Friday, May 29, 2009

God's sense of humor...

I made a comment the other day that I would like to elaborate on. The reason is because many of you were probably going "What? She is a minister's wife!" The comment had to do with me stating that I had to lead small group at camp this year and that I was scared to death. In order to explain this statement I need to go back and tell you the whole story.

You see, I am a minister's daughter. I was born when my dad was in seminary. I have been "dragged" all over the world as my mom and dad followed the calling to do God's will. I say dragged because I never really felt like I had a choice. That was the life God gave me and I had to live with it. As a child, there were days I loved it and there were days I hated it. The fishbowl life is never easy. And unfortunately I never really appreciated my parent's sacrifice to do what they were doing when I was a kid. I sometimes saw it as a pain, effecting "MY" life in ways that were many times out of my control.

I was a rather shy child anyway. When I was in 3rd grade they discovered I had scoliosis. I was put into a back brace of metal and leather and became even more reserved. Add to that, my father being a minister and changing schools MANY times, moving to the mission field and being paraded in front of people, well I withdrew a lot. I would come out of my shell for family and friends, but was considered very quiet and shy.

I got better in high school. I had a strong group of friends and a big missionary family that helped me feel safe, but I never really could say I was comfortable with my life. I hated as the preacher's kid, being the one that was made to do everything. Remember the old LIFE cereal commercial? "Let Mikey eat it, he'll eat anything?" That is how I felt growing up...let Michele pray, read, sing...she will be there for sure, she will do anything. Truth is I never felt comfortable doing any of it. Not because I didn't want to pray, not because I didn't like music, not because I wasn't a good reader. I have a fear of public speaking. Sunday school, youth group, etc...became hard for me, because I never knew what I would be asked to do.

In school when I had to do a report, I would feel sick all week. I became over absorbed with what people thought. I would even over analyse comments that were made. As the years went by, it got worse. In fact in college I started having a nervous stomach, almost failing a class because of how the professor did his class. I started to hive up on my neck whenever I had to give a report or tell about a project. As the years passed, I continued to get worse.

The thing is, I was good at hiding it. The only thing I couldn't hide was the blotching on my neck. Pretty soon, I started worrying so much that my neck was turning red, that it made the nervousness even worse.

Here is the tough part. I met my husband in college. HE was a MINISTRY student. When I was a young girl, I always said I wouldn't marry into the ministry. I had already been there and done that and frankly didn't think I had enough strength to marry into it. That is until I met Kevin. We started as friends, because like I said, I had a hang up about marrying a minister. But I fell in love and I fell hard. I eventually thought "Happily ever after!"

Until I realized one day that I was a minister's wife and did not fit the profile. I did not like the limelight. I did not sing. I did not play the piano. I did not lead women's Bible study. I hated praying aloud...still too caught up in appearances.

And then one summer God dealt with me in a big way. For years I was feeling sorry for myself and not appreciating what I had been given. I looked at all the negatives of my life instead of enjoying the beauty of my experiences. I went all over the world and didn't appreciate the adventure it was. I was raised in a beautiful Christian home and did not give a thought as to how thankful I should have been. I met the love of my life and married my best friend and wanted to wallow in self pity. God grabbed me and changed my heart.

I realized that He was the one that gave me my life and made me the person I am so HE had a PLAN for ME! In other words, God does have a sense of humor. HE doesn't always have a rhyme or reason in OUR eyes, but he certainly has a purpose in His own.

I started finding out what I was good at as a minister's wife instead of dwelling on my shortcomings. I started taking more chances. I found out I was good at organizing events and teaching children's Sunday School and organizing VBS. I realized that I'm the hugger, the listener, the encourager... I realized it was OK not to fit the mold society made for minister's wives. I needed to concentrate more on the mold God set for a godly woman, wife, mother and friend. I needed to stop worrying so much about what people think and concern myself more with what God desires.

I am still a work in progress. Every year I find myself doing a little more here and there, although public speaking, the stage, etc...still terrify me. However, every once in a while I will be thrown a curve ball that will throw me off course, making me want to revert to my old self.

This summer's curve ball is youth camp. I go with my husband every year. In the beginning, he would get me out of the "teaching" part for he would always have enough leaders without me. Last year I broke out and led a small group, but it was my own group of girls. This years camp is different. I am going to have to lead, with another lady a group of girls and boys from different churches. UGH!

