Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Escape Artist

It was our final Sunday in the States many summers ago. Dropping off the toddler in the nursery, I noticed one of the volunteers was a woman just like me, a tired mother with seven children still at home. I was thanking her for her dedication, and added that working in the nursery was about the last place I would prefer to be that morning. I was looking forward to one last good sermon in English before returning to Mexico. Her words are etched in my memory after all these years:

“But you would if God asked you to, right?”

As I walked away, I had to face the unwillingness in my heart. I whispered to myself, “No, maybe not even then,” wondering if I would have even hear God’s voice if he asked me to volunteer for Sunday school that morning. I was so intent on worshiping in English.

Dropping off the next child for class, I found the teacher all in a panic because she had already taught Sunday school during the earlier hour, and was really counting on going to the upcoming service. I nobly offered to stay until a replacement teacher could be found. The teacher was almost in tears as she explained that there was no substitute coming to fill in; she would simply have to stay and teach the class again.

I began to argue with the Holy Spirit, begging for the blessing of just one more live sermon in English, but I heard words coming from my mouth about how it would be a privilege to teach her class that morning. It was one of the most fun impromptu lessons I ever taught. Preschoolers are so easy to teach, especially when God Himself puts the ideas in my head.

This story came to mind because again I find myself in a situation where surely God could find other people more willing and capable of filling a need, but for reasons beyond my understanding, his hand is on me, compelling me to do the right thing. Everything fleshly in me (insecurity, selfishness, pride, etc.) begs me to say no, but again I hear the words come out of my mouth: “It would be a privilege to teach this class.”

This class is a Bible study in our local church. This will be only my second time to ever lead a class in Spanish. I know, after all these years, right? It’s shameful how I have avoided all such entanglements with the Mexican church. The time has come, and I am actually looking forward to this new challenge. Friday afternoon is our first lesson. If you think of me then, I’d appreciate some prayer.

Someone’s got to do it…. Why not me?

IRL* Over my head and way beyond my comfort zone, but right where I need to be.


  1. One of the things I appreciated most about my home church when I was a tired mother of preschoolers was their volunteer policy. I tried to volunteer for nursery, but was firmly and gently told that "We believe that mothers with small children need to have their Sunday mornings where they get to go to church without kids and learn from God and have time to be with Him. We also believe there are enough other people in the body of Christ who can care for the children in order to give this gift to young mothers."

    I stood there blinking in surprise and mildly insisting that I really could help, but I grew to appreciate that policy. I only wish more churches had it.

    Someone's got to do it... why don't we stand up and act like we belong in a family and take care of each other the way they need to be cared for?

  2. Thanks, J.J.! I love this post. I can so relate to everything you've said. After I read this, I thought about how if you'd have gone on to the service, you'd have been blessed but most likely you wouldn't remember today many specifics about the service. Now, however, by giving up your desire and obeying, you have a priceless, forever memory that blesses you each time you think on it...and that is now blessing many more and bringing glory to God. Cool.

    I'll definitely be lifting you up in your comfort-stretching step of obedience. You don't have to do a good job at all. You just have to be there with love in your heart. You've certainly got that covered! blessings and hugs, shelley.

  3. Nice comments. Thanks so much for reading and leaving your feedback.

    Ellie, I've often asked myself the same question about acting like we belong in a family and taking care of each other.... The Golden Rule isn't always two-sided in my experience, but that still should always be our guiding principle.

    Shelley, you have great confidence in me that I hope is merited. I do love these ladies, but the important thing is for His love to shine through in everything I communicate. If I can break the bonds of legalism and introduce the idea of grace, then it will be a good study this year.

  4. So far, so good. It went smoothly for the first study. I knew most of the ladies, so didn't have the panic of trying to remember names I "should" have already known. Whew. Thanks for the prayers.

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  6. "You would too, if God asked you"....I L.O.V.E. it. Thanks. What a challenge to my heart as well as a challenge to others. Thanks for sharing.


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