The Rest After the Step


It has been a long few weeks that have left me far more tired than I had anticipated. The biggest factor in this is something that I have told very few people about. Two weeks ago, I applied for a position outside of teaching. My husband heard about the posting from some of the ladies who work for the nonprofit that posted it (benefit of your office building sharing space with other groups). He then immediately passed it on to me, with the insistent assurance that I would be perfect for the position with my abilities and skill sets. At first, I was dubious, as I have been in the past, but I have deeply prayed over the past few years for God to show me the next chapter He has for me, to help me find my next right thing (thank you, Emily P. Freeman and Queen Anna!). So I decided that I would update my CV and send it in with a letter of interest. You guys, I cannot count how many revisions those two documents went through over those few days! I have always been a perfectionist when it comes to documentation like that; and it had been several years since I had even contemplated a position outside of teaching, so updates were definitely needed. When all was said and done, I said a prayer, clicked “Send” on the email, and that was it. Then I had to wait. So I waited. And waited. Then, all in a rush, I received an email last weekend saying that they would like to interview me over Zoom! We managed to wrangle a day and time that would work for everyone, mindful of time differences for those traveling, and so it went.

The interview went well, but, in the end, it turned out that the timing of the position just was not going to work out. They needed someone to be able to train and slide into the full-time position by the end of February, and I did not have peace about up and leaving my teaching position so suddenly and abruptly. I did not feel released to do that to my principal and students. So…needless to say, when they answered my question about the timing, I felt a sinking in my soul.

“Well, that means this interview is over,” I thought. But I still asked some questions about their nonprofit, in an effort to not have things end on an *extremely* awkward note. Just a moderately awkward one.

After the interview, I finished out my day, but, once the kiddo was in bed and Ben and I were alone, I flopped onto the floor with an “UGH!” that would have made Charlie Brown proud. When I was finally able to verbalize what I felt, I realized that I had become far more hopeful of that new position, that change, that new chapter, than I had realized. And I was disappointed. Disappointed that it wouldn’t work. Disappointed that I wouldn’t get to try something new. Disappointed that my stepping out in faith seemingly wouldn’t be rewarded.

As this week has gone on, however, I find a thought has been whispered to my mind and soul and repeated when I haven’t been looking.

“You have stepped. Now rest.”

Rest. It’s my word, my intention for the year. Rest. I stepped out in faith, praying for God to lead me aright. And He did. I stepped out in courage. Now I need to rest. 

Rest in gratitude that God kept His word to be with me and guide me. 

Rest in faith that He knows best. 

Rest in peace that where I am is my next right thing for now.

Rest in hope that, when another opportunity comes along, I will heed the call to step out again.

I have stepped; it was a lot of work–mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Now it is time for me to rest my feet, recover, and allow Him to refill those stores. There is another big week ahead, but, for now, this is my immediate next right thing. I even have a scratchy, tired voice to enforce it.

Rest.

(Skirt Length) Hems and Haws


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Picture credit – http://9gag.com/gag/6299234/skirt-length, accessed January 13, 2015

Author’s Note: My latest article published on The Well Written Woman – http://thewellwrittenwoman.com/skirt-length-hems-and-haws/#.VMZVSP7F_L8

In the almost thirty-two years of my life, I have worn pretty much every length of skirt there is, for differing reasons: religious, personal, style/fashion, artistic, cosplay, performance, etc. As I looked at the picture featured in (and that inspired) this article, I couldn’t help but go back over the skirts that I have owned that go with each hem-length marker on the model’s leg.

And it’s true, isn’t it?

Our modesty is still judged.

We are still judged – not by the living proof of our actions but by the hems of our skirts.

I have worn pretty much every length of skirt there is, and it is evidence of the evolution of my sense of fashion and self.

Up until I was about 22 years old, I didn’t wear jeans on a regular basis at all. Previous to that, if I wore them, I did so in the privacy of my dorm room or my apartment, or if I needed to for a skit or a play or an activity that warranted it. As an undergrad in college, I remember when I wore jeans for an activity on a retreat with Student Christian Fellowship. We were outside, playing a game that required a lot of running back and forth, so I dashed inside to put on the jeans that I brought with me, just in case. As I returned and took my place in the circle, one of my friends squealed, “Mel! You have legs!”

I laughed in reply, “Why, yes. Two whole ones, in fact.” And we all had a good-natured laugh about it and it has lingered on as a joke in our years as friends.

