My life motto is, “The great stories go to those who don’t give in to fear” (Miller). As I’ve travelled the world for Jesus, from Peru to Cambodia to the Middle East, I asked the Lord to allow me to be part of great stories for his glory.
Others called me leader, and competent, and impressive. And I enjoyed it. After years of pressing in, the great stories finally started coming. A Syrian widow shared her dream encounter with Jesus and I helped her start following him. I got to build a mission team smack in the middle of the 10-40 window. I baptized Muslims! The great stories I had always longed for were piling up!
But then…the Lord called my husband and I to return to the US as trainers, to step out of the limelight into a backstage position. In the big scheme of things, it is quite strategic. We get to multiply our impact. And God confirmed that this move was the right one for us at the time.
But now many of the great stories I share are not my own, but those of the missionaries I champion. I rejoice in their fruit, but to be honest, my ego has taken a hit.
But now many of the great stories I share are not my own, but those of the missionaries I champion. I rejoice in their fruit, but to be honest, my ego has taken a hit. As an Enneagram 3 (Achiever), I struggle with people-pleasing. I see my worth in what I do. If I don’t have current great stories of my own, who am I really?
And then came Luke Elijah. I longed for this child for so many years, and he is the answer to many prophetic prayers. If, as Anne Lamott says, “laughter is carbonated holiness,” Luke’s giggle is daily bringing us closer to God.
Then there are days like today. I had plans to get so much done on so many fronts. I had important appointments. I was ready to take Luke to childcare and take on the day.
But Luke woke up with his 4th straight day of diarrhea. I had changed his diaper 3 times in the middle of the night already. He also has terrible diaper rash with open sores that won’t heal up. It is torture for Luke, and for me. His screaming brings me to the verge of tears.
Right as we were ready to leave, Luke needed another diaper change. My husband held him down, as Luke was twisting in pain. And I just couldn’t take it anymore. “Go to work without me,” I told Joshua. “I have to stay home and make sure he gets better. This can’t keep dragging on.”
Joshua left, and the guilt commenced its assault. I rehearsed all the things I was missing and all the people I might disappoint. I was brought to tears, thinking maybe I was just over-reacting. But the principal messaged that several in Luke’s class had the same symptoms. So I wasn’t crazy.
When will I treat myself as kindly as I treat others? I wouldn’t hesitate to extend kindness to another in a similar situation… but my own inner critic is harsh. Jesus, who do you say that I am? “Remember what I told you?” He says. Several years ago, he named me, “My beloved daughter, my light in the darkness.”
But does that still apply here and now? “You will always be my beloved daughter. You will always be my light in the darkness. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, or where you are or aren’t. It’s who you are.”
Little by little, I’m learning to believe it.