This is so not in my comfort zone. This is bordering on fear. I can feel my skin blotching just thinking about it. I have a week to prepare myself for this madness, not to mention study the material. I have a fear and I can't seem to control it. I know God will see me through and I really do believe that, but it doesn't stop the panic attacks from threatening.

Please pray for me. For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, this is not the UNSPOKEN request from a few days ago. Just something else that my heart is battling over. Pray that I can allow the peace of God to flow through me and calm my nerves. Fear is a powerful thing and I do NOT want it to get in the way of my Savior's message and the group of teenagers I will be with.

I truly believe God has a plan and that there is a reason why I am asked to do this. I just need to let go and allow God to work His miracles. Thanks so much for walking through this with me. I appreciate your listening ear and the strength and encouragement your prayers give.

And please do not get me wrong. I love my life. There are days that the fishbowl lifestyle is still frustrating and I am learning day by day how to help my children through some of those experiences I had as a child. I also appreciate so much what my parents did throughout my life. They set a wonderful example of how to follow Christ, even when it isn't easy.

That being said...

Do I tell the kids upfront that I will be a blotchy red before devotionals are over or do I let them think I'm dying from an allergic reaction to something? Can you wear turtle necks and survive in the heat of the summer? Should I take a paper bag with me? Anyone have a Xanax I can use?

God does have a sense of humor...a shepherd boy is king, a rock thrower sees the light, changes his name and becomes a great missionary, our savior is born in a stable...

Truth is I guess I am a perfect choice to be used by our Mighty One. I am even a little bit excited about the thought. I guess I will hold tight to two of my favorite verses 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Zephaniah 3:7 and TRY to enjoy the ride.

Thanks for the prayers.


Pilar Stark said...

Thanks so much for sharing the inside of a MK´s feelings. I am always so careful to not "used" my kids. Everyone would tell me I should get my kids to sing in churches while on deputation but I never did. They will if they want but I didn´t want to make them. It is hard sometimes to be a preacher wife so imagine a kid... like you said they really have no choice where we go or where we put them . ¨)

I am so glad to stopped by my blog. I love meeting new friends and I am looking forward getting to know you a little better. Hope to see you back soon

Amber said...

Hey, you.

You always know just how to word things to make me cry. And I have a sunburn on my face so the crying hurts. Thanks for that.

You are going to do GREAT! Those kids are going to LOVE you. One of my most favorite counselors EVER at Super Summer was a super quiet shy lady. She probably was a lot like you in real life. She didn't talk much, but when she did...WHOA. And her gift was when she would get us off by ourselves. I still remember her face. I wish I could remember her name....because I'd find her. She made that big of a difference. See? You don't have to be the goofy loud leader to be memorable. You just have to be real. God will use you like crazy. You'll see.

Love ya to pieces,
Your fellow fish-bowl dweller.

Jennifer said...

I, too, have been dealing with God's sense of humor recently by agreeing to do something I said I would NEVER do!! Funny how that works sometimes!!

Just from this post I can tell you are going to be great at camp!! You are open and honest and that's what kids need these days!! People that are keepin' it real!!

~*Michelle*~ said...

Oh you are gonna ROCK this.....I can just tell. God chose you for a reason....and last time I checked, He doesn't make a single mistake.

Believe in yourself......God does!

Sarah Dawn said...

I know what it feels like to be pushed out of the nest. My friend, it is only when we flap our wings that we can soar with Him. I love how you broke the mold, that's exactly how I feel being a wife and mommy on the mission field. I'm learning to fly, not on the wings of another, but just as me, soaring with my Lord.

And yes, hugs from heaven are the best!

Gretchen said...

I loved hearing more about you, Mich. And I'll be praying for you. One of my good, good friends is a children's pastor. We often meet away from the church just so she can shed some of that fishbowl, tho I know she wouldn't want her life to be any different.

yes, you have great parents and have been exposed to and received a great Christian upbringing and life. But that doesn't mean any of it is easy. It's a simple choice each day to make, to remain in faith as a child of God and do what He would have us do, but it sure isn't easy.


S and J said...

I love your transparency. And you are an amazingly gifted writer!
I truly appreciate this kind of insight into what may be going on in my own daughter's head as she is about to embark on a very similar life as yours. I pray that I can be sensitive to her struggles and an encouragement to her.
I also pray for you as you step out of the boat. An ongoing life of faith is truly LIVING. None of that sitting in the boat boring stuff for you. I know you know this. You go girl. I cannot tell you how much I can relate to your stories and will be praying for you.