Yesterday I hosted an event at our home for homeschool friends, church friends, public school friends, and friends of friends. I called it a Couples Wellness Workshop, but it was a lot more than that, because wellness is not one-dimensional, and neither am I.
Most of you probably know by now that my faith in God is the lens through which I view everything, including health, and though I realize that not everyone shares my perspective, I've come to embrace the fact that being an authentic communicator means being authentically me, Christianity and all. It's part of the package. So here you go!
This was kind of like nutrition class + church + couples therapy + team building + Bible study + comic relief + life coaching all rolled into one. Had we stopped to do air squats and burpees, or maybe hummed a classic rock tune, I think we would have covered all our bases!
In preparing for this event, I received RSVPs from 15 couples. I invited them to bring their kids as well, tacking on an additional 35+ bodies to the mix. My husband, who we knew would be traveling for work on the day of the event, asked how I was going to seat everyone. I took a deep breath...
"Can we maybe buy some folding chairs before the weekend?" I asked with a coy smile. He agreed with a heavy sigh, being genuinely excited for me and also slightly annoyed with me at the same time. (This is not the first occasion that I've made this type of financial request).
He wanted to know if I was feeding the guests.
"I mean, just the kids really. Simple snacks...fruit and stuff...nothing fancy. Not a meal. I promise. Maybe some coffee and tea for the adults."
He nodded knowingly, recalling similar past events I'm sure, where I've displayed a tendency to...ahem, overdo things, shall we say? And then he asked about the children - where they would play and who was going to wrangle them while the adults were meeting.
"We have the big basement, of course, and the backyard," I answered. "And I've lined up a few teens to provide the childcare."
Of course he then wanted to know if these teens were being compensated for their time, and if so - by whom and how much, because I had already told him that I wasn't charging families anything for the event. He knew full well the answer to at least one of those questions, so I just looked at him with that innocent, pleading look wives sometimes give their husbands. Another sigh, and maybe an exasperated eye roll...
"Tell me how much you need, and I'll go the bank today and have it ready for you," was his calm reply to my hopeful silence. "But when this is over, we need to get on the same page, because your business model sucks."
He's not wrong.
But I had to remind him, and me, ever-so-humbly, "This is not my business. It's my mission and my ministry. I can't NOT do it. And I don't want to give anyone any excuses to not be here."
Because my husband loves me and believes in me, and has witnessed how committed I am to sharing what I've learned and experienced, he came through in every way that I needed to make this event happen. He doesn't always understand or agree with my methods, but he knows ultimately that it brings me great joy. He knows I'm rather stubborn to boot. I'd like to think he also recalls something we both learned years ago from a pastor friend of ours, and that is this: We cannot out-give God. Not ever. We will max out our own human capacity for generosity only to find that He is infinitely more generous in every way. I love that about Him!
Fast-forward to Sunday midday, just a few hours before the event was to begin, and the text messages started coming through predictably, one after the other. Sore throats. Stomach bugs. Kids not feeling well. Busy schedules. Unexpected complications. Changes of plans. Hubby can't make it...
I've done enough events like this to anticipate last-minute cancellations, but it was so many at once with such short notice this time that I couldn't help but feel discouraged and deflated. So I paused, and I took some deep breaths. I knew Satan was at work, doing all he could to foil this good thing, to keep people from coming, and to steal my joy. And then quietly the thought came to me...
"Amy, just be obedient. Don't worry about numbers or the things you can't control, and focus only on what you're supposed to do."
And so, a few hours later, I did just that. Guests started to arrive, bright-eyed littles came toddling in, teenage babysitters got to work, the excitement revved up, my anxious thoughts faded, and I found my stride again. I got in The Zone, which always feels amazing. I would be faithful to follow through, no matter what.
As it turned out - the people who couldn't make it in person for one reason or another were able to join in virtually, thanks to the gracious offer by one of the laptop-toting moms to handle the technology and the back-and-forth communications to get all of the homebound folks online and linked in successfully. In fact, we ended up with more attendees than expected because friends talked to friends and said, "Hey, the workshop thing is now virtual. Drop in if you can!" My family room was overflowing. The kids were well cared for and had a blast. We started and ended on time, almost to the minute. It was better than I would have hoped possible.
How like God to exceed my expectations! Generous in every way, I tell you!
So, what did we discuss? How did the attendees react? When did the men speak up? When did the women get quiet? What were the takeaways?
I'll be sharing more of those details in the near future. I feel like so much of it is still unfolding. Once people catch this vision and really understand and internalize the message, it's amazing to see how that little flicker fans into a flame. More to come...