When the Woman in the Mirror Isn’t You

mirror image

mirror image

It was the thing I dreaded most the years we spent in our traditional church pastorate: women’s ministry. By gender, I was the default leader of all such ministries under the heading of “women”. Ugh!

I also headed up the youth programs and planned Sunday services and special events. I worked with volunteers and got dirty in a warehouse screening gifts for kids at Christmas. There were plenty of things I was more drawn to to keep me busy.

reflection

reflection

Give me a weekend trip with a van load of middle school kids any day but please, not another trip to the Strawberry Festival or local buffet with a group of women! I didn’t have one more service idea in my head. How many tray favors can you make for a nursing home? I don’t even think they use them. They’re just nice and accept our pitiful need to do something, anything.

But here I sat, in the midst of 30 or so women who were 30 or so years older than me, around tables in the back of our chapel. Most of these women had other churches and that was okay with me. They came together to get out and be with other women. The very thing I didn’t understand. I wasn’t too good at the “just being”.

I did my thing. I smiled. I learned their names and laughed when they laughed. I patted shoulders and hugged the huggers. I even drove the van to the Strawberry Festival on a very cold Central Florida morning. (Okay, maybe I made our youth director drive so I’d have someone to hang with.) But I never felt like I fit.

Agnes sat me down one day. Actually, she was already sitting down but she wanted to tell me something important and I needed to sit to listen to her. So I did. She told me her husband had been a pastor and she didn’t fit the role of their churches previous pastor wives. She didn’t play piano. She didn’t teach Sunday School class and she had to tell them she couldn’t, wouldn’t be like those before her. She looked at me and said, you have to be you.

I nearly cried. This woman from a different generation, different church, different customs and expectations knew what it was like when the woman in the mirror wasn’t you. She understood her abilities and she understood mine. She saw my awkwardness like the clawing at a sweater that just doesn’t fit right. You tug and pull and shift it this way or that but it’s never right because it doesn’t fit.

Because of our church structure and requirements I couldn’t relinquish this role. The women in our denomination aren’t Pastors Wives but Pastor’s themselves. But Agnes released me from my self-imposed constraints. She gave me freedom to realize I had been looking into the wrong mirror. I’d been peering into one made by man and its reflection is always poor.

I still had to oversee the Women’s Ministries but I could do that in peace knowing it would never be the right fit and that was okay. Sometimes the things we’re called to do can feel that way, awkward and uncomfortable. Those are the times God tells us it’s okay. Grab the right mirror. There’s only one that will reflect you, the one made in His image, the one like no other.

Linking up with SheLoves Magazine for this months theme: mirror. Click here to read other SheLoves posts.

9 thoughts on “When the Woman in the Mirror Isn’t You

  1. Anne-Marie Heckt says:

    Hi Debby – thanks for this. It’s an unexpected twist – that you come to a realization, but stay with it, just finding a way to do it that works for you. I like that – as there are so many necessary things that aren’t easy. I especially liked: ‘Grab the right mirror. There’s only one that will reflect you, the one made in His image, the one like no other.’

  2. sarahquezada2014 says:

    Hi Debby! I found your post via SheLoves and I appreciate these words. It’s such a good reminder of both feeling comfy in our own skin and that sometimes we have to do uncomfortable work anyway. Love it!

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