Before the Lord allowed me to travel, speak, and write about Him, I lived in an enchanted, beautiful, and sticky place. It is a section of my life I refer to as “peanut butter and jelly land.” I had the amazing opportunity to be a full-time stay-at-home mom and experience all that that gig entails. Deep in my heart I knew that one day He would allow me to speak and minister to women. When I would ask Him about my “women’s ministry,” He would direct me to loads of dirty laundry, diapers that needed changing, and three daughters that looked to me for mothering.
Yep, I had a “women’s ministry” all right. Two-thirds of my children were thumb suckers. We tried all sorts of remedies to help them stop before their first day of middle school. Kidding . . . they weren’t quite that old, but some days it felt like they would be. One of my girls had a chart that she daily checked off her non-thumb-sucking accomplishments. At the end of the week, her seven check marks earned her a Slurpee (Icee, Koolie, etc. depending on what part of the country you are from).
Friday arrived, and she was thrilled to see all those check marks declaring a victory. What a glorious atmosphere filled my minivan as we cheered and chanted her accomplishments for the week. “You did it!” “We are so proud of you!” “Slurpee! Slurpee! Slurpee!” During the loud celebration and verbal party that I was throwing for my breaking-a-thumb-sucking-habit child, her sister (my non-thumb-sucker child) inquired from the back seat, “Hey, can I have a Slurpee too?”
“What?? No way! That is so unfair! She can’t have one!!” my chart completer protested.
Being the wise mother that I am, I replied, “Is your Slurpee going to taste any better if she doesn’t have one?”
God, the wise Father that He is, interrupted my thoughts and spoke to my heart, “And are you going to feel the same way when I give Carrie a speaking ministry?”
Ouch! He was letting me know that years later I would have a chance to use my speaking gift to help others, but He was warning my heart or maybe even highlighting part of my flesh nature. He wanted me to be ready to celebrate my friend as He used her to do the very same thing.
I think it is often easier to celebrate those who have a different place in the body of Christ or in business. I can easily celebrate an administrative job well done because I know that I could never be a good administrator. YAY for my friend who leads worship on stage, but do her fellow worship leaders feel as excited for her gifting? Or is it a little too close to home? When someone else functions well in the same spot He has called us to, are we celebrating them? When we celebrate them, we are truly celebrating Him in them.
The Bible tells us that we are in a spiritual war (Ephesians 6:12). I don’t know about you, but when I picture a battlefield, the more ground that is covered with His troops, the lighter the work for each individual and the stronger the force against the enemy. Our enemy wants us to be distracted with competing with each other, comparing, and feeling inferior because he knows together we are much stronger. Let’s lock arms today like a big chain that cannot be broken. I need your gifts and your strengths.
And remember, is your Slurpee going to taste any better if she doesn’t have one?