Somewhere across town Pop is getting ready. Just like he does every week, he has spent the last couple of days forming and refining Words to bring on Sunday morning. He feeds and leads those cantankerous sheep assigned to his care. He is a pastor of souls.
I cannot tell you the times he has pastored my soul.
Perhaps it is more accurate to say he has tended the Word within me. Just when I think the spark is gone, there is nothing left, he gently blows on the embers and a Fire rekindles within. A Word Fire. Girl preachers are not exactly common. And there have been so many times I feel uncommon-er still. There is no mold that even remotely resembles me. Which is why it is so easy to want to give up. Give in. Call it quits. To quit the hearth that smolders inside, those Words that need to get out, to breathe, to burn, to ignite.
But Pop won't let me.
He is a true shepherd. He sees clearly the contents of the soul. And he speaks Words of encouragement to help it see clearly the Lord that calls.
I'm was not made to pastor a church. Oh the years and heartache it has taken to figure that one out. I was a pastor to college kids, those wide-eyed wonderful ones embarking on the adventure of figuring life out. I loved pastoring college folk. Then quite suddenly the road diverged, and God squarely set me on another one. I have sensed the rightness of this God move, but I wonder where this new path leads? Where is a Word girl like me supposed to breathe? To burn? To ingnite?
And Pop sees and loves me through these questions. We don't talk about it out loud, the where-ness of God's direction. But he still blows on the embers within me, keeping the Word alive, helping me know that the preacher girl is not dead. And when his own mother passed away, I am the one he asked to preach her service. He allowed me to lead and pastor him, when his own grief was big in his heart, mind, and soul; so full of saying goodbye that the shepherd within had to step aside, for just a moment to simply be a sheep.
Even just last week he told me with moist eyes that someone recently commented on how well I did. I tuck it away, the compliment. I hold it close to my heart. I feel awkward in my response. Because it's hard to put into passing words what it meant to me to be the shepherd in such a holy moment for people I LOVE SO MUCH. To bring a Word of comfort, and encouragement, and even challenge in a tender moment. Wow.
Both of us know God's not finished with me. But sometimes I struggle to remember. Sometimes I need to be reminded. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with someone who never lets me forget.