Monday, April 7, 2014

You just never know...

I was picking up my daughter from (one of her many) jobs.  She works as a seamstress for a woman with a home business.  The business is thriving, and there's always a million prom dresses, wedding gowns, reenactment costumes, diapers for monkeys and an array of last minute skirts and dresses to do.

Along with the sewing, there are relationship dynamics.  The woman has a family as well as another lady working with her.  It's a full, crazy home--filled with bustle, activities, fabric, thread, and newsy stuff.  I think it's just the kind of energy level I like-- a lot of stuff going on at once.  

So, I was picking up my daughter, and there was a woman there who looked familiar.  I couldn't place where I knew her from.

"Do you homeschool?"  I asked her, going through my mental rolodex quickly, sifting through the 8,000 people I may or may not remember.

"Yeah.. We met at Hallstrom.."  she answered.  And I was still not remembering much.  But I asked about her kids and such.  She said, "I have the two bad boys.."

And Joanna piped in, "Oh, no!  I'm sure your boys are not bad.  We were horrible when we were little..." etc.  

And I was still not recalling any details.  "I'm sure your boys were fine!  I don't remember any bad little boys.."

And I think we closed with some pleasantries and left.

When I got home, I got to thinking about it. "Oh Jo!  This is horrible.  That lady that you were sewing with..  I remember now... She couldn't stand me.  I tried everything I could do to reach out to her, and I got no response.  Every time I tried to talk to her, she acted like I was bothering her..  I'm so sorry.."

Granted.  I'm not reeling in pain over the situation and have clearly blocked it out of my mind.  But I feel bad for Jo who is working with a woman who thinks her mother is a nuisance.

The next day, Jo comes bounding into the house.

"Hey Mom.  You remember that lady that you thought didn't like you? "

yeah??

"You were the only reason she was able to make it through her year at Hallstrom.  She loves you."

What??  What!!???

"You were the only one who reached out to her.  You tried to help with her boys.  You talked to her.."

But Wow!  This realization blew my hair back.  I clearly thought I failed at this encouragement attempt. At the same time that I was trying to encourage this woman, there was another woman with young children who was coming that same year.  I can't remember exactly what I did, the other woman took me aside and told me to leave her alone and that we were "not friends" etc. etc.

It was such an unusual response to my attempts at trying to reach out to the new families that I kind of was dumbfounded and just assumed all of my attempts were futile.

I just figured that I clearly "didn't have IT"-- whatever "it" is.

And now--over a year after the whole thing-- in a random meeting--in an unusual place-- I hear this positive response from an almost stranger.

 Now hear me out.  I am not writing this so that you can all put in the comments how awesome I am or encouraging I am or something lame like that.  Please don't.

The point I am making is this.  We clearly do not have the big picture of what God may be doing through us when we are attempting ministry.  What we consider a success may not be so much in God's eyes.  And what we erase in our minds as a failed attempt, may be the big reason we were there doing xyz in the first place.

I am more and more convinced that I do not have a "clue bird" of what God wants to do to me.  The best I can do for him does not always involve trying to "figure it out" beforehand.   If I walk with him, confess my sins and try to listen to him, moment by moment--that is clearly the BEST I can do for HIM.   And the results?  Those are not something we need to worry about either.

It's very freeing.  It's O.K. to take risks.  It's even O.K. to fail.  But it's not O.K. to obsess about what may or may not be happening about the many things out of our control.


7 comments:

Laura Santos said...

Absolutely! So encouraging to hear my own thoughts put into words. God bless you on your journey, the race set before you.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Amen!

Kind of reminds me of a quote to the effect that
"What other people think of you is not your business".

I don't mean that in terms of "I can do whatever I want and I don't care how that makes you feel", but - as you said - it's our job to be obedient and faithful to God and let Him handle the results.

And I'm GLAD you got a hint of the positive impact you had - so often we won't know until heaven, y'know?

Julie

sara said...

Oh, Jena I'm so glad you got some positive feedback.

I usually talk too much and I think I must put some people off. If someone had said to me what was said to you I would lock myself in the bathroom, have a good cry, feel sorry for myself and then go home and not leave my house for three months.

Your stories encourage me. Thank you.

Jena Webber said...

Sara-- I did have a good cry over it. But it only lasted a day. ONE afternoon, really. Thank you so much ladies. Julie and Laura-- your comments are encouraging as always. Even though I am not posting as much, I am so thankful for those who read. :)

Lolo said...

that is very encouraging. We have joined a local co-op and my husband and teens were shunned even in a Christian org. There has been very few women that would even give my husband the time of day when he brought my children. One person can make a huge difference.

kathrynwarmstrong said...

This is so, so so encouraging...and right on! You've always been a huge blessing to me, but I know that everybody responds differently to us and our feeble attempts to walk in love. God knows our hearts, and sometimes...just sometimes...He blesses our attempts with successes that we don't even know exist. XO

kathrynwarmstrong said...

This is so, so so encouraging...and right on! You've always been a huge blessing to me, but I know that everybody responds differently to us and our feeble attempts to walk in love. God knows our hearts, and sometimes...just sometimes...He blesses our attempts with successes that we don't even know exist. XO