Whew! Weeks of responsibility and giving out--my intensive, company, adult children with myriads of needs, still home educating Joy, dinners, dishes, financial struggles, little sleep, giving, giving, giving.......
And then He interrupts my life--with delight.....
The Lord is so very thoughtful at times, that I truly feel like His beloved. Arranging personal, focused blessings just for me so that I stand back and see that He knows, He knows my loneliness for my mother, even when I am not aware. He knows I miss being mothered, I miss being noticed. He sees what would delight me even when I would never have thought to ask.
For many years, my mother would go shopping with me each fall to pick out two "speaking" outfits. I would then wear them all year to every place I would speak. "You need to be beautiful in all the places God has opened for you to speak. You have always been my little dolly and we will go out and make a celebration of it--you and me! That is my part in your ministry.
Adult time, spoiling me with lunch, little trinkets, talk, talk, talk, buying me things that as a young mom I could not afford, or would not afford because of all my little ones. Pretty dresses, or professional, classic outfits for meetings and interviews. Shoes to match and of course a new necklace or earrings. A lunch and coffee and sweets at the end, framed a special memory each year---just mama and me and the sharing of our hearts. "And you might just need this for a little something, as she tucked a $20 into my coat pocket."
Mother-love providing, encouraging, nurturing, embracing, guiding, empathizing, and listening--and that is what my sweet mom used to do. Sometimes I don't even realize how deeply I miss being "mothered."
I didn't realize how much I missed those yearly outings with her. The past 7 years, she struggling with an aging disease, has turned me more into an adult, little by little, who must call, write and send my love and care, while she stays day after day, needing help, care and pushing through it all, seeking to maintain a good attitude through the constant pain. I, sometimes lonely and longing, in my consuming adult life and ministry, but rarely have time to stop to think about it.
Fast forward to this week. I left for 3 days to do ministry, to be with friends, to set up conferences. Life has required me to be so responsible, so task oriented, learning to go without needs being met. Little "me" time.
Ministering in California
Flying there for 3 days with meetings, personal and strategic lunches, breakfasts and dinners, arranging conferences, teaching about communication skills, answering questions about mothering, leadership, guilt, books, education, the Lord, problems.
So often my life is fueled by adrenalin, searching through mind-files to engage with the question being asked, expending energy like money in a carnival, seeking to guide with the light pouring out of my soul with what He gave--and so serious, talk after serious talk, intentional conversation, all setting a standard my soul seems to follow obediently, step by step--one foot in front of the other. Always I enjoy these precious ones and enjoy hearing the stories. But sometimes I don't even know how drained my brain and body and heart have become amidst the path of my life.
Sometimes, sharing of dark, heart secrets that spill out slowly like a mist billowing slowly on a mountain pass in private meetings. Ideals passionately espoused amidst a call to intentional living. Disappointment spilling over through tears from misunderstandings amongst those they thought were most likely to love--fellow Christians. Divorce, abortions, anger, insecurity, failure, or inadequacy or fears--sometimes stories of redemption, love, growth, encouragement, inspiration. These the topics of my interactions, with precious ones I meet, hour upon hour. This my life in ministry. And yet....
Yet, during a break, I was talking with three dear ones who have become sweet friends to me amidst ministry over the past few years. "I love your necklace. What a cute shirt that is with the roses! I am so glad "feminine" is in style again. You all are so darling and fun--you need to tell me how I am supposed to dress!"
Conversations drifted to clothes, styles, contemporary expectations.
"You won't believe it, but we got a lot of what we are wearing at our church's bookstore! They have a section of clothing and jewelry that supports women in poor countries, where we have missions, so that they can be independent. All of it is produced there! We are going to take you over to the store and buy you an outfit."
And so, for almost two hours, they dressed me up. I felt like a little girl again. And I felt so very loved and blessedly noticed and cared for! It was so much fun-necklaces--short or long, earrings dangling or studs, myriads of rainbow scarves-- maroon, navy, floral, solid, knit, silk, "That looks great." "She looks like she is sick in that color--get her something else." "Oh, that style flatters her! Let's get her two outfits!" Giggles, playing, talking-sheer fun, nothing serious, only playing and being girlfriends. I didn't even know how much I needed it. Water for my thirsty soul.
When my hostess and dear friend picked me up for dinner after our shopping was all finished, we had a leisurely few minutes together before our next meeting. All of a sudden it hit me--my mom wasn't able anymore to help me pick out my two outfits, but maybe the Lord knew deep inside I needed to know that someone still wanted me to have fun--not just responsibility--but fun, love and a memorable light-hearted afternoon. I now have two darling, speaking outfits, but I also feel noticed, cared for, and had a whole lot of unexpected fun.
Thank you, my angel friends for taking time with me for fun and for love. I love each of you so much.