Another Day Along the Way
Friday, October 17, 2014
Along the way,
Callie Sorrow’s mom wrote a story in my book, Pause for Pastors. I asked Callie to write for my blog and connect with her mother’s story. I think you’ll enjoy it:
“I want to be just like Mom.” These simple words written in a font that resembled navy blue crayon were offset to their pale gray cotton background. In the middle of my small t-shirt was a female stick figure in Air Force dress blues, saluting with one hand, and waving a small American flag in the other. I was excited for my mommy to see me in this shirt that showed how cool I thought she was, the equivalent to pride in my seven-year-old mind. However, I was a little concerned wearing that shirt. I wasn’t sure if I necessarily wanted to be just like my mom.
Camouflage uniforms and combat boots were not my idea of what I wanted to do the rest of my life. Looking back I realize now that there was much more to my mother’s role as a chaplain than just her in a military uniform interacting and preaching to other uniformed individuals. She was touching their souls, listening to their concerns, helping to bear their burdens, interceding in prayer for them. Mom was being the image of the burden-bearing, compassionate, and loving God to countless airmen who bore the weight of defending our nation. Men and women who felt they needed to be strong and invincible, and did not know how to handle their weaknesses and fears. Mom was the listening ear, the hand to hold, the voice of calm in the storm, the extension of love in a crazy world. In that sense, I want to be just like Mom.
As a student who is pursuing a calling and career in ministry, I have an incredible legacy left before me. Yes, I would love to preach and teach with the same clarity, passion, authority, emotion, and anointing my mother had. But more than that I would love to be able to touch the hearts of people I minister to through listening, presence, laughter, and even silence. I want to hear the story behind the person. The burden the Lord has placed on my heart is not for uniformed men and women, but rather for victims of the sex trade, exploitees of human trafficking, and children soldiers robbed of their childhood. I want to help bear their burdens, hear their hurts, and walk with them in their woundedness. My desire is to escort them to the One who can heal their most desperate of agonies, satisfy their deepest cravings, restore to them their beauty, joy, and innocence. My heart cry is to see their faces that were once distorted with mourning and mangled with anger to be radiant reflections of healed hearts and dawned with the most glorious of smiles. I long to share in their tears and for my boisterous laughter to ring in melody with their own. I pray that I can share in their journey from bondage and pain to freedom and dance. This is the dream I seek to follow, and thankfully the legacy left by my mother has paved a way for me to do so.
My mother never stopped serving despite all the opposition she faced in various forms throughout her time in the chaplaincy, because she knew it was not about her. She was there for her camo-and-combat-boot-cladded flock. She embodied the Air Force’s core value of service before self. She passed that lesson on to me. But more importantly she taught me to love the Lord with all of my being. If anyone loved me more than she did it was Him. She wanted every word that she said, every deed that she did to point back to my Heavenly Father. She didn’t want me to be just like her. She wanted me to be just like Him. She wanted my identity, my fulfillment, my satisfaction to not be rooted or grounded in her, but in Jesus Christ. She has taught me the place I will always find my deepest assurance and fullest confidence, the place I will feel most loved is not behind a pulpit, but rather at the nail-scarred feet of my beloved Lord. This beautiful detail is the reason the legacy my mother has left for me is so wonderful. It is a legacy of love: for family, for the flock, for the lost and most importantly for and of the Lord. In the legacy of my mother, the calling of my Lord, and His promise to go ahead of me and hem me in from behind, I find the courage to follow my dream.
Thanks for the story. And the legacy.
Along the way,
Pause: To keep our hi-tech balanced, we must live the life of hi-touch. Community, unity, church as a family, open-ended questions, transparent confessions, laughter in person instead of just internet humor. (Pause for Pastor: Finding Still Waters in the Storm of Ministry)