Monday, October 19, 2015

A Public Thank You Note

I felt the onslaught of distressing emotions coming over me so I hurriedly excused myself. I quickly made my way to my hotel room before I ugly cried in front of everyone. A mix of exhaustion, fear, and feelings of uselessness overwhelmed me again, and I don't remember how, but my sister-in-law noticed or was made aware of my quick escape and came knocking on my door. With apprehension and mistrust, I called out to her to come in.

In my mind, my sister-in-law and I were more acquaintances than friends or family. I didn't feel like we had much in common, and had decided ahead of time we probably wouldn't or couldn't be close friends. I excel at making snap judgements like that.

For example, my sister-in-law has incredible style and always looks put together compared to my own disheveled, frumpy look. My sister-in-law has amazingly smooth hair compared to my own unruly, puffy mess. My sister-in-law looks athletic, thin, and tall compared to my own short, squatty stature.  My sister-in-law feels comfortable in heels where I prefer comfort, period. My sister-in-law has a confident, welcoming smile where my smile is often offered along with a fear of encouraging a relationship I don't have an extrovert's energy for.

My sister-in-law has a gift of public speaking; she can speak almost off the cuff, coherently and with authority, in front of large audiences without seeming to need to refer to notes compared to my own emotionally choked, public speaking attempts that force me to have to read what I want to say. My sister-in-law has the gift of hospitality; she can easily welcome strangers into her home for a meal or a place to stay compared to my own selfish desire for privacy and fears of being inconvenienced. My sister-in-law has been called to women's ministry and leadership compared to my own not being sure of what my calling might be and desire, more often than not, to hide behind the scenes.

So as my sister-in-law came through the door, I knew she came not only as a family member or friend, but in the capacity of women's minister with an offer to council and pray with me in my distress. However, my apprehension and mistrust came from feeling like my sister-in-law could not possibly minister to me because my sister-in-law has not had to endure my challenging life experiences. In all my comparisons, I also considered (unfairly) that my sister-in-law's life trials have been easier than mine so I braced myself to feel no comfort whatsoever from her words. How could my sister-in-law possibly understand what I was going through when she had never walked in my shoes?

But my sister-in-law did minister to me. And I know she did it even though she was tired and emotionally spent from the work of the week, too. She entered my room with humility and compassion; she brought encouragement and comfort. She may not have walked in my shoes, but I know she tries to walk daily in the Word, something I have trouble remembering to do and could do better to follow her example. My sister-in-law brought words of Truth that did not need to be learned from life experiences.

That day I felt more than just being my sister-in-law's acquaintance. I felt my sister-in-law's friendship, and more importantly like I had a real sister, a family member, and a mentor in Christ.

Thank you for taking time for me, Mindy. I obviously haven't forgotten. And sorry I'm not good at saying these things in person and instead wrote it publicly. As my brother, your husband, seems to say a lot, "It's easier to just do it now, and ask forgiveness later." (Or something like that!)

P.S. Mindy has her own blog where she writes her thoughts occasionally (, but I would say her real gifts involve teaching, encouraging, and proclaiming scripture to women either one-on-one or in a public speaking format.

No comments:

Post a Comment