Starting a ministry is like having someone constantly breathing on you. Because I’m an extrovert and I have no sense of personal space, I find that initially nice and comforting. BUT because I do have a measure of normalcy infused into my personality (small measure, obvi), the breathing gets exhausting. I am always reminded that Phylla House is resting on me.
If I don’t, who will? I’ve dared to daydream (possibly disobediently) of someone else saying “Yeah, I’m gonna spend my whole life going after this women’s ministry, and you can just help out whenever you feel like it, Helena!” and then immediately felt like Moses or Jonah or even Peter, not initially standing proudly into the thing God has clearly, oh so clearly (almost too clearly) called me to do.
I have other things I like, you know. I like my job at the hospital. I am good at it. They pay me well. There’s room to move up and get even nerdier. I like free time, and lighthearted conversations. And yet I move with that pillar of fire by night and that cloud by day, and I never know how long I need to set up camp. Do I get comfortable? Do I pack light?
I acquired a dresser this weekend, and as I set it up and mounted the mirror, a little part of me felt so disheartened. It’s the first actual piece of furniture I’ve owned since I sold all my stuff in 2011. I don’t have a bed anymore, I gave that to my brother. I don’t have any tables or chairs. I have gotten a few shelves and plastic things, but this dresser…. this dresser went to that place with me.
Funny how a piece of furniture can hit a wound. I found myself asking the Lord how long I’ll have before I have to give away that dresser. How long til He moves me again? How long til life changes completely, again? Will I travel the world again? Will I move states again? I dared to envy the callings of others, the stayers. I envied that they could be in one place, born and raised and then raise families there. I envied that they could point to a place on the map and say that was home. I envied that they didn’t have to schedule visits to see their families.
I dared to take for granted the beautiful life in common I get to have with Jesus Christ. When I get to heaven, I get to high-five Him over so many things. He didn’t have a home either. He didn’t get to hang out with the family much. He knew how to make a dresser, but I bet He didn’t keep one for long. In His 33 years, He moved with the wind of the Spirit and He didn’t try to fight against it. I bet He felt that breath on Him constantly. I bet He had to go to the Father on the daily, to check His heart and get direction.
The breath never stops breathing. I bet Jesus liked making furniture, and He was probably good at it. What He didn’t do was say no to His purpose in order to settle into a quiet life of making tables. I wonder if He ever thought about it, what it’d be like to let someone else do the thing, to bow out. He probably thought about it, but never actually considered it.
In the same way, I feel crazy but I know I have to stick with this thing. The long calls, the tears, the waiting, the rejections that aren’t to be taken personally, the hesitation, the sickness, and the pain… taking it all in with the hugs, and the letters, the ‘thank you’s, testimonies, and breakthroughs. I take it in with the bravery to pray for impossible things, and with a parent’s heart that can’t protect my girls from making their mistakes. To watch the prodigals cash out, and to watch the elder siblings check out on grace, and to stand on that proverbial porch, day in and day out, straining my eyes, ready to run if I see even a shadow of a sweet one coming home. I take it all in together. I’m a women’s pastor with a mother’s heart. No turning back, yeah?
I do not know what I’m doing, but I know the One I’m serving.
Even now, He’s breathing on me.