Day seven of being sick; conveniently caught another cold right after our holiday party but I’ll take it. Jesus is merciful still. Teedbits of a phlegm filled week;
1 Viv apologizes for not encouraging me more in college; she seems genuinely upset and I am thoroughly touched by her humility and thought. I hurriedly assure her that it’s fine. She’s says that it’s not, that I don’t even understand my own gifts and I stay silent. “That’s not your fault,” I want to tell her; I’ve just always been like that. I don’t understand; I just do, and faithfully, Jesus takes my obedience and turns it into fruit. I never know what I’m doing but thankfully, the Lord does. She texts me later, encouraging me and putting me up and I lift my eyes up to the sky and do a mental victory dance in my head. It feels good – to be told I’m doing something right. “Jesus, whatever you’re doing in me, keep doing it because it’s working.”
2 I sit on the chair during my CG’s Christmas party and contemplate the soreness of my throat. I briefly debate whether it’d be socially acceptable to just close my eyes for a minute…maybe drift off to sleep. Lisa turns back to me and mentions that since we live so close, we should get lunch sometime. That wakes me up. I stare at her and offer a weak, “yeah we should,” but in my head I’m stuttering like a school girl – “I can’t believe she’s still talking to me?!” There is more shock than thankfulness in my heart; there is plenty of thankfulness. Later, when we take pictures, I remain seated as the girls go up to the brick wall to take their stances in front of the camera; Lisa steps over my legs and I watch her go with a small twinge in my heart, feeling slightly left out. She glances back at me and offers me a smile while motioning for me to follow; “come on.” I feel inexplicably loved at that moment and take my place among the girls.
I look at my white elephant number; 20 out of 20 and think, “Jesus must love me.” I get to pick from all the presents that have been opened and I pretend to survey the gifts, debating who I’m most willing to steal from. In all honesty, I don’t want anything. I look at the crowd of faces staring back at me and decide that this is enough. A group of people to call family is more than enough (although subsequently I steal the suction speakers from Sabrina after deciding oh what the heck, might as well receive God’s grace while He’s at it).
3 Sunday night, I am sick and tired but unable to sleep. I toss and turn for a bit before I give up and look up to the ceiling. I thank the Lord for the weekend, pray a quick prayer for healing, and tell Him, “Whatever you give me, I’ll take it and ask for more. Whether it be blessing or suffering, I want all that you plan to give me because I know it is good. I know you are good.” I fall asleep promptly after and wake up after seven glorious hours, still sick but strong in spirit.
When Deborah leaves for her dinner in Chinatown, I am left alone again in the apartment. I dilly dally for a few good moments before succumbing to the familiar restless feeling in my heart. I sit down on the couch and proceed to burst into tears. I remember what I promised Him a few nights ago and sigh. He brings up all the instances of past suffering in my life and dangles it in front of my face. My whole being recoils from it. “That hurt,” I whisper to Him; “I don’t want to get hurt again.” I feel the hardness in my heart and balk; immediately I think of Jesus on the cross – His broken body and mangled flesh, blood poured out for me, hurting and dying for me. Just like that, my heart melts and softens and I look to Jesus and ask Him to teach me.
Even if I have to walk through fire, I’ll do it; just lead me and I’ll follow. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
4 Alicia says she loves to dance but just doesn’t want to go up by herself. There is absolutely no one on the dance floor but she gives me this puppy dog look and I know I’m completely screwed. She leads me out to the front and center of the room and starts to dance. I do my best to follow suit and laugh at the absurdity of it all. Ahem, I can barely walk in heels, let alone dance, but here I am. I look at the hundreds of people gathered there and sigh. Might as well enjoy myself; I twirl and twist and step to the beat. Mel and Claire videotape me from the sidelines and I pray to God that I only half look like an idiot.
I snapchat a pic of me and Mel and caption it “I love you.” Or a variant of it – meh semantics aside; I remember a time when I used to despise and mistrust those words; when I seldom used them for fear of being insincere and how they crippled me when I heard them and thought in my heart, “you’re lying.” But, I remember her kneeling on my bathroom floor, meticulously picking up our shedding hairs, and silently tell her without any restraint in my heart; “hey, I love you.” I feel deep affection overwhelm me as I hug her and I know it is not from myself (for I am not a naturally affectionate person) and thank the Lord for giving me another friend to love and hold.
David holds out his hands palms up and I mimic him. I feel him staring at me and after a few seconds of awkward confusion, I realize he wants me to put my hands in his. Even with heels on, he’s a full head taller than me so I keep my eyes glued to the ground, carefully watching his feet. He teaches me how to cha cha and salsa. My favorite is when he spins me; I twirl unhindered in my heels (couldn’t do it for the life of me in ballet flats but in heels, no problemo…) and grin like a maniac. I realize I really like dancing and I frequent the dance floor multiple times with him and Alicia. Kathleen, with quite a few drinks in her, inquires multiple times about “the guy I was dancing with” and asks if I like him. I give her a resplendent “no,” and beam despite her attempts to create office romance. “I’m already in love,” I want to tell her. I’m already so deeply in love, with the most perfect husband. I give Him a mental fist bump and thank Him for accompanying me all night.
I sound like a sap, don’t I? I swear I’m not a sap but when it comes to Jesus…He just does a wonderful job of romancing me.
5 “I call these moments Becca-isms […] you were a really good SG leader, you taught me a lot.” I read Jonathan’s words, drop my head in my hands and cry, letting his affirmation wash away my insecurities and self disgust. I remember staring blankly at the verses in front of me having no idea how to stimulate discussion, the long, awkward silences that followed the questions I asked, the averted eyes of my small group members, etc. I remember RoX stagnating in numerical growth and doing the math and realizing it happened when I stepped on to leadership team. I remember standing before my fellowship and stumbling over my words as I fought to make a place for myself in their eyes; in my own, I was still quite worthless and even worse, dehabilitating.
Jonathan shares with me, “I’ve found what He wants from me; He wants me to be a faithful servant and work for His kingdom.” My heart leaps with joy as he reminds me what it’s all about. I did so many wrong things for the wrong reasons but mercifully, mercifully, Jesus let me do something right. I don’t know if I could ever lead small group again (nor do I ever want to, honestly) because I just don’t have the gift, but to faithfully serve the Lord…I can do that. I can do that.
I’ve lost count of my blessings; they outnumber by tenfolds the weight of my suffering. Thank you, Jesus.