Needless to say, I’m more comfortable with myself and what I wear now, and I am far less worried about disapproving looks or tsks whispered under breath. I already know that the wardrobe I choose now (both inside and outside of the house) would not be what most of those with whom I grew up would choose for me. Even members of my own family commented in surprise when they saw me in a photo in a tank top and jeans for the first time. The comment was that I was “starting to look like the rest of [them]” in that I was “showing skins [sic] these days.” It feels almost as though I didn’t have a body before that, at least not one that anyone felt worth commenting on.

A few days ago, as I browsed a book store for flash cards for my daughter, I found myself standing next to a young woman. She wore a black-and-white-striped fit-and-flare dress that fell just above her knees, a black mod leather jacket, knee-high high-heeled boots to match, and a lovely little black beret with an embellished decoration over her dark hair. All I could do was look at her in all her monochromatic perfection, smile, and think, “Beautiful!”

She looked smart and classy and, by the books in her arm, she was about to set off on a new adventure. I wondered if she was going to meet someone for a date, a movie, a meal, or if she just desired to feel lovely on that cold, wintery day. I wanted to arrest her attention and tell her how beautiful I thought she looked, but being in a bookstore is almost as sacred as being in worship service to me, so I try not to distract others in their quiet perusing. But, if you ever read this, ma’am, I found you gorgeous!

Nowadays, my preference of personal style runs to an above-the-knee skirt. Why, you ask? Because I like my legs and consider them rather pretty, being long for my 5’1 frame. Put them in a pair of stockings/tights and ankle-high boots, or just a pair of cunning heels, all underneath a shorter skirt or dress, and the effect is quite striking. So I think and so I have been told. However, this far from precludes longer skirts within my wardrobe. If I may use the titles utilized in the photo’s markers for a short while, I’ll explain.

I wear shorter skirts when I am feeling “flirty” or “cheeky”; they show off my legs when I cross them off the side as I sit in the coffee shop or café. Knee-length skirts are for work (I used to teach middle school language arts), where the style of dress is more “proper”. When I am feeling “cunning” or “alluring” (in place of “prudish” and “matronly”), it’s a longer, more flowing skirt length, probably a handkerchief, asymmetrical, or high-low hem. When I feel “vintage” (instead of “old-fashioned”), it is a just-below-the-knee length or longer hem, either A-line or flared skirt. When I feel “bohemian” or “idyllic”, you might find me in a pretty floral or patchwork skirt, ruffle-fluffy so it will spread out around me when I sit on the grass or on the steps/side of a fountain. I have worn pretty much every length of skirt there is throughout my life and my style and personality define the length I wear, not the other way around.

Have I ever worn skirts that were too short? Yes. Have I worn skirts that turned out to be too long? Yes. They may have worked for my style at one time or with the right shoes, but then not felt right another time. It happens. We grow out of some styles and into others.

I have worn pretty much every length of skirt there is, and only a handful of times have I felt shame for doing so, though the emotion was not of my own making or out of a personal sense of fault. I have had people comment on my “having changed so much” since they first met me. And my question is: why?

Why have I changed? Because I wear a shorter skirt or dare a lower neckline now and again than I did when I was seventeen? Do my clothes mean that my heart is different? My faith? My personality? My integrity? Does the evolution of my dress mean that my body and my soul are now fair game for your judgment? Though I take the comments and consider them in the light of my own life and intentions, it sometimes honestly makes me question just how well the commenter “knew” me in the first place.

Here’s news for you: yes, I have changed. I have grown and I have stretched. I have had pain and joy and triumphs and failures. I have had drastic changes and beautiful new chapters in life. So, yes, I have changed, because, God help me, I couldn’t have survived staying the same as I was half a lifetime ago.

I have worn pretty much every skirt length there is but that has nothing to do with who I am. So, please, do not measure me (or any woman) by the length of my skirt hem but by the breadth of my mind, the height of my integrity, and depth of my heart. Those are the true measures of me.

NaBloPoMo Day 26: A New Quest


So I am embarking upon a brand new quest in my life: writing a Christmas pagaent. As our first Christmas with Ben as a new pastor approaches, I am charged with putting together the pagaent for the Christmas Eve service. This being a Quaker church, I figure the simpler, the better. So several of the ladies and I decided tonight on a pagaent that will include a narration of the Nativity story, broken up into sections, with the youth group children (and perhaps a few adults) tableau-ing each section with maybe one or two lines said after the narration. So that leaves me with writing up the narration and sectioning it out this week so that the youth group kids can begin preparing next week.

I will admit to feeling woefully unprepared for this and inadequate to the task. I have performed in many a Christmas play/cantata in my lifetime but have never ever planned one myself. So I am praying that this will go well and be something that will be edifying to our congregration and glorifying to God as we celebrate this Christmas season.