So we started something new at our church in the new year. We've had a w*m*u program forever (no, really - forever... It's a bap*tist thing, specifically sou*thern, if I'm correct), but it's mainly been an elderly thing for a loooooooong time. It's meant to be a time for the women of the church to gather and focus on missions. We have a growing, thriving women's ministry in our church, that only gets better as more of us get more involved and many of us share the same passions and burdens. Oh, I'm not saying I really "fit in" with the rest of the ladies. I mean, I'm not a mom, so that seperates me from all but one other "grown-up" lady, and she and I are not necessarily taken as "serious grown-ups." Which, granted, we don't really take ourselves extremely seriously, even though we're both in the medical field and dependable grown-ups in every way besides Mommy. I dunno, it's like if you've somehow veered off the expected path of the adult (because, y'know, there's only one path) you are somehow less of an adult, or at least not an adult to be taken seriously. But I digress, hugely!
Where was I? Oh yes. Women. Of all ages. Coming together, with similar minds and hearts and burdens and concerns. We meet once a month. (We have other, more-age-specific activities and Bible studies and classes the other Sunday nights) So the lady "in charge" of getting someone to do the devotion happens to be a 10-ish-year-old girl. One of "my girls," as in one of the girls I teach - one of those constantly hanging on me, wanting to just hang out with me and soaking up all the NotTheMama they can. I LOVE it. And I LOVE these girls! Every one of them! And I'm digressing and rambling again!
So yesterday morning, this girl "A" told me she forgot to ask someone to do the devo, and would I pleasepleasepleasePRETTYPLEEEEEEEEASE do it on short notice? Ha. Maybe she knows that my best lessons and classroom ideas are never planned, but things I pull out of the air at the last minute. Or maybe it's more that God takes pity on me and knows if I planned and made notes, I would be second guessing those notes, get all nervous, and not really say what I should anyway. As I digress again.
So I'm very comfortable and used to teaching kids. Give me one or 100 babies-to-teenagers, for 5 minutes or 3 hours, and all will be entertained and learning something. Adults, on the other hand, that's a whole other can of worms! We're talking moms of the kids I teach, and their moms, and THEIR moms! Some of these women remember when MY DAD was born!!!! That was more than 60 years ago! To say I feel underqualified would be a huge understatement.
What do you speak about when your audience goes from age 5-85? You speak what is on your heart. What is constantly and forever on my heart? Orphans. My babies. The "least of these" are my babies. I read a couple of scriptures that talk about God adopting us as sons (Ephesians 1:5 and Romans 8:15) So I asked several kids and adults what an orphan looks like. I got answers like dirty, poor, etc. Then I mentioned several orphans in the Bible - Moses, Esther, Samuel. Jesus. Me and you before we became believers. Adoption - a perfect picture of what God did when He chose me to be His child. And I finished with James 1:27 - pure and undefiled religion is to care for orphans and widows - and that it doesn't just mean adopting literal orphans... We're also supposed to love and care for ALL of the "least of these," including the smelly kid at school, to the grown-up every one else tries to avoid.
Which worked out wonderfully well, as the big topic of discussion was beginning a food ministry. To serve those who need food, for whatever reason - from too poor to too busy to too sad - and minister to them and/or bring them to God.
I have received lots of compliments and "we're praying for you"'s and such. I was told I was very confident by one, and "I could never get up and share my heart like that" by another. Honestly, I never saw myself doing that, either, but I can only say it was a God-thing. The oldest lady in the church choked back tears as she told me she was praying for me, and said she's been meaning to call my mom and tell her how proud they all are of me, and what a great job my parents did raising me. I say that not to brag about myself, but to say look what God is doing! Oh if you only knew how far God has brought me! Truly from despair and depression and thoughts of su*ic*ide, to THIS. What a might God we serve!
There's quite the paradox developing... The closer we get to putting faces on these children, the harder it gets to not have them with me; but it gets easier and easier to talk about them, to tell other people about them, to share with the world how God has revealed to us He would grow our family.
I feel like I'm transitioning into a "real" grown-up. And I'm doing so among a number of women who encourage and support me, and are sososo excited about God's plan - not only for my family, but also for our women's ministry, our church, and our community.I'm so blessed to have been planted in this community at birth, and this body of believers as a young adult. I cannot wait until he plants some young babes in my care, under these ladies!