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Saturday, April 15, 2017

"Out of Control": Chapter 9


For the explanation of my current series, go to the first installment: http://bit.ly/2nnCvFx

Out of Control:
A Christian Parent’s Victorious Struggle with Child Abuse


A Memoir by Kathy Collard Miller

Chapter 9
Can't Say No

May 30th

"Hi, is Kathy Miller home, please?"

I shifted the telephone receiver to the other ear. "Yes, this is she."

"Hi, Kathy, I'm Ruth from the church office. We're calling to see whether you'd consider teaching one of the preschool Sunday school classes this summer. Our summer session starts in two weeks on June 13th, and lasts until school starts. We'd really love to have you help us."

Hesitating, I grappled for words. "Well, uh ... Oh, I see. Well ... I have taught a children's Sunday school class before but that was a long time ago."

"I can understand your concern, but our teaching materials are excellent, and of course, you'd have an assistant to help you."

My thoughts tumbled over each other. I wonder whether she would be so quick to ask me if she knew I was a child abuser. Considering I can barely cope with my own kids, I wonder how I'd handle the pressure of teaching. But they always need people to help. I really should do my part.

The gaping pause was awkward. I strained to find something to say. "Well, I'd like to help because I really appreciate everything my daughter learns in Sunday school. Uh, I guess there's no reason why I can't ... but I really should talk it over with my husband. How about if I call you back tomorrow?"

"That would be fine. I'll look forward to hearing from you. 'Bye."

I hung up and anxiously faced the reality of knowing what Larry would say. He usually contended I had too much to do already and should drop some of my activities. I would defend my position and say I needed opportunities to get out of the house. I certainly wasn't looking forward to talking with him about this.

As I thought more about teaching the class, I began to wrestle with my feelings of "duty." Shouldn't you do your part? If Darcy's receiving, you should be giving. If you don't do it, who will?

The next morning after Larry woke up, I told him what had happened. I pointed out how important it was for me to do my part. His eyebrows frowned over his hazel eyes. "Well, I'm not so sure you have the time to do it. And even if the preparation time were small, you'd still have the pressure of getting it done. Right now you barely have enough time to keep the house clean."

I could feel a mass of hurt begin to grow within me. "But, Larry, I really feel obligated to help. What if no one helped? Darcy wouldn't be learning more about Jesus."

Larry's grin assured me he knew I wasn't really convinced myself. "Honey, you just don't have enough time or energy. You are so busy with Mark--he's just a baby. And Darcy is a handful. I'm proud of you for wanting to help, but you'll just have to trust the Lord to supply someone else to fill the gap. He can do it, you know."

I reluctantly admitted to myself he was right, but guilt overwhelmed me anyway. Why do I have such a hard time saying no to anyone? That must be the hardest thing for me to do. I've accepted more commitments than I can handle just because of it. 

For most of the day, I tried to get up the nerve to call Ruth back. Over and over, I rehearsed my lame-sounding excuses. By the end of the day, I still hadn't called. Every time the phone rang, I jumped fearing it might be her.

It wasn't until the next morning I had the courage to call. Ruth politely accepted my explanation of having small children and being overwhelmed, but I still felt foolish for not being able to take on something so simple. 

Then I remembered something a friend had shared with me several months earlier. "A need is not necessarily a call." I must have looked confused because she explained, "If someone expresses a need, it doesn't necessarily mean God intends for you to accept the responsibility."

My heart felt lighter. "Okay, I'm not going to feel guilty for what God doesn't want me to do. (Tweet that!) This is a need but God hasn't called me to it."

As the day went along and I thought of the phrase again and again, I realized that if I accepted a responsibility God didn't want me to take on, I would be robbing someone else of being blessed because he wants them to take it. 

And if I take on something not his will, I won't have the time and energy to take on what he really wants me to do. I don't have to feel guilty. It's up to God to supply for every need; not me. I'm only supposed to do what he wants me to do. I can say no.

I chuckled to myself as I thought of how often Larry teased me by saying, "Assert yourself!" Now, I knew how I would reply the next time: "No!"

Chapter 10: http://bit.ly/2o1pvli

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