The other day I found myself cruising through Tucson with the windows down, jamming to Justin Timberlake Sexy/Back from behind the steering wheel, rocking my aviator sun glasses and just feeling SO. DARN. COOL. After all, I was wearing skinny jeans.
If you had asked me how old I was I SWEAR I would have said 22. Long blond hair blowing in the wind. I had peace, I had passion and I had ENERGY (like the real kind, not the kind you get from inhaling coffee) back when I was 22.
I pulled to a stop at Broadway and Craycroft and caught my reflection in a pick up truck next to me.
And friends I’m sorry, and honestly a bit surprised, to say I didn’t see 22. I didn’t see youth. I didn’t see cool. I didn’t see carefree. I didn’t see long blond hair blowing in the breeze.
I saw two kids in the back of a grey Ford Taurus.
I saw mascara that was sloppily applied because I was trying to keep little hands out of the toilet. I felt the stretch marks left on my skin that will probably always remain even if I try to cover them up with skinny jeans. I saw a pony tail, and the circles under my eyes. I saw moves and miscarriages and mortgage payments and mishaps and I saw weekly cleanings and 3,650 dinners cooked.
And I felt deceived.
This week I am speaking at the University (I am not a “staff” speaker this week, I am a “guest” speaker. Sounds pretty impressive, huh?) and even though it hasn’t been very long since I left campus ministry work it feels like a world away. It feels like the difference between 22 and 32.
I have maintained my writing here on my blog but on Thursday night I will have to remember how to put my voice, my female voice with a lingering midwest accent, to those written words.
And I’ll stand up there, most definitely wearing my skinny jeans so that those kids think I’m hip, but when I see my reflection in the windows of the Student Union I fear I might just see a mom playing dress up.
I fear that I will see a woman who spends her hours trying to negotiate with a 4 year old and has to change her shirt three times a day because it got covered in poop and dirt and peanut butter, not one who has been to seminary or even has a spare minute to read a heavy theology book.
I fear I will see someone unqualified and unprofessional.
Actually, I fear that I am unqualified and unprofessional.
Who am I?
Who am I Lord, to go before Pharaoh?
Who am I Lord, to carry the Christ child?
Who am I Lord to be the Rock upon which your Church is built?
Who am I Lord?
What have I to offer to anyone?
Those reflections I catch of myself don’t lie.
I’m not 22, I am 32.
I am wearing a different shirt because my littles dirtied the first one up.
I do spend lots and lots of hours in the kitchen and spend lots of lots of days in yoga pants.
I do haul kids around in my gray ford taurus.
I am just a woman.
I am just a mom.
No, those reflections don’t lie, but they do deceive.
That extra decade has been a decade full of trusting God and seeking Wisdom and becoming more like His Son.
Those skinny jeans were a gift from a BFF because she wanted me to feel great about myself, I wear them with the pride not because I look like I’m 22 but because I have been blessed with people who love me.
Those meals filled us.
Those peanut-butter covered hands are the hands of my son, whom God has given to me to love and raise into a young man.
And those yoga pants are just really damn comfy.
And none of these things disqualify me.
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep
So yes Jesus, I will try to feed your sheep, whichever sheep you send my way.
I will feed them at home and at church and around town and, this Thursday, on campus.
I will feed them your Word and I will feed them pasta dishes when they bring home their newborn babies.
I will feed them in yoga pants and I will feed them in skinny jeans.
I will feed them not because I have a seminary degree hanging on my wall or a fancy suit or youth or energy or because I am a professional.
I will feed them because I love you, and because you first loved me.