When I was a little girl I never let my feet dangle over the edge of the bed at night. I was always afraid that some creature would reach out from beneath my bed and grab me. The idea of some slimy creature yanking my quivering form into the fathomless darkness terrified me.
When I became a grown woman I became equally afraid of the opinions of other people. I dared not dangle my true self out where someone could see and disapprove of me.
Not easy. As a pastor’s wife, I was afraid that the movers and shakers of the church would find me and call me out for all the ways I failed to please the congregation and God himself. So, I tried to keep a low profile as much as possible..
Then, they found me..
It happened on a Tuesday night. I stood in the middle of the women’s prayer meeting trying to act like I belonged. It wasn’t easy. All I could think about were the phone calls and the comments I had gotten over the last few months. Why did I miss special meetings a few weeks ago? How come I wore outdated sandals and suntan pantyhose? When was I going to start spending more time helping in the children’s ministry?
As I hugged my purse to my chest and waited for the evening to end manicured nails suddenly gripped my shoulders. A mix of exotic perfume slammed into my nostrils.
“Set this woman free,” a prayer warrior cried, “Increase her vision.”
“Expand her ministry,” another voice joined in, “make her great in the kingdom.”
I stared at my scuffed shoes. Increase my vision? Expand my ministry? Seriously? That’s what God wanted to tell me? II could barely make it through the day. Just thinking about being “Great in the kingdom” exhausted me.
“There’s no place like home”, I whispered in my best Judy Garland imitation, “no place like home.”
No one heard me. It didn’t matter anyway. I was a pastor’s wife and was expected to stay until the last “amen”. So, I studied the stains in the carpet until it was time to go home.
Late that night, I lay beside my snoring husband and stared into the darkness. It seemed as if everyone was disappointed in me, including God.
Why not? I was as inspirational as a cardboard box. There was no riveting history of ministry accomplishments behind my name. I could recall no divine moments when I heard the voice of God. I never saw an angel, scared off a demon or glimpsed the fires of hell in a vision. Even though I fiercely held onto the fact that I was a child of God, I felt weak, ordinary and very alone.