Three days ago our preacher man sends out an e-mail saying Alan Hirsch is in town, speaking at this church for something or other and that we can go, if we want. Just let him know and he'll make the arrangements so we can go.
Ummmm......YEAH, SIGN ME UP.
I have been slightly addicted to listening to different podcasts on my ipod lately and he's one of the guys I have been listening to and then quoting in conversations/teachings. Plus I got to hear him speak a few months ago and so much of what he said really resonated with me and sparked in me the idea that I have a real and valued place within the church.
So.......yesterday I actually take a shower, put in my curlers, wear something other than my jeans and get ready to go out into the world of adults. On my way out I grab a notebook, one of Francesca's, just in case I want to write something down - which I probably will because this is ALAN HIRSCH. (I know I am so uncool.......I should not be this impressed by a man that probably few of you know, but I am.)
On my way there I call a friend and say I am a little bit nervous about going because the other folks that got the e-mail couldn't or didn't want to go and so I am just going to have to show up by myself. The few other times I went to this church for stuff like this there are always a bunch of other people there that always seem to know WHAT. IS. GOING. ON. - like you can tell that they are probably important or, at least, know enough to look like they are important.
So I pull in to the church, stuff my notebook in my purse, along with a copy of "Cutting For Stone" because you NEVER know when you will have a few minutes of down time and I HATE being stuck without a book to read. I walk in and it seems really quiet. I think where are all the people? I go upstairs to the room I have been in before - dark. Totally quiet. Hmmmm.......I better go ask someone at the front desk.
I go back down, hoping I didn't get the information wrong, and spot a lady in the hallway.
Me: "Ummm, I thought that it was suppose to be starting at 2:30? Is that right? Did I get the information wrong?"
Nice Lady: "Oh no! It started about 15 minutes ago! Just follow me, hopefully you didn't miss all of it."
Me: "Oh no. Shoot. Okay."
(she starts hurrying me towards the classroom hallway.....I am a bit puzzled by this.)
Nice Lady: "The kindergarteners should be just finishing up."
Me: "Oh.......no, no, I am here to see Alan Hirsch."
(Now the nice lady looks confused.)
Nice Lady: "Oh, ok. Ummmm.......well, come this way."
She leads me to the elevator, points out where I should go and says that I look so young (HA! I haven't been called young in forever!). I start to think, at this point, that there is something that I am not getting. I get off the elevator and there is a guy standing in front of a room - same look on his face as the lady - as if he can't quite figure out what I am doing here. I say I am here to see/hear Alan Hirsch and walk into NOT A BIG ROOM AT ALL BUT A QUITE SMALLISH ROOM THAT IS FILLED WITH MIDDLE-AGED MEN WHO ALL HAVE THAT LOOK OF I AM SOMEONE IMPORTANT.
It is then that I sit down and start furiously texting Preacher Man, using many capital letters and exclamation points.
There is one other woman in the room.
Apparently she heads something or other for a network of churches. She tells me this after I tell her that I lead a village for our church and I stay at home with my kids.
The talk gets started and they all gather around on the couches and chairs around Alan Hirsch. I decide to join them, on the outer circle, but I still want to hear and that's why I came so why not? They start to open their laptops and ipads and what not.........I get out my notebook with Francesca written on the front and dig out a pen out of my purse..........which doesn't work so I just use a pencil. The guy next to me............I. kid. you. not..........every time Alan mentions a book, he goes to Amazon to buy/bookmark it. I write it down with my pencil.........well, I wrote one down. The one that he said was an easy read and essential............I am still working on "Cutting for Stone", people. Priorities, people, priorities.
At one point I turn around and see Preacher Man........grinning. I mouth "I HATE YOU." He grins some more. I slink back to one of the tables to sit with him. He says who are all these guys? BIG guys. IMPORTANT guys. He shrugs it off, says you're doing this stuff that they are here to talk about.
And there it is.
The power of Alan Hirsch and the Preacher Man.
Everyone else sees a mom who must be attending a kindergarten graduation. Fair assumption. Not offended at all. I was called young three times yesterday at that church. Beautiful, once, by the other woman in the room. NO OFFENSE TAKEN, thank you very much.
But those two men?
They see in each one of us - whether a stay-at-home mom or head of some church network/megachurch deal - possibility, power to change our space in this world, influence, potential, whatever you want to call it. They see us not as we are but as we could be........the see beyond the surface. They get excited about the possibilities found in each and every person who loves Jesus. And they make a believer out of you too - not just as someone who believes in Jesus but someone who believes Jesus can work through ANYONE.
I got to talk to Alan Hirsch afterward. I got to tell him how much his words have meant to me, those words spoken a few months ago. How they were a spark that caused me to believe that I could do good things, do brave things, do things that mattered, that I was a part of kingdom work. And you could tell he was genuinely excited by what I was saying. I shared some things that I was doing and how I use his ideas/encouragement to spark things in my village people. I actually said that maybe one of the things that is difficult for these other guys (Oh my word, I can't believe I said this......looking back) is that they might have trouble believing that anyone can do it. That we all have churches to lead. But that he does and it makes a huge difference when you believe anyone can lead a church - whether a church of 2 or a church of thousands. He agreed. He said you have to see it to believe it. That seeing it happen makes all the difference. I thanked him again, said I had to go pick up my kids. He smiled and said something along the lines of this made my day, hearing from you. He had a big smile on his face and gave me a hug.
And here's what I what you to know, to think about, to realize........YOU are someone's Alan Hirsch. Someone out there is looking at you, thinking OH MY WORD, it's LIGA MULLINS....it's RACHEL LIPFORD.....it's KAREN LOW......it's RACHEL CHAMBERS.........and all you need to do is notice that person. You need to tell them that it's not YOU but JESUS in you. That all the things that they think are so great and amazing and wonderful and inspiring (Now, stop. Stop thinking that you aren't great and amazing and wonderful and inspiring. Just stop. You are. If you need to know how and why and what am I talking about......call me, e-mail me........seriously. I will tell you. I see how amazing you are. If you need the words and specifics, I have them. Call me) that it's Jesus working in and through you. AND HE CAN DO THE SAME THINGS IN THEM. It might look different, it might manifest itself in different ways but that they are capable of great things.
That's such a gift.
Not I will do it all for you. Not let me do this for you. Not look at how wonderful I am.
But YOU can do it. Let me show you how amazing YOU are. YOU can do great things. YOU belong here.
So.........who's looking to you - in awe? for guidance? for wisdom? for acceptance?
Are you going to invite them into the circle or try to show them the way to the kindergarten graduation?