2004 – Broussard, LA
There is much to be said about trusting someone when they tell you no. I think in those moments you see your true friends. For when you can trust someone to say no, you can surely trust that when they say yes…they really mean it. – Jana Bishop
I hurried around the house, trying to find something to wear. Barry waited by the door for me while I rushed to make my final decision. “Okay, okay” I yelled from the back bedroom…”I’m almost ready”. I emerged in black slacks and a button up shirt. Hopefully this would meet their approval. Every week at our staff meetings the pastor praised the other wives for what they were wearing and he would always skip over me. I thought maybe it was because I was too casual, not thin enough…ugh…I had no idea but I was going to keep trying until I got the stamp of approval. This had become the normal ritual every day. I worried myself sick over how I would be perceived. We were approaching almost two years of being on staff and I received more rebukes for my appearance during that time than I knew to be possible. My self-esteem was taking a dive and I felt as though I could not recover.
Barry whistled in my direction as we walked to the car. I breathed a sigh of relief, at least he thought I looked nice. He was always good at making me feel better. He knew how hard it was for me to feel beautiful. In his own way he could relate. He was constantly criticized for his long hair, his scruffy face, his shoes…you name it…he heard it. So, he purposefully extended compassion to me in light of the increasing pressure being placed upon our appearance.
When we arrived to the staff meeting we took our normal seats and waited for our pastor to greet us. He was on his cell phone, kicking his foot impatiently. He muttered something about “Man of God…” and I tuned him out. I felt bad for whