It seems this whole Women’s Aglow thing is turning out to be a real blessing in my life. As much as it’s mostly aimed at older women (I still feel like a girl!), a lot of positive things are beginning to sink in for me because of it.
I’ve started helping out with the music on the night, and this has progressed from me doing a bit of tambourine (lol), or doing the overhead projector words, to actually singing and playing with the main leader. Last night I got to sing and play, and I really enjoyed it.
Most of the time I treat my church-related singing/playing as a bit of volunteer work, and I try and do it with a servant-type attitude and a glad heart, but it doesn’t mean I always have fun. However, this time I felt very free to ‘perform’ the way I like to at home, in private, with my own songs. I often hold back in a church service setting because I don’t want to offend anyone or sound like I’m trying to sing a solo part or whatever. I sing things very straight so the congregation can follow the melody line, and tend not to do anything out of the norm unless it’s the very end of the last song of the morning.
But Aglow is different. It’s not church, it’s just enjoying the blessings of being a Christian in a group with other Christians, and sharing that with non-Christians. So, I felt like I had a bit more license to really let go.
This brings me to an odd sort of story.
I started a new job a couple of weeks ago – a miracle in and of itself. I’m one of a few temps from an agency, and we’ve all gotten to be pretty good friends quite quickly, in a work colleague-y sort of way. There’s one particular one of similar age to me, and it turns out I met this person’s aunt at Aglow. So, as I was singing, and deciding whether or not to go with the high harmony, or would that be too showy? – I remembered that she was in the group, and I wanted to be able to reach this work colleague in some way, so I decided I’d step it up a gear for the rest of the set.
I didn’t get chance to speak to the aunt afterwards as she had to go during the quiet music bit at the end, so I don’t know if she was a Christian or what, but it was as though God had answered a prayer of mine from a few days earlier.
My job is to sort and copy and send back ID documents sent in by medical/nursing students with their applications for funding. This involves being really careful with said documents and making sure each step is done precisely in order for no one to accidentally get their drivers license lost, for example. After pouring over a Decree Nisi (the name of pre-divorce papers that I hadn’t even heard of until recently), I said something along the lines of how seeing divorce papers freaks me out. Seeing things like ‘petitioner’ and ‘respondent and co-respondent’ can be a bit harrowing for a young hopeful that’s two months away from getting married.
It was then that this person opened up just a crack and told me about how their parents got a divorce the year they moved up into Year 7, (first year of highschool, 11/12 years old). I wasn’t sure what to say, but tried to listen. And I felt that pull, that old familiar hurt of when you desperately want to see a person saved, or want for them some kind of tangible experience of God that would go towards their healing. So I prayed briefly in my head before carrying on with my photocopying.
Fast forward to Friday night, and there I am talking to their Aunt. I thought, “Hmm, this must be part of the answer. A Christian in their family perhaps?”
Of course, whenever you pray for a person to be saved or healed, their is almost always a cost.
In my excitement to give the heads-up to this colleague of mine that I’d met a relative of theirs, I had a search for their name on Facebook. I immediately added them as a friend… and then read their most current status update. By then, it was too late to ‘un-request’, and I was then stuck in a very awkward situation indeed.
You hear about times when people say things online that get them into trouble, and we all have a laugh about it, but you never think it’ll happen to you. In my case, I’m very careful about what I publish online because, at the end of the day, it’s public even when you think it’s not.
Unfortunately, this person had forgotten to cover themselves from this sort of faux pas and left the setting that would have opted their name out of Facebook search as ‘searchable to everyone’. As such, I was treated to a very rude comment about my appearance and a bit of name calling. I can’t say it surprised me. This person, like most of the other people I work with, enjoys a bit of behind the back gossip, and even some to-the-face-but-still-an-in-joke ridicule. I try not to get too involved because I know the moment I do, it will all come out and I’ll get 100% of the blame.
Now, just for the record, this element of my appearance was something I’d thought about during the week while in a rush to get out the door, and came to the conclusion of, “meh, whatever, I’m going to work, if anyone doesn’t like it, they should remember I’m not there to please their eyes.” And I still haven’t rectified said problem, so go me for sticking to my guns!
Back to the story now… I clicked off the page with the status to look at something else, but then I thought about taking a nice screen shot so I could make one of those “join to see what this guy did to their ex!” type groups that get a million members because they all want to know the gossip. I would have censored the names and stuff (not that it makes it right!), but it could have been quite delicious and ‘lulzy’ for the community at large. So, I go back to this person’s profile and find that this status and the adjoining comments from other friends had mysteriously disappeared… Now, I don’t imagine things like being called names online, so I’m pretty positive I hadn’t made it up. But I could almost feel the intense embarrassment emanating from the remaining information on the page (i.e., the most recent thing on there was now from February). They also decided to accept my friend request a few minutes later.
Because I know I’ll have to face this person on Monday (and every day for the next 10 weeks), and because I actually wanted to be a real friend to them rather than just a work colleague, I sent a brief message saying how they had been very silly, but it’s ok… and, did I mention I met your Aunt last night?
So in the end, I got to impart that happy little piece of information to them, but they haven’t replied… so I’m guessing they’re either hiding away in shame, quitting while they’re ahead, or thinking of a way to blame me for the situation. I’m guessing it’s number two. And I’m happy with that.
And so, the moral of this story is, if you want to do something for God, expect to get dirt kicked in your face, but remember to look upwards and see a big celestial wink of approval.