San Francisco, CA. Our group was small. There was a microbiologist, a molecular biologist, 3 engineers, a President and CEO of a significant company, a marketing director, a masters in Theology, an executive recruiter, an advocate for children with special needs, the VP of the Central US region, Person in Prestigious Ministry, an animal trainer (seriously), a retail sales manager of a large department store, professional sales, and a housewife with no formal education beyond sleeping her way through high school and jobs like hotel maid, stable hand, and small business owner on her resume.
Guess which one I was.
I didn’t even OWN my education until my late 20’s. Then it was only because I was tired of people telling me what the Bible said, I wanted to know for myself.
So, there I sat, my netbook & iPad in front of me. I was going to take notes.
For 4 excruciatingly long days. 8:15AM-8:30PM in a small conference room. Concept after concept pouring into my eager but often undisciplined mind.
I was struggling to maintain focus, fighting the urge to pretend I was more than I was while the rocket scientist informed us she had inventions on the space shuttle and I mentally compared that to the cinnamon roll recipe I’ve perfected or my unmatched ability to fixate on minutiae and irritate my husband…
The bold, the beautiful, the much thinner, and more affluent than I congregated in that room. Our first morning was awkward and stilted as we worked to be transparent and struggled to find where we fit into this grand scheme in which we found ourselves.
By the grace of God, by the end of our time there, we weren’t labels anymore. We were believers, wives, and moms. I wasn’t alone, we struggled together, trying to come to terms with this new thing we were doing and hoping beyond hope that God would keep more than the prescribed 10% in our tired brains.
I’ve been home for a couple of weeks now. Life doesn’t slow down. I have a lot to learn. My scope of responsibilities has expanded while my shoulders haven’t grown a bit. My desk is covered in file folders and post it notes to not forget the things I keep forgetting.
Three years ago I walked along a quiet neighborhood nearby and made a promise to God.
I was tired of feeling ashamed of having something to say. I wanted to walk boldly within the frame in which He has placed me. At the moment all I had was myself, my children, a few friends and my husband. We weren’t part of a church, we were just starting to get to know some new friends, our world was very tiny.
That promise comes back to remind me to move forward when I’d rather step back, to speak up when my fear of rejection taunts me to be silent.
I said, “Lord, if I believe You have given me something to say, I’ll say it. I won’t apologize for the lessons You’ve taught me or the places You’ve guided me. When I believe there is something of You that I know, I will share it.”
Three years ago… Almost to that day in April I sat nervously in the back of a small room and dared to interject, without retraction, thoughts here and there about the leadership role in which we had all found ourselves. Praying I was being an encouragement to those around me. Unable to remain silent. Hoping I was communicating effectively those things which seemed too important not to share.
I don’t know how I was perceived. I’m not very good at gauging that side of things.
What I do know?
I was willing. God met me and carried me. I remained, step by tiny step, faithful to that commitment.
There is more coming up this summer and just this morning I sat in my bed and thought, “I should let someone else do this. It’s too big for me.”
I considered it, thought my way around it. Chewed on it for a little while.
“Is it because you are afraid, Heidi? Or is it simply because you don’t want to step out in another place of weakness?”
I can’t tell you if that was the Lord, His voice most often sounds a lot like my husband or my children, but it resonated through my spirit and reminded me of that promise.
When given the chance, speak.
So, I am willing. Again.
I know He will be faithful to equip.
He’ll do it for you too, y’know.
It’s just how He is.