In my last post I mentioned teaching a women’s conference at my friend’s church in Louisiana. A few days prior to the conference, my friend texted me and told me a friend of hers had seen the flyers and asked her, “Who is Lisa Spence?”
Aside from me freaking out JUST A LITTLE over flyers posted around town presumably promoting me alongside the conference—I couldn’t even think about the possibility of there being a picture too—I told my friend that I hoped she had responded that Lisa Spence was “just a nobody.”
“That’s exactly what I said,” my friend texted back. “She’s a NOBODY! I yelled it with passion!”
You may not know my friend but I think you can detect her note of sarcasm even in a text.
I was talking to another friend of mine this week as she recounted the Lord’s faithfulness to her through the years. By the Lord’s mercy, she was saved as a young girl but endured many years of darkness and difficulty before returning to church as a young woman and finally, completely, wholeheartedly embracing the gospel of grace at the age of 40. She spoke of the Lord’s grace in saving her at an early age and how now she can see His hand in greater clarity even in the yucky and hard circumstances.
As I was driving home after our conversation I was thinking of my own testimony of the Lord’s grace and providence to me through the years. I thought of that text conversation with my friend from a couple of weeks ago and how in all honesty, as well as I can know my own heart, I embrace the nobody designation. I welcome it. I am grateful for it.
It hasn’t always been the case. I cannot reflect on my spiritual journey without considering those years of frustration in which I wanted so desperately to be a somebody. I wanted validation, I craved meaning and purpose beyond what I was currently receiving, I despised the perceived smallness of my life and ministry. “I want that,” I would cry out to the Lord, pointing to a specific ministry model, “not this!”
I wanted Beth Moore’s job. That’s what I confessed to my girlfriend ages ago when she and I were attending a retreat and we were instructed to share our most heartfelt dreams and ambitions. I wanted to write and to teach, and the adoration and adulation of thousands looked like a pretty good gig too, though I never would have admitted that last part. At least not out loud.
But I didn’t realize I had Beth Moore’s job and I have it still. It is my privilege to teach, not from the platform of the perfectly coiffed and expertly edited, but to a group of ordinary women I know and love and who know and love me in my ordinariness. I got to go to Louisiana, to my friend’s church, and share with a precious group of Jesus-loving women, most of whom, if not all, have never attended a women’s conference in any form or fashion, Beth Moore or Lisa Spence aside. That same week of the conference I was invited to share with a young mom’s group and we sat in chairs in a circle and I talked about weariness and the gospel and one mom cried and we boasted in the Lord’s faithfulness together.
In all this I am a nobody, at least how I would have defined it all those years ago, and I am glad. Theology and the deep things of the Lord are for ordinary women living ordinary lives, ordinary women striving to do their best as moms, ordinary women living on the bayou in south Louisiana, ordinary women serving as humble Bible teachers grateful for any and every opportunity to speak of the glories of the gospel in Christ Jesus.
The gospel is for nobodies too, maybe even especially so.
So as I think over my journey to this point, I am humbled. Like my friend I see the Lord’s hand at work and I am overwhelmed. I am thankful the Lord denied my presumptuous petitions for the nebulous “more” I thought I lacked and instead taught me contentment here in this nobody life.