It has been a few weeks since I have written – I had not realized what an emotional toll writing portions of my story would take on me. I needed to collect myself a bit, flush through some anxiety and realize that I was going to be ok.
It was strange to write out parts of my story – it was as if I was writing about someone else’s life. I also became very aware during that process that what I had endured was nothing short of abuse. I did not want to see that. It makes me feel like I am victim and that is just not something that sits well with me.
Perhaps, that is what abuse does to someone – leaves them feeling like they are to blame for everything that happened. I imagine that is why it so hard to identify sometimes.
But I thought today I would share a different story with you. A story that helps you understand why speaking at the women’s retreat mattered a great deal to me.
In the summer of 2010, my husband and I had been attending church for over a year. We got pregnant with my son before we were married, and this was the catalyst to get my butt back in the seats.
Despite the many stupid decisions I had made in my late teen/young adult years, being pregnant before I was married felt like the worst one of them all. I grew up in church. I went to a private school and somehow this moment felt like I had crossed some line I never had intended to go over.
I recognize not everyone understands this position. I see that so many people have children long before they are married. I just need you to understand this was NOT something I saw for myself. THOSE people over there did that. I was judgmental about it. I really had no right to be – I was having sex before I was married, I was just naïve to think it would not become readily apparent on the outside.
But there I was, and I knew I needed Jesus. Somehow, I knew without Him I would not be able to do it. Life was happening fast – my husband and I had a baby, got married, and bought a house all within a span of six months. It was like I went from being this carefree twenty-something year old to a mom and wife. AND I was not prepared.
At this time, I also had a miserable job. It was a good job but miserable one. People were mean. In turn, I was mean.
I had advanced quickly at a young age – moved up a few times and got some promotions. Instead of others being happy for me – they became indignant toward me. They even started a rumor that I was having an affair with my boss.
Our director at the time caught wind of this and moved me. She made up a position and unfortunately, it made people think what was being said about me was true. I got pregnant around this time with my son and the RUMOR was it was my bosses.
I remember wanting to hide. I remember going home at night and crying.
Why couldn’t people see that I just had an apt for business and that is why I got a promotion?
I never really had an answer to that question. BUT at any rate I stuck my head down. Worked through the various problems and eventually found myself in a space of telling God, I know you have more for me.
I knew that there was just something else I was supposed to do. THIS could not be it. There was no way. I was miserable and tired.
So, in the summer of 2010, I went to a prayer service.
In this service I was assigned to a group of woman that prayed with me. I NEEDED this and I went with great expectations that God would show me something. I needed to know that HE had more for me.
I remember telling the women praying with me that I was miserable. That I knew I was called to do something else I just did not know what.
Before I tell you, what happened that night – I need you to know THIS is not a normal thing in my life. I do not often receive a vision when I am praying. Sometimes I just open my Bible and verse speaks to me or every once and while I have a dream that I know God is using to tell me something. But mostly I have learned over the years to pray and wait – allowing Him to direct my steps.
This night was different. As the women began to pray with me, I got a vision. In this vision I saw a woman standing on stage preaching. This was not any women – it was a famous preacher.
AND I immediately heard (not audibly) but in my Spirit, “THIS is what you will do.”
I can not recall what the women praying with me said at the time – I just remember thinking what in the world?
At the time I did not even KNOW this was thing. I did not KNOW women preached. I grew up in a Lutheran school where preachers were men. Plain and simple.
This famous woman preacher was the ONLY person I had ever seen do something like that and even then it was a little lost on me.
It had never occurred me that it might be something I was capable or even able to do.
SO, I told no one. Not a single human for an entire year. I thought it was absurd. I had never once preached in my life. I absolutely HATED public speaking. It actually makes me physically ill – still does.
Yet, by the summer of 2011 I knew I needed to share what God had shown me. I remember telling the woman’s ministry leader at our current church. She was supportive BUT also shared that I was not quite ready. Not quite the type of Christian I needed to be yet.
She kept talking about how my family needed to be more connected with other family in the church. She even went so far as to say my husband needed different friends.
In many ways she was not wrong about me needing to grow.
I did need to grow in my faith.
I did need to learn more about Jesus and just the Bible as whole.
We just did not need to ditch anyone to do that. Do not get me wrong we do need people in our life who share our faith – who can pray with us and point us back to Jesus when we lose our way. WE just do not need to stop loving the people around us in that process.
Looking back, I wish I would have guarded what God showed me that night in the summer of 2010. I was naïve. I thought by telling leaders in the church that somehow, I would just STEP into what God had called me to do with little to no effort at all.
Over the last ten years this has not been my experience. I have learned the hard way that sometimes what God shows us is not for everyone. It took lots of heartache and tears to realize this. Some people just won’t see what you do.
But thank God for the people that do. I have some of them in my corner today – praying and encouraging me. AND those people mean so much to me and I feel forever indebted to them for not letting me give up on what God has shown.
Today, I am not a preacher. Yet somehow, I have hope that no matter what God will bring this about someway somehow. IT is not up to me to figure that out. I just need to trust He will.
Well my friends that is all for today – I hope to write more to you soon.