I'd like you to introduce you to a beautiful person named Kelly. (And speaking of beautiful, she wrote this incredibly moving piece on mourning the loss of her infant son here.)
I met Kelly a year and a half ago, when our family joined the Classical Conversations community in which she and her son had already been enrolled. That year, Kelly had answered the call to tutor -- i.e. to lead a class of 8-9 children through a morning of drilling new grammar in seven subjects in a fun and engaging way, conducting a hands-on science experiment, experimenting with various forms of fine arts, practicing public speaking, and playing review games.
About two weeks, I, Newbie Mama, sat down next to Kelly at lunch. I noticed that she looked a bit weary and drawn, so after introducing myself, I asked her how she was doing. She volunteered that she was feeling discouraged by her first two weeks of tutoring. As a sweet, soft-spoken mama of one, she was struggling to manage a classroom of lively seven year olds who were more accustomed to "doing school" in their pajamas or on the trampoline than to sitting in chairs and raising their hands to speak.
Were Kelly and I best friends? No. We'd just met. Yet she had no desire to impress me with any bravado about her abilities. No compulsion to hide her struggles and paste on a happy face. She was willing to be weak before me, and to trust that I'd accept her anyway.
Our paths didn't cross a whole lot that year, but in the spring, we fell into step one day en route to one of our regular community pilgrimages to the nursing home. I asked her how the teaching was going. Her face lit up with warm contentment.
"It's been so good!" she replied. "I've really enjoyed the kids."
"Really?!" I said, "That's great! So things improved for you?"
"Oh, yes," she said happily, "It got easier as the year went on."
Around that time, the call had gone out for moms to prayerfully consider signing up as tutors for the next year. Something fluttered in me. I told our director I'd pray about it. Of course, there were all kinds of reasons why I shouldn't do it. I have no formal teaching background. I could barely get my family there on time for morning assembly each week (backpacks, lunches, water bottles, tennis shoes), never mind arriving forty minutes early to prepare a classroom and pray with the other tutors. I'm not naturally organized. Others are more talented teachers, more experienced, more charismatic. Oh, and way more industrious.
Then I thought of Kelly. This woman, I mused, had not come forward because she felt strong, qualified, capable, ready to spread her abundant talent around. She simply saw the need, felt a stirring inside, and bravely stepped forward to offer up her five loaves and two fishes for God to bless, break, and use as He saw fit.
"God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust in his extraordinary provision. He stands ready to allocate his power to all who are radically dependent on Him and radically devoted to making much of Him." - David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (Insertion: Not to be bossy? But you must read this book. Must. That is all.)
And because she was willing to share her struggle with me, her seeming weakness gave me strength. Strength to just say, "Yes, I'm willing. Use me as You see fit." So for the past six months, I've had the weekly privilege of growing and learning, succeeding and failing, along with nine delightful, loving, spirited girls. I am ordinary. But His provision is indeed extraordinary.
I think I'll be back for seconds.