Interesting Lessons

I've been going to "MOMS" Bible study at First Pres this fall. It's a good thing. I enjoy having a set time to get out of the house each week and the speaker (Shirley Windham) for the large group time is wonderful! The book we are doing: Holding on to Hope by Nancy Guthrie deals with her own story of suffering and the life of Job. I knew going into this that it was going to be a bit of a personal struggle/learning experience apart from lessons learned during the study. I've had to deal with my personal prejudices/preconcieved notions about "northeast Jackson" ladies, and truly get out of my comfort zone. It's been an experience. I've learned quite a few things (above and beyond the study itself): that wealthy, fashionable people can be godly and are my sisters in Christ, that I have to be content with who I am and my situation in life--pedicures, expensive, fashionable clothes, SUVS, and jewelry, are not within my means and that's okay.
I'm actually VERY happy with my life. I wouldn't trade Tuan, Johnny, our life, even our random assemblage of furniture for the world. It's really myself that I don't like--ever since third grade when I realized that I weighed more than any other kids in my class, I've struggled with liking myself. Excepting a few periods in life, I've always been discontent with the way I looked, my hair, my gifts, my personality. Having small, cute, petite friends never helped. Tuesday as I was looking through/sorting photographs, I came across photos from the ninth grade--"I wasn't "fat" at all", I thought with amazement. In reality, I was just a tall, long-legged, large boned adolescent who was blessed with clear skin. I wish long ago that I had realized that instead of wallowing in insecurity and self-loathing. I still groan when I looked at "trouble spots" in the mirror, or see photos of bad clothing choices, but I need to realize that who am I, the created, to complain about what the creator has made? Trouble spots and all, I bear His image and that counts for a lot.
My small group leader at MOMS handed out some "operation Christmas child" (the shoebox thing) info last week and said if we wanted to bring one in, then she'd get them sent off. I had a LOT of fun filling my box with stuff for a 2-4 year old and was so happy to be able to do that for some kid. I went in to our room and watched as two of the other women came in bearing four boxes a piece and my heart sank. My one little box just seemed so insignificant. But then I realized that I had given out of what I had just as those other women had. Who was I to feel subdued because God had blessed someone with the ability to give to His kingdom work? It was a little bit like the story of the widow's mite, but kind of inverted and turned upside down.
So, the LORD has been teaching me a LOT. I'm still not wholly comfortable there, but I did look around in large group yesterday and realize that not everyone there is one of the "beautiful people". That was comforting. I never speak with this much candor about how I _really_ feel, but here it is. Laid out and naked on the table. I leave you, faithful readers, with this:

(overheard in the bathroom at MOMS)
" . . . . blah, blah blah"
"oh, my gosh, it's not like it's Chi Omega rush at Ole Miss."
"Oh, yeah, like I know"


jclozada said...

Paula, it was great hearing from you the other day. I will have to add your blog to our Links. We are doing well in LR. I love being a mom, as I can tell you do too. It is the biggest blessing ever! Good to hear from you!

Caroline said...

Thank you, dearest Paula, for sharing this. I'm honored to be your friend!

When I took some cooking classes with some First Pres ladies through RUF a couple of summers ago, I had to confront some of my prejudices about those "Northeast Jackson ladies." It was amazing to hear some of their testimonies and learn how God had worked in their lives--many of them had not had the trouble-free lives I usually assumed they'd had, and I was convicted, humbled and encouraged to hear their stories. I still think of those classes when I have to remind myself not to jump to conclusions about people.