Me (catching him moments before the service began): "Good morning, Father--may I ask you an 'official' question?"
He (Immediate smile) : "Absolutely."
Me: "I need to get your permission to start another session of the women's Bible study." (Big breath, swallow)"I've agreed to co-lead the 11 week Beth Moore study. . . though I've never done it before." (Sigh, small shrug--confession in my voice). "I'm . . . a total rookie."
He: "I think its wonderful, and . . . " (smile widening, wisdom in his eyes): "Don't worry. All you need is faith. And hope. Jesus was a 'rookie' too."
Whoa. Wow. Jesus was a rookie.
His simple statement played over and over in mind through the service, and stirs me still. Because it speaks volumes about things that have happened this past year--for me and so many others. Good things, tough things--2009 held both for most people. Changes, challenges. And sometimes we're suddenly on shaky ground. We feel unprepared for what's required of us. We feel (no matter what our age) . . . like a rookie. I've seen it with friends and family, who have:
1) Lost a job, and must start a search for something completely new.
2) Been unable, for the first time, to meet financial responsibilities--including a mortgage.
3) Stepped up to the plate for a spouse or family member coping with devastating illness, loss.
4) Unexpectedly become single, through a relationship breakup, divorce, or death.
And, in this roller coaster year that marked the end of a decade, I've also seen blessings like: a dear friend widowed 10 yrs. now a new bride; the re-marriage of a friend who suffered heartache and betrayal; the birth of my son's first child; a heartwarming reconciliation between a beloved estranged couple--and fellow writers whose dreams have taken heart-stopping leaps toward a goal of publication.
As well as my own journey that saw the release of Critical Care, my first Christian fiction novel, and a writing frenzy (!) resulting in two additional books in the series.
In every instance, from heartache to joy, we've all been "rookies." Thrust into circumstances that are unfamiliar, that challenge us. And therein lies the beauty. New year, new decade, new hope. It's there, waiting for us to accept the challenge. The gauntlet has been thrown down by Someone who sacrificed far more than is asked of us. Who offers us grace beyond what we deserve.
I'll be co-leading a Beth Moore Bible study beginning February 8th. And I plan to say--right up front--that I'm a rookie. But that my heart, hope--my faith--have led me there. And that as rookies go (according to my very wise pastor) I'm in Exceptional Company.
This new decade needs rookies ready for a challenge and filled with hope.
So, how about you? What challenges await you in the New Year? What makes you a brave, new rookie?