Button Eyes and Lemonade

24 Aug

Guess what?

After much discussion and thought and prayer, I decided to take the opportunity I told you guys about last week.  Now that it’s officially part of my life, it’s only fair to fill you in.

I’m going on my tenth year in this place.  The first eight years, I was heavily involved in the college ministry at my church.  Over those eight years, I was in Bible studies, I led Bible studies, I did an internship, I did a nine-month long program for women who want to learn more about their Bibles.  All of this stuff was great, until I tried to do too much at once.

Because of my good intentions to serve in the ministry, I overcommitted and got a bit burned out.  I learned that even if you’re good at stuff, you can’t commit to a thousand things and give 100% to everything.  Sometimes saying no is the most helpful thing you can do.

The past two years I spent laying low and learning a lot of things: things about being married, about being a good friend, about living a balanced life where I think about others, but don’t neglect myself.  Finally, I figured out what it is I have a passion for (writing fiction) and am pursuing it.  These things are great, and I’ve recovered from my final two years of overcommitted crazy tiredness.  Those were years I gave of myself – to the church, to employers, to people-people-people – until there wasn’t much left to give.  Those were years I tried to be Little Miss Perfect when really, I’m just this worn-out rag doll with mismatched buttons for eyes.

Last week, I got a phone call: Would you consider being a mentor for the leaders of the freshmen Bible studies?

Deep breath.  First, I’m surprised they’re even asking.  My failures intimidate me, but I guess they’ve considered that and are asking anyway.  I think about the opportunity and know I now have a lot to offer these girls – I’ve been there, for many years, with the good, the bad, and the ugly.  But, I know myself, and I know how it turned out last time I helped.

People change, have you ever realized that?  I changed.  I have more of a spine than I had a few years ago.  I don’t tiptoe around people’s eggshell feelings, I don’t take blame when it’s not mine to take.  I definitely have more road rage and am more forthright with my thoughts (though I still aim for tact).  I’ve learned more about love, not only the comfortable kind but the kind that’s sometimes tough to hear or say.

The ministry I worked with is changing, too.  New ideas, new leaders, new members, which means an exciting time to come back.  It’s a blank slate.  For everybody.  For me.

I said yes.  Now I’m praying that God will change people’s lives despite me.  That I’ll be successful at the few commitments I’ve made – my marriage, my novel, and now, the girls from church.  

I’m hoping to turn my lemon years to lemonade; I’m hoping for, well, more hope.

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8 Responses to “Button Eyes and Lemonade”

  1. sherrymeneley Monday / 24 August 09 at 6:39 pm #

    Mercy travels and lemonade! Good for you Indeed!

    I too over committed at my church too too often and had to give some things up to have a semi-normal life… And I felt like I failed and let people down. So I completely understand that whole thing too well.

    PS: lemon trees make fruit like everything else… just isn’t as sweet, but it’s fruit (and an important fruit) none-the-less :)

    • owlandsparrow Tuesday / 25 August 09 at 11:05 am #

      I like the ‘lemons are fruit, too!’ encouragement – I’d never heard that before. It’s so liberating to realize that when we feel like failures, we’re not alone! We’re not black sheep, or blacklisted from serving – we’re more normal than we realize.

  2. Laura Best Monday / 24 August 09 at 6:54 pm #

    I wish you all the best in the future! I’m sure this endeavor will be very rewarding. There is always much to do within the church. I belong to a small church so I understand this to some extent.

    It seems to me that as women we often have tendencies to over extend ourselves and it seems so much is asked/ expected of us. But as you say you are not the same person you were. It sounds as though you are very ready!

    • owlandsparrow Tuesday / 25 August 09 at 11:13 am #

      Thanks, Laura! I definitely agree about your observations about women tending to over-extend ourselves. This is one reason I am so excited about this new role I have – I’m hoping to help them not do that, to learn to be responsible leaders without being completely absorbed in it. Thanks for your sweet words! Though I don’t feel 100% ready (and that, I think, is a good thing) I feel ready enough to do well.

  3. joyofdawn Monday / 24 August 09 at 9:41 pm #

    I’ll be praying for you! Hope that God finds a way to work through you to us young ladies out there. Only He knows how much we need it. I’m glad you have a heart to serve!
    I understand how ministries can become overwhelming! That is one of the hardest things about serving the Lord, deciding if He really wants this or if He really just want us at home.
    What a blessing it can be to serve the Lord!
    P.S. I like how you mentioned the lemons and lemonade, never thought of it that way before!

    • owlandsparrow Tuesday / 25 August 09 at 11:17 am #

      I agree, things get so overwhelming when we start to believe we ‘have’ to do this or ‘must’ do that. The truth is, God is powerful and He can do things without our help. I like that you called serving a blessing; I agree. God lets us help him though he doesn’t have to. I don’t have to take this role, but I want to; I think it will be a blessing and a joy to see what happens throughout this year!

      Thanks for your motivating words, and of course, your prayers!

  4. jenniferneri Thursday / 27 August 09 at 9:11 am #

    I love reading your blog because I find you so optimistic – always!
    All the best with your next steps, and yes, teach those girls how not to loose themselves! (something I did in the mommy world.)

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 28 August 09 at 9:26 am #

      Jennifer, thank you so much for that comment, and for taking the time to read & comment on my other posts! It was so encouraging to check my blog and a) see that you’re able to read blogs again after your little break, and b) find so many comments! I hope your reading went well last night!

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