This website is my baby. And since I haven’t posted in two weeks, I feel like a horrible mother who lets her kid sit around in a dirty diaper without changing it for hours. There’s some weird, freaky guilt that goes along with having this “responsibility” that you blatantly ignore for 14 days. In the eight years since I decided to go FULL BLOGGER, I’ve never gone more than four days without writing unless I was out of the country without Internet access. Even then, I got heart burn thinking about my rented space just sitting there with last season’s thoughts lingering on the page.
Sure, I have drastically fewer visitors when the Bachelor season is over and that’s okay. I understand that some people only come here to read my silly made up introductory paragraphs about Our Host Chris Harrison’s piercing eyes and the show saving antics of the ABC intern. I love those people.
But some of you stay. And I feel a sense of obligation to entertain you. I love you people too. I totally think we could be BFFs if we knew each other personally. To those handful of you reading this who do know me personally, your check is in the mail.
What have I been doing these two weeks? Well I’m glad you asked. After posting the season finale of the Bachelor Pad, I hopped in my car for a five day long trip through Louisiana where I visited a few land rigs. I wrote a lot for work that week and I just didn’t have it in me to write over the weekend. I figured everyone would be cool with me taking a few days off and pushed the guilt aside.
With my work deadlines looming, I wrote and wrote Monday and Tuesday. Ah Tuesday. The day swooped in so fast that I was almost startled to realize that it had been a seven days since my last post. But there was no time. I had to prepare for my church’s Women’s Retreat that took place on Saturday.
You see, I was in charge of program. Loosely translated, that means I was in charge of making people laugh. I did this in a Continental flight attendant suit. Naturally, a script was in the mix. It too had to be written. And memorized. To top it off, I was asked to give my testimony on Saturday night. My service testimony.
I made a decision a long time ago to not make this blog a “Christian” blog. However, I feel that I do a decent job not keeping my faith a secret. Anyone can see from reading my bio that I love Jesus. The truth is that I’ve been convicted the past couple of days to share this service testimony with you on my blog. And the thought of hitting send makes me sort of anxious. I’m not scared that you will think I’m a Jesus freak and never come back. I’m more embarrassed of what I have to say. So I’ve been a big fat chicken sitting on my couch watching DVR’d episodes of Vampire Diaries (it’s so good) and GLEE while my computer mocks me in the corner.
Then day 14 ticked by and I don’t think my guilt-induced stomach ulcer will allow me to go any more days without logging in. With that said, I will be obedient and use this space to confess an ugly truth.
My Service Testimony
The first person I remember truly serving with all my heart was my sister. She would time me to see how long it took me to run downstairs and make her a sandwich. I did this on numerous occasions. The second time I remember serving others was when my class sang “Jingle Bells” in Spanish at the old folks home. If you think it’s bad now, my East Texas accent was especially twangy in the sixth grade.
The next couple of years were sprinkled with different outreaches. Although I wouldn’t call it “service.” It was more like prepping for college resumes or real world resumes. I did a lot with food banks, read to a couple of kids a few times and even picked up trash in the city park.
Life was going pretty good by the time I got out of college and into the real world. After dating almost eight years, I married my high school sweetheart. A few years later, he made a choice to be unfaithful. He chose to be with another woman. As an approval addict and people pleaser, you can imagine how crippling it was to learn that the one person in the world who was bound to love and protect you always decided to love and protect another. As you all know, sometimes life hands you lemons. What do you do when that happens?
That’s right. You add vodka.
It was not in my grand life plan to go through a divorce at such a young age. I could pick myself up or wallow in self pity. I chose to wallow. Let’s just say that I went through a bit of a depression. Most days I ended up eating gummy bears in a sea of snotty Kleenex watching old episodes of Friends. And that was a good day. Most people encouraged me to go to counseling, but I had pride issues about it and ignored them. It wasn’t until my friend Jill called and said that she missed the old Lincee that I decided to see a counselor. In fact, I saw about six of them because I never thought they “got” me, but that’s neither here nor there. What they all had in common was the same solution. They encouraged me to serve. I was told that if I gave other people MY TME…and not just money or things…then I would probably gain a more positive perspective in life.
