When I woke up Saturday morning, I would have never realized that one simple gesture could mean so much to me. Who knew a cashier at my favorite crepe place would impact me just by looking me in the eyes? Sometimes our hearts have to be primed and ready to receive that which otherwise would roll right over the tops of our heads. Being ready isn’t always easy. Sometimes it confronts us in ways that are unkind, in ways that reject who God made us to be and cause us to pause in front of the mirror wondering if something really is wrong with us…because I feel like something is wrong with me based on what others say, on what I choose to hear.
“You should always speak first,” they said. Excuse me? “The pastor’s wife always speaks first, so when you didn’t we knew you didn’t like us,” they said. I don’t? I thought I did, but suddenly I had become aware of a rule I wasn’t following, making an impact I didn’t know I had made. No “did you have something on your mind,” or “maybe you were busy getting your child to her classroom,” and no “maybe you just didn’t see me.” All I heard was accusation and all I wanted to do was defend myself. No, this was not my intention, and it is not who I am. Just the Sunday before, the same people said, “We’re so glad you are real and stay true to who you are.”
We want others to be real until we decide our version of real is not good enough.
A life in the fishbowl is one I’m okay with. I’ve never known any different. The title of “pastor’s kid” has been traded for “pastor’s wife,’ but the one God made to be the way she is has not changed. The fishbowl brings cries of “You should speak first” and “You shouldn’t let your daughter wear that,” because you are a pastor’s wife, and they are pastor’s kids. Deeply loved people leave our church doors to enter doors of another church, and each time I make a deal with myself it will hurt less each time, but it doesn’t. I can’t help but care. Seats are empty because choices are made that “we need a break from church.” Personal? I don’t know, but it stings. Those cries, those departures, those choices scream rejection, their punch packed with confusion. My life is my life, but it carries the weight of a title that I hold so deeply that can’t stop me from caring deeply. Defense attempts to step in, make it right, set everyone straight, but no one defends like He defends. Yet, life feels weary lately. It feels like the core of who I want to be and aim to be is invisible, like anything I do doesn’t matter…
until a cashier looks me in the eye and sees me.
No reading between the lines here. I would never trade my life for another, but the experiences of it hurt sometimes, make me want to hide and never come out. I’ve tried keeping it to myself, – the hurt, the exhaustion – but the real me never did that before. Our story has to be heard (or read) by someone, because someone is always going through something, and someone always needs to know there’s another someone who relates.
Saturday a cashier in my favorite crepe place looked me in the eye and said, “Are you (emphasis added) having a great weekend?” Did she see the exhaustion behind my eyes? Could she feel the pounding of my headache like I could? Did I lie when I said I was having a great weekend? No, I really was, and no, I don’t think she could tell I was tired. “Are those your girls with you?” “Yes, one is. One is not. We are celebrating a birthday early.” She said these words to me, “You know, I can tell you’re an intentional mom.” Did she know that meant everything to me? The life of a career was never mine, not because I didn’t want one, but I wanted more what God wanted for me. For me, it was to be home with my girls. I’ve heard the accusations there, too, the criticism that I should have a “real” job, but no matter the title in my life, my heart has never changed. I just want to do what God wants me to do. Saturday, a cashier in my favorite crepe place looked into my eyes and cared for me. She was kind. She was purposeful. She spoke life. Those negative words of what I’m not being to someone, or not doing right by my kids had been invading my heart and rooting deep down as truth. I didn’t realize the impact until she spoke fresh words. Truth isn’t who others perceive or say I am. Who does God say I am? Saturday in my favorite crepe place truth wore flesh and spoke louder than the critics. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt someone peered so deeply into my eyes that they really cared about how I was doing, but it ignited a fire within me to speak life, share my story, to stop hiding my hurts and to never quit!
Opinions are flying everywhere in our culture these days. We all just want to be heard. Opinions take little time to ever peer deep into the eyes because opinions generally never take the time. I’m not the only one that needed life spoken. There are TONS of people everyday that don’t need more opinions. They need more action to back up those opinions. Let God do the changing of lives. Let’s be an instrument to help bring that about. I lead our women at our church by these four power words – WELCOMED, KNOWN, LOVED & ENOUGH. When a person is reminded THAT is who they really are, then, and only then is there an opinion that really matters! We can all be like the cashier at my favorite crepe place.
“…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,”Colossians 2:2