|c/o Coconut Robot|
"They were there. I was there. Right across from you and you didn't do anything. "
And you know what I did? Me, this christian woman just off a week long retreat where we spent the majority of the time talking about Jesus and influence and community?
I deleted it.
Surely she couldn't be talking about me. I made it a point to spend the entire weekend reaching out to women who were on the outside. It had been my main job as a community leader and the main ability I felt comfortable with- I could make people feel welcome. I made a mental list of all the women I had talked to, patted myself on the back, and made sure no one could ever read that comment. I continued reading all the posts from the weekend link up talking about how amazing Influence was for them and I felt reassured that I was good.
Then I read Kristen's post. And Jill's post. And Peggy's comments on them. And even Alia Joy's.
And I cried.
Because I had seen every single one of them. Now none of this is to say that I think any of them were looking to me specifically but it was my job and more than that my heart's desire that no one felt this way and all of them had walked away feeling the same. I had even talked to three of them.. but how deep had I gone? Had they felt like I truly cared about what they were saying (which I did) or had they seen my eyes scanning the room for the next person who was alone and needed me to talk to them? Had they seen my smile and hoped that maybe this smile would bring the conversation that would open the door for them into this community and been disappointed when it had been just a friendly smile? Had they hoped I would say more than "good morning, how are you?" and felt even more alone when I hadn't? Had my compliments and our short conversation fallen flat on hopeful ears?
Now this is the point where my heart struggled. Part of me wanted to say "I did the best I could. I tried with this woman and that woman and they seemed to enjoy their time. I was in my first trimester and with the huge time difference I was even sicker. I needed to go rest in my room in the down times. I felt nervous and shy talking to bigger bloggers like Emily and Jami but I walked up and introduced myself out of the blue because that's just what I had to do". But these words just left me feeling hollow.
And then I heard Jessi's words from this weekend. "When we minister out of ourselves we will bleed out. And our blood is no good." How many times in my thoughts had I said "I did... I tried.. I.. I.. I" Even in their heartache I had turned things around toward myself. How selfish are those thoughts? Those will take some tough moments with God for me today because even though it truly was my desire to see all those women feel connected wasn't I taking pride and pleasure in the idea that in some small part I had helped it happen?
The thing is, "Jesus already did all the bleeding". I had been so concerned with making sure those obviously alone felt included I had looked past the women with quick steps and tight smiles that were just as alone but hid it well because I hadn't asked the Lord to point me to them.. I had taken it upon myself to play hostess all weekend. Even if some women did feel comforted or included through my words or my smile or our conversations it was Jesus who had brought us together, Jesus who had given me the gift of words to speak, Jesus who had given me the very breath with which to speak it. And as I sat in my home and proudly patted myself on the back for being a part of this community it was Jesus who had given these women the strength to come out and lovingly say "Some of the people at the conference had failed me but Jesus was there and that was enough."
So, I don't know if they will, but I hope these women... and even you sitting behind your computer screen.. read this and see that even when you feel small, the Lord can move through you in a BIG way. He can use your words, your insecurities and your heartache to touch people. You do have influence: both in your real lives and here on the internet. And I hope you all go and virtually meet each of those women because they are so sweet and beautiful and just as messed up as I am. And they are all daughters of the king.