Suzie and Tracy are your typical suburban moms. They are both college educated working professionals who choose to stay home when their children were born. When the last of their children went off to school, they began to feel a stirring in their spirit. They began to wonder, “How can I make the most out of my life?” Their friends suggested they get a part-time job, but neither of them desired more money. What they both desired was to make a difference in the world.
Suzie believed that she was called by God to do something but did not know what. She signed up for a women’s retreat at her church. There she heard an amazing speaker share how she had discerned God call to work with the homeless. Suzie was moved and felt God calling her to invest her life in serving the poor. She left the retreat on fire and determined to follow God’s call.
Like Suzie, Tracy knew that God was calling her to something of significance but she could not discern what that something was. She began telling her friends about her desire and someone suggested that she contact a woman in their church who had followed God’s call and was serving the urban poor. So, Tracy called up the woman, Wanda, and they agreed to meet.
Tracy was inspired by Wanda’s journey and asked Wanda if she would help her discern her own unique call. Wanda agreed. Over the next several months, Wanda and Tracy went on walks, exchanged emails and Tracy began serving alongside Wanda in the inner city. Tracy was moved by the stories of complete strangers who had gone through so much and who were praising God in the midst of their trials. As she saw God in unlikely places and people, Tracy’s faith began to grow in ways she had never experienced.
Suzie returned from her retreat on a spiritual high. She prayed every day that God would show her the way. She enrolled in a Bible study at her church titled “Discerning your call.” For three months, Suzie and the other participants learned about God’s mandate to care for those in need. Susie learned her spiritual gifts, her natural abilities, and how her life experiences had shaped her uniquely. The class re-kindled the fire in her heart and she recommitted to serving the poor.
One day Tracy met a young mom while serving alongside Wanda. The mom named Monica who had just given birth to a crack addicted baby boy. Social services had placed the baby with a foster family. Monica was sobbing in Tracy’s arms; crying out to God to return her child to her. Tracy had no idea what to say to this grief stricken mother but was even more concerned for the long-term health and well-being of the child. She was conflicted inside when Monica asked her to help her reclaim her child.
Tracy did not know what to do. Wanda required that all the volunteers participate in a “reflection” session at the end of each day’s activities. Tracy shared the story with other women in the circle. Some had been serving with Wanda for years and others were like her, totally new to this kind of work. One of the more experienced women shared that something similar had happened to her a few years ago. The woman shared that God had led her to the story of the prodigal son and revealed to her that as long as the woman was still wallowing with the pigs in her addiction, she would only squander the blessing of being a mother and the child would suffer. Tracy found this woman’s words of wisdom very helpful. The next week Tracy agreed to help Monica regain custody of her child but only if she would commit to going into drug treatment program and parenting classes. Tracy leaned on the knowledge and experience of her fellow volunteers to get Monica into the right program and learned from them proper boundaries in her relationship with Monica.
Suzie’s bible study class ended but studying the bible had been very helpful to Suzie in feeling good about following her call to serve God. She decided to sign up for another class. She was excited because she had made a lot of new friends and they all felt like she did; called by God to serve in the world. It felt good to be surrounded by people who felt God was calling them to serve others.
One year later, Tracy stood next to Monica as the judge ruled that Monica was ready to be a mom. With Tracy’s support and encouragement, Monica had gotten a job, her own apartment and had just celebrated her one year of sobriety. Tracy had journeyed with her every step of the way and knew this was not the end. Monica would need ongoing support and encouragement to maintain her sobriety but Tracy knew that this was her call in life.
Monica had introduced Tracy to several other mothers who had lost their children due to addiction and Tracy was walking alongside those mothers just as she had in the early days with Monica. Monica was a role model for these other mothers and she knew that her sobriety was not just about her, but all those other women who looked up to her. She was determined not to let them down. She was now encouraging others the way Tracy had encouraged her.
Six years later, Suzie was still attending bible studies at her local church. The original passion surrounding God’s call on her life was gone despite countless retreats and conferences aimed at refueling it. Suzie began to wonder if there was really anything to this whole Christian thing. She had done everything she could think of but she still felt empty inside. Was this all there was to it? Suzie began to battle depression. Over time Suzie became disenchanted with her church and stopped going all together.
Over the next decade, Tracy helped dozens of women reunite with their children. She is part of a huge family that only God could have brought together. The children whose lives she has touched have become like her own children and their mothers like sisters and daughters to her. Her life is full and she can’t help but tell others about how God has worked through her over the years. She and Monica now speak at women’s retreats and mentor other care givers.
Throughout my life I have been both a Suzie and a Tracy and am now a Wanda. As a Wanda I speak to Suzie’s at retreats and serve alongside with Tracy’s in the inner city. I have to say the Suzie’s out number the Tracy’s at least ten to one. However, I know God is calling me to help more Suzie’s find their way.
In my post “Finding Your One Thing”, I shared that I felt called to fuel a missional movement of God. What does this movement look like? It looks like a bunch of Wanda’s mentoring the Tracy’s. It looks like Tracy’s encouraging the Monica’s. It looks like Monica’s mentoring other Monica’s. It looks like Wanda’s, Tracy’s, and Monica’s gathering with other servants of God to reflect and share their collective wisdom. How do we fuel this kind of movement?
1.) We find Wanda’s who are willing to invest in Tracy’s.
2.) We create opportunities for Tracy’s to meet Monica’s.
3.) We create safe spaces where co-laborers come together to reflect on their experiences.
In other words, we do what Jesus did. We invest in Peter, James and John and empower them to invest in others.
So, if God raised up Wanda’s and Tracy’s who helped the Susie’s find their way, and if we brought them together into service oriented small groups for support and encouragement, do you think we could fuel a missional movement of God?
Are you in a Wanda, Tracy, Monica or Suzie season of life? Do you sense God calling you to be a part of a movement like this?
I don’t know exactly what God has in mind or how to bring all the pieces together. I just felt called to share my observation.
Note to my male readers: I wrote this story with a female voice but believe the same principals apply to men. I beg the forgiveness of my male readers on this one. I am in no way suggesting that women are any more likely to fuel a movement then men. I am just speaking from my own experience. I hope you can see yourself in these metaphorical characters.