finding waters in Embrace Me, puzzles and coffee

Friday was a pretty awful day, with a garbage disposal failure (plumber can’t come until NEXT THURSDAY and I will be out of town) and the discovery of a major leak in my drip system. After the week I had, it just made sense this will all happen to me yesterday.

Tuesday I had the women’s book club to set up and run. I was up all night Monday worrying about it, as it was the first time I’d done this kind of thing and it was very new for this church and this culture. I was getting asked on Monday, “Where do we get the book” “Do we come with it read?” After I’d been advertising for two months. Ugh. People are frustrating. 

Tuesday went fine but was very stressful. Wednesday was another stressful day with two unexpected meetings eating up my morning and Wednesday night’s class not quite prepped yet. By the end of class that night I was done for, so when two young women in the class asked to be let back into the church while I had an armful of class material in the pouring rain, I very nearly lost it in front of them. Instead I decided to go to the grocery store and call my mom on the way. I sat in the parking lot for 45 minutes crying to her about how much this job was killing me inside.

But it’s not the job, really. It’s the constant neediness. I didn’t grow up in a household like that. I grew up fending for myself, and being told to get it done – and figure out a way on your own how to get it done. The fact that people need their hand held through something as simple as a book club makes me want to scream. And cry.
A friend asked me to come over for a game night on Thursday. I just couldn’t do it. All I wanted to do was sit at home and cry. While I’m sure the invitation was sincere, it felt like just another obligation to someone in the church who needed me for something. Another friend texted me Friday afternoon and asked if I would go shopping with her this morning. Knowing I needed to get out of the house after my crappy day of household breakage, yard work and more frustration, I agreed.

I open the door this morning to her and two other friends, with donuts, puzzles and smiling faces.“We’re kidnapping you.” They pushed their way into to my home, began to make coffee and set up a puzzle. I was stunned. It took me a while to process what they were doing, so much so I couldn’t really even enjoy the fact that they were here because they were worried about me, knew I was struggling and wanted to be there for me. I was stunned because this has never happened to me. Honestly, never. With the obvious exception of my family, I’ve never had friends put away their own concerns and needs for mine, so much so to sacrifice a morning just to heal me. I really didn’t know what to do with that.

We talked, ate donuts, drank coffee and put together two puzzles. They left at noon. I’ve been reading and watching TV to spoil myself for the rest of the day.

I finished the book Embrace Me by Lisa Sampson. Wonderful stuff. I’m putting it on the book blub list for next spring. Lots of redemption and a wonderful story for God’s ability to transform our heart and forgive others.
Tomorrow is full of more neediness. I have to run children’s church and sing opera at a colleagee’s going away potluck. I am, however, refusing to bring a dish for it. I am not superwoman.

 This post is part of the he caused waters to flow project

3 Comments on “finding waters in Embrace Me, puzzles and coffee

  1. Loved what your friends did Stephanie. How can you beat donuts?

    Yet I also understand “it felt like just another obligation”.


  2. is there anything we can do about that, Bob? The obligation/social invitation is one of the banes of my existence in ministry.


  3. Give yourself permission to say no yet purposefully develop friendships (where you “want” to say yes) in the church. And when you truly feel obligated see it as a way to “occasionally” deny yourself and follow Jesus where he leads you.

    Hope that helps. I so appreciate your struggle Stephanie and how you wrestle with what it means to be the minister that God wants you to be.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Blessings, Bob


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