Around this time, I started going to Grace Bible Church. I went through a Growth Group and discovered that my spiritual gifts are both mercy and service. Serving others had always come easy to me. I had just never made it a priority in my life. It was time for a change.
That change came in the form of a mission trip to Costa Rica.
I was very worried about this trip. I’m from Hallsville, Texas and a big trip for me was moving three hours away to Waco to attend Baylor University. I had never been out of the country. I had never been on a mission trip. I was nervous about huge things like going to the bathroom and travel toilet paper and electric sockets to plug in my phone because what if work needed something? How would I survive without Dr Pepper?
Within minutes of arriving at the school in the ghetto, I realized that these kids didn’t really care about toilet paper. They cared about having shoes on their feet. They cared about filling their stomaches with rice and beans at lunch. They cared that someone…a complete stranger…took the time to hug them that day.
While watching a gorgeous sunset one morning, I came across Matthew 20:28… “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, BUT TO SERVE, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
I learned in Costa Rica that life is not all about me.
Two years later I was excited to stand in front of about 200 kids at a youth camp in Cuba. I told them how encouraged I was that they were eager to learn about Christ and how honored we were to be there to teach them and answer questions. God quickly humbled my big mouth. I witnessed kids soaking up the word like I’ve never seen. I saw them worship with reckless abandon and praise the Lord in a way I’ve never had the courage to do.
I learned in Cuba that life is not all about me.
The next year, I was asked to be the community service coordinator for the women of GBC. I can only assume they chose me because I had been running the PowerPoint for the church since the beginning of time. Along with YoungLives and the 5th Ward Crisis Pregnancy Center, we decided to serve the homeless women at Star of Hope. As the coordinator, I felt it was my duty to choose an organization to submerge myself in. I chose Star of Hope. We had the great idea to implement a night of pampering for these women…manicures and pedicures. I soon learned that some people in this world have a weird foot phobia. Since I didn’t mind feet, I thought my services would be best utilized on that detail.
Armored with foot baths and enough Calgon to take this entire room away, a few of us settled on the floor, ready to scrub away. I will never forget the lady who came up behind me. She looked tired and unclean. She never sat down. She just stood behind me. I introduced myself and invited her to sit and soak. She looked at me with glassy eyes and said, “You’re doing feet?” I told her we were and babbled on about something that had to do with lavender bubbles and that I was praying that I wouldn’t electrocute her with the foot spa. She didn’t flinch. Some people don’t understand my other spiritual gift. The gift of sarcasm.
Still standing, she looked again and said, “You’re really going to touch my feet?”
A big lump appeared in my throat. I fought back tears, realizing that she was blown away at the thought of someone washing her feet.
“Yes. Yes I am,” I answered in a whisper.
That’s when the shift occurred. Two nail pierced hands reached down, touched my face and said, “I’ve been waiting for you to finally get it!”
Oh I get it. It’s not about me.
I’d like to let you in on a little secret. I’m a work in progress. I am not the shiny, happy servant who is the perfect person to share a service testimony. Yes I wash feet. Yes I’m a greeter. Yes I lead a Community Group. Yes I dress like a flight attendant at the Women’s Retreat along with coordinating spontaneous dance parties. What you don’t know is that I struggle to keep a genuine heart while I serve.
Some days I wonder when life is going to start going my way. Part of me likes to tally up all of my “good deeds” and present them to the Lord so I can be rewarded. Haven’t I put in enough time at the church? When am I going to be blessed with a husband? What does she do that I don’t? How come she gets rewarded and I don’t? These ladies’ feet aren’t going to wash themselves. Does God even see what I’m going through to advance His Kingdom?
Does that sound like a heart that serves well?
Then I stop. And confess. I confess my bitter, hard heart on a daily basis and ask Him to reveal what it means to be a true servant of God. Then I read Romans 12 again and again:
“Therefore, I urge you in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Thank you Lord that you still love me even though I’m a work in progress.
It’s not about me.
It’s about how we are all called to serve others.
It’s about being obedient and surrendering our ways to HIS ways.
It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something sacrificial.
It’s about others seeing Jesus in me.