a typical Monday afternoon

A mariachi band appeared on my Subway train car the other day.

They seemed to materialize out of the blue, as if deposited there by those impish Shakespearean faerie beings that decided we could all benefit from a mariachi band performance in the middle of a Monday afternoon.

I was in the midst of reading a really wonderful book and enjoying some really wonderful music on my phone when they sauntered onto the train – an eclectic collection of accordion, guitar, and tiny string bass toted by three men clad in vests and hats.

And my immediate response to their band’s sudden and inexpungable sound that blared into my Subway car, much to the contrary of my family-instilled appreciation of musical and cultural experiences (thanks, Mom and Dad) was “CRAP. A mariachi band.”

When before in my life have I EVER had that thought before? Who have I become?? And how is that these occurrences are now everyday in my world?

As they played on, their raucous music blaring through the subway car and blasting through my earphones’ feeble attempts to block it out, I noticed the man across from me.

With sleepy eyes half-squinted shut, clearly roused from his nap by the music, he sat with a deadpan expression on his face, seemingly resigned to the craziness surrounding us. Apparently he too knew that a mariachi band concert is just part of an afternoon commute home on the F train.

And that’s when I started audibly snickering at the ridiculousness of it all.

This is my life now. Welcome to New York.

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boldness in the Gospel

There I sat in a room full of impressive adults, listening to adulty things, trying to take adulty notes, and being increasingly distracted by the drops of sweat that were slipping down my back as a result of my mad dash across Manhattan to this seminar on non-profit campaigns.

And then it came – that old feeling of inadequacy.

I could imagine the impressive adults, all affiliated with impressive city-based non-profits, changing the world one email at a time, staring at ratchet little me and thinking, “Who invited that giant sweaty child to our impressive non-profit campaign seminar?”

Despite the fact that my name tag stated my title as the Director of Community Outreach with Global Empowerment Services, NY (hold your applause), I did feel like the toddler that sidles up to “Big Kid Table” like she belongs there, snotty nose dripping and Goldfish in hand. (The snotty nose part was true. #thankswinter)

But I, along with other representatives from non-profits across the city, had been invited to Redeemer’s Hope for New York seminar on “How to Execute a Campaign” as part of their partnership training. So I sipped my coffee, cocked my head intelligently to the side, and nodded along to the speaker’s points while trying to ignore my sweaty armpits.

You gotta fake it till you make it.

This same feeling of insufficiency rose up in my throat in the middle of a GED tutoring session with an older South Asian woman.

“Are you really trained for this?” she asked me, her forehead furrowing. “Did you graduate from university?”

“SHE KNOWS! SHE KNOWS!” my brain started immediately to screech. “SHE KNOWS THAT YOU’RE ONLY 21 AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING! HA-HA!!”

But, with a deep breath and a wave of Sovereign grace and confidence, I straightened in my chair and met her gaze steadily. “Yes, I’m qualified. I am a certified English teacher and I graduated from the University of South Carolina a year and a half ago, so I’m perfectly capable of helping you study for and pass your GED with flying colors. Are you ready to do this exercise now?”

The Lord keeps reminding me of 1 Corinthians 1:26-31:

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise…And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'”

So my internal monologue is correct – in and of myself, I am insufficient and and small, BUT because I’m a daughter of God and His power is in me, I can stand tall and equipped to face any task.

YOU can stand tall and equipped to face any task. Praise the Lord.

Paul David Tripp commented in his book, New Morning Mercies, “If you fail to remember who God is in his power, glory, and grace, and you forget who you are as a child in his family, you will always mismeasure your potential to do what God has called you to do.” (#preachtripppreach)

New York can feel completely energizing one moment and wholly overwhelming the next, but I’m trusting that the Lord will give me boldness in the Gospel and the ability to handle anything that gets thrown my way.