I was in the early stages of speaking and writing and attended a women’s leadership conference. The keynote presenter was everything I hoped. She was engaging, funny and skilled. I hung on every word.
Then she said this: “Listen ladies, if you want to be a leader you can’t make every ballgame, or class party, or event for your child. It’s not fair but it’s life. Get over it. That’s what it takes to be a leader.”
I sat in my chair, surprised and a little bit confused.
Just like that, it felt like all my dreams slipped out of my reach. Maybe it wasn’t my time. Maybe this wasn’t for me.
Was it possible that I had to choose between following my dream and following my children to a ballgame, a class party, or a special event? Was it really either/or?
Do you ever wish you could go back to your younger self and pull her close and lether know it’s going to be okay? That’s what I wish I could do. If I could, I’d tell her this:
Leading others doesn’t mean that you lose you in the process
Your path doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.
Following where God leads is a unique and beautiful process of embracing the season right where you are and listening to His voice. This isn’t a criticism of the speaker. She was successful in her field and I really loved her work, but I don’t have to buy into a philosophy that says that ministry or leadership knocks me out of participating in my real life.
Or stop being the real me.
Way back then we prayed together as a family and made choices based on our season. We tried to give weight to each person as we planned our calendar.
That meant that sometimes I was in a learning stage rather than a “doing” stage in ministry.
That meant that my children were given the opportunity to cheer mom on as well.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 (NIV)
We cheered together at ball games but they also encouraged mom as she stood on a stage, knees trembling, to share the Word.
As you can see from this picture taken last weekend where I spoke at The Cove in beautiful North Carolina, I find joy in sharing God’s word.
I also find joy in being mom, mother-in-law, Gaga, wife to my guy, and the other roles I am privileged to carry out.
God is BIG enough to multiply what we do in His name, as long as He’s the core of our decisions.
Now here it is, 15 years later and they’re all grown up. I don’t have to worry about this anymore, right?
Richard and I are learning how hard it is when your parents are aging. Suddenly we are trying to learn what it looks like to love your dad when he’s doesn’t always remember who you are.
My grown children stand on their own beautifully, but their need for mom hasn’t disappeared.
There’s also five “littles” looking up at me (with one more on the way). They have no idea that Gaga is a writer and speaker. I’m the person that loves playing Sofia the First and princess and monster trucks. I’m the woman who always has fruit snacks in the pantry or who pulls them in a wagon around the walking trail.
Family is who I am. Ministry is what I get to do in His name.
Together they are a gift.
I don’t know where God is leading you, but I do understand the struggle when people tell you that “success” is all or nothing.
Success is simply being exactly who God asks you to be.
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