Seeing October on the calendar means more to me than pumpkins and harvest spice candles this year. It means God was faithful to carry me through my first month as your director. I’ve been carried through many a “first month” before – college, law school, internships, jobs. But this transition has been unlike all others. I knew well the fear of failing as a lawyer, but now I add failing as a Christian – and a woman!
To make the tightrope thinner, I knew when I was first approached about coming on as staff, that I was a mess. I even said so! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a real and increasingly affectionate love relationship with Jesus – the man who lived and the God who reigns. I actually can imagine where I’d be today if He hadn’t interrupted my downward spiraling life at age 11, and the hair on my neck stand on end! Little in this life compares to the satisfying joy of sharing Jesus’ passion and forgiveness with a sin-weary woman who believes she has no one in the world who sees her. Moments like those get you up in the morning! But it’s the memory of those same moments that pierce my heart when I find myself – the next day – caught up in a comparison game with another woman, hoping I win in the end! Geez Louise! And that’s the tame stuff…
It’s no wonder then that I struggled something awful with a title that suggests I have any business “directing women” in ministry. The women I have known in ministry were not perfect, but are pretty darn admirable. They have wisdom, kindness, gentleness, patience…pretty much the Spirit fruiting all over them! Now, I know God is at work in my life – He is bigger than me and is faithful to get His glory even in spite of myself. But the awkwardness of having a title that esteemed me like those women was creating somersaults in my soul - especially knowing that I wrestle with selfish-ambition, jealousy, greed, and insecurities of so many varieties it makes Baskin-Robbins look stingy in their flavors. Do you hear me?
The standard of character I attached to the title felt like too much for me, that picture of leadership didn’t fit me - like Saul’s armor didn’t fit little David. My character is not what it once was (thank You Lord!), but it’s not what I desire it to be, or what God is shaping it to be in the future. I needed to find a way to reconcile the height of that title with the shorter reach of my “today self.” So for months after I started the transition I tried to reconcile the gap with hard work and extra “sweetness”. If I made everyone happy and said ‘yes’ to everything and worked diligently, maybe I’d “feel” like God was right when He called me to walk here?
Applying the try-hard life mentality to ministry is a recipe for disaster! In August I turned 35, and God gave me the best birthday gift a girl could want. He gave me peace in being right where I am, today! At a conference for women’s ministry directors, trying to diligently listen and glean anything so I could “be good enough” for ministry, I believe God gave me a new title. He showed me that apart from Christ’s control in a woman’s life, women can be ugly, petty, bossy, catty, frizzy, whiny, judgy, pudgy, pious, fighty, flirty…manipulative, gossipy, pitiful, complaining, jealous, envious…and on and on…a total MESS! I blushed, knowing He was right – even with this one woman! Rather than condemn me for it, He showed me lovingly that I belonged to this group and knew this group because I know being a mess. It was this qualification that made me fit for His calling – He wanted me to be a Messy Woman Representative!
I have the privilege of representing our kind to the larger body at GFC. Rather than “direct” you from a place of arrival, I stand among you – running with you to a Clean God! Together we can know the Cleaner of all messes, and as your Representative, I pray God helps me keep running to Him in front of and alongside you for the rest of my life! This is a definition of leadership and a title that fits me.
God loves us, even on our messiest days, ladies. It was our mess that drove Him steady on to a cross so He could clean us once and for all! To Him, every life is beautiful. Even lives with MESS are made beautiful when they are submitted into the hands of a Clean God who has the power to redeem and make straight what is crooked.
Would you join us Friday night, October 26th, from 6:00-9:00pm for an amazing night of worship, testimonies from our own women and a movie you will not soon forget, about this redeeming God? We are hosting October Baby Movie Night and messy women and teen girls in our community are warmly invited to come. RSVP here and bring a friend!
With sincere affection as your Messy Woman Representative,
Posted on Wed, October 3, 2012
by Heather Yates