Monday, February 14, 2011

My Love to Grow Old With and other Mushy Stuff

I’m sitting here at the table waiting for you at one of our favorite places. You’re late and worried, but I’m not rushed or mad in the slightest that you took the long way to get here. I’m just in love and I’m yours. And I’m here.

When I walked into the restaurant it wasn’t the young lovers that I noticed, with all the newness and excitement. It was the couple with gray hair and laugh lines still holding hands that caught my eye and made me smile.

I made a list when I was nineteen of all the things I wanted in a man, you are all those things and more. You are constant, if not predictable, and I always felt so safe with you. I still do. I fell in love with my best friend, you were not at all what I imagined, but you were everything that I needed.

I still have the list written by a young girl who knew what she wanted, a list offered up to a God who granted me every single one of those sixteen things in you. At times I have wished that I could go back and add a few more things like…loves to clean up after himself or loves to give hour long back rubs. But, none of those petty things matter when I have a man like you. I’m crazy about you.

I thought you might like to see my list:

1. Man of God
2. Totally consumed by God
3. Virgin
4. Stable financially (I meant stable, not tight. But, whatever. Wink.)
5. Spiritual vision
6. Goals (BIG)
7. Soul winner
8. Funny
9. Wise
10. Attractive to me (This one makes me laugh a little.)
11. Tall (I wanted our children to not be so vertically challenged like me.)
12. Good with people
13. Challenging (Yep, you nail this one baby.)
14. Spiritual leader
15. Someone who loves everything about me and will support me and help me fulfill my call.
16. Someone who will love me to pieces.

I’m grateful for all that you bring into my world, we’ve grown up together. You are my love to grow old with. I love you.

Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Three-inch Heels & Leadership

I stayed up late last night, no I wasn’t weeping over the Super Bowl loss or the fact that the Peas butchered “I Had the Time of My Life.” Although, I can assure you they both caused me some lamenting. Poor Peas, within minutes of their performance they were being ripped to shreds and I’m thinking they need to sing, “Where is the Love” one more time for all the haters.

...My mind was replaying the events of the day, like a pause and rewind button working together to show me the things locked away in my heart. A question of knowing if I held the remote button in my hands long enough with my finger on the pause button…would I like what I see?

Yesterday was a great day for me, church with the people that I love like family, a jam session with the most talented set of musicians, then a football game with the best food, decorations, and the best friends a girl could ask for. I could cry counting my blessings and believe me, I often do.

So, with all my warm, fuzzy feelings and sugary sweet thoughts…why would I waste my time thinking about mid-day yesterday, and the pressure that comes when everyone has opinions and expectations, yet no one really knows what is expected of them? The end result of meetings and coming together to make something better was positive. But, I was troubled and trying to find my place in leadership, the gentle balance of knowing when to lead and when to follow. And if I am to step up and lead, can I lead freely and seamlessly without the expectations and chains wrapped around me by other peoples expectations? Does talent and expertise trump anointing? I don’t think so. Both are vital. And yet everything we offer up to God in service is just water until He turns it into wine. My talent is mere ashes until God breathes life into it.

When growth happens in leadership it doesn’t come without pains. And I’m feeling some pain and stretching. It’s not a bad thing, but I have been brought up to be the “Christian nice girl." Don’t get me wrong, I like being the Christian nice girl, and yet I know the power of a nice, Southern gal who is ticked off. All of those feelings, even the not-so-nice ones, show me that something is off; something needs to be confronted and dealt with. And sometimes that means, staring deeply into a mirror and not forgetting what I look like.

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it-not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it- they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:22-25)

Every good story has a beginning, middle, and an end. I’m living life in my “middle” thriving in my thirties, laughing at my twenties at the sweet little Christian girl who tried to be all things to all people until her health and loss revealed a better way to live. I thrive because I crave the hand of my Maker in my life, I thrive because I have a small network of incredible women pouring into me as I pour out my life in ministry. And I cringe because I’m a woman in the middle who still has so much to learn with a string of watching “daughters” wondering what it looks like to walk out our Christianity, our femininity, with the call of God on our lives.

Oh, Lord, let me walk worthy of the call you have placed on my life whether I’m in my three-inch heels or in my stretchy pants and mom-clothes. Your daughters are watching and they crave godly leadership and a nurturing touch. May they know their worth and value-that they are not just a pretty face or a pretty voice, you desire to lead them into truth.