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.