led to Tuesdays With The Girls, a bible study the takes place every Tuesday at our house.
So here’s what this is not about: figuring out the event details I’m talking about. Because honestly, I can barely remember specific details beside what I shared. This isn’t about the drama, this is about something greater being set into motion.
& here’s what we can take away: baby steps. Stop overthinking & just run before your brain catches up. It’s my new motto. So much of my life I’ve allotted to talking myself out of things & risk assessing God’s direction in my life before being obedient & telling myself because of my circumstances I can’t follow his call.
But when I stopped listening to the voices telling me it was too late or I’d have to wait, here’s what happened: I signed up & completed the class in my church that is a prerequisite to teach at our church, a class that started around the time when I was 8 months pregnant with my youngest & ended when he was about 3 months old. I started a small group at my house with two little ones two & under based on my relationships with a couple girls, not knowing who would even show or what adults would let their daughters show. I asked my pastor about doing a conference & didn’t make it smaller to fit what other’s saw as doable. & all of these things I share because I want you to look at God in all of these situations. Your circumstances have no correlation to what God can accomplish through you.
So you’re a new mom…
So you’ve never stepped out before…
So you don’t know who will show…
So you don’t know how the big picture will be accomplished…
There is enough time & energy for this, too. Sometimes I think one of Satan’s biggest schemes has to do with telling us by adding ‘this’ to our schedule, we’ll run ourselves thin. I believed it for so long, thinking if I added this to my schedule, I would never have time to clean my house, have personal study time, be able to thrive in my business, or have quality family time. I believed the lie that there wasn’t time & there wasn’t enough energy. But God made room & I’m trusting he’ll do the same for you, too. Now, I am not telling you to overbook yourself & add a million new things to your schedule. But I am telling you if there is a calling or a direction you feel the Lord nudging you toward, don’t let time & energy be the reasons you sit this one out. God is not confined by time. He’s the boss of it all. So if you don’t think he’ll make spacious plains for you to fulfill his plan, you crazy. Our God will equip us. He will provide. & thats a promise.
It’s your turn, love. Break the silence. Spill your guts.