Anytime someone else does something for God, I get these crazy ideas that it was easy for them. I imagine that they are pulling off ministry with grace and composure.
Those are wacky thoughts. No one serves God without disruption to their comfort and normal life.
So those were my after-IF, IF-ter moments, but my biggest fail moment came before IF:Amarillo even started. I had this crazy idea that we could offer childcare to the single women and CityKid moms that are involved with the kids that Citychurch ministers to. I made fliers and told lots of women to just let me know if they wanted childcare, and Citychurch would provide it. I honestly was doing this all rogue. I didn't have a childcare team waiting in the wings to watch kids if moms ended up responding to my invitation. I had talked to one willing dad, but as time passed, and I didn't have really any response from moms, I thought my whole idea was going to fizzle out.
So if anyone who attended IF:Amarillo last week has grandeur ideas of how wonderfully I pulled off being on the leadership team or contributing to the event, let me pull back the curtains.
All during IF:Amarillo, James kept asking me when the IF-ter shock would start and joking that he would miss the (after IF) IF-ter shock because he would be in Africa.
Instead of making this a 20 page paper on my shortcomings (because I could go on and on,) I'll make each flaw a bullet point.
My goal here is to show you that it isn't perfect so that you can see that you are capable of being to used by God, even if you don't think so. All He needs from you is willingness and flexibility. Honestly those two things are all you need. He can't use someone who already has their own plan.
- I messed up several times at my impromptu job of running the computer at IF:Amarillo. My biggest mistake was skipping a whole piece of session 3. We missed out on seeing a table talk on racial reconciliation that was so amazing. I am still kicking myself. I am hoping that IF will put this part of the gathering online on Vimeo because it sets up this amazing bridge building guide. Here is the blog about it.
- Sunday morning at Citychurch, I knew the church would be praying for my husband James before his mission trip. I really wanted to be there. I came into the service, and James brought me Gabriel, our 4 year old, and said, "He's got a fever." He did. His nose was running and he was coughing. I didn't want to leave because I wanted to be there to pray for James. At some point Gabe threw up on me. I went and cleaned us up in the bathroom and came back in just in time to pray for the mission trip. Clearly the IF-ter shock was causing some eruptions.
- James was leaving for a mission trip to South Sudan on the Monday after IF. My whole Sunday was spent shopping for and packing bags of supplies for the trip. I felt like a zombie for most of it. Somehow we got it all packed.
- We finally got home from packing supplies, and started packing James's personal bags at dinnertime Sunday night. (Can anyone say takeout.) He needed a few things washed, and wouldn't you know it, our washer dies. James looked at it for a long time. He concluded that the pump had given out. James's mom had to come pick up his last minute laundry and wash it at her house.
- On ALL of James's other trips to Africa, I've cooked him a special meal and dessert before he left for his trip. This trip he got Wienerschnitzel.
- Monday was spent cleaning my house, because it was clear that the quakes of IF had shown to be very destructive at the Lane home. Home schooling was put on hold until we had a clean spot to learn.
- I had someone come look at our washer, and he also concluded the pump was out. After seeing the price tag on the pump, we decided to buy a new washer.
- I've had my new washer for 3 days, but I am not anywhere close to being caught up on laundry. I finally was the recipient of the cold we've been passing around. James had it, then Andrew, then Gabe (Sunday morning), then Lucy on Thursday, and now me.
- I've cooked my kids a real meal exactly zero times in the last week. I did cook for Lual's wife Diana on Friday for lunch. We are going to eat those leftovers now and hope that counts as cooking for my kids.
Tuesday night I got a phone call from a mom of some of our CityKids. She was calling me to sign her kids up for childcare. I politely told her she was all set and wrote down her kids' names and ages, but as I hung up the phone, I was like, "Oh no! Now I gotta make sure this happens."
Instead of thinking clearly or even praying (um duh,) I went into a 24 hour melt down mode and tried to convince myself that I really should be babysitting during IF instead of attending. (I now know that I needed to be a IF. It ended up running the computer the whole weekend.)
Once I calmed down and stopped being mad a God for me not having a solid plan in place, I realized that He was in control. He wanted it to happen to remind me that I wasn't in control, that I needed to be depending on Him, and that this was His ministry to women.
God provided an excellent plan for babysitting, Lucy and her responsible friend Madison (who has baby twin sisters so clearly she can handle anything.) They ended up watching 10 different kids over the two days of IF:Amarillo.
So if I haven't scared you off from ever attempting ministry, at least I've let you see some of the un-pretty parts of giving a little of your life to serve God. I know every single one of the ladies who stepped up to host an IF:Local in Amarillo and all over the world has similar stories of mistakes and messiness brought into their lives because they agreed to serve.
Please know that it is worth it. I know every bit of messy houses, takeout food, melt downs that led to greater dependance on God, and the tired, tired, sleepiness for days was worth it. I know because I saw God move in women's hearts. I saw God move in my city. And I felt God move in my own life.
Listen to this song from my favorite whistling rocker. How perfect is it that he talks about doing laundry in a song about taking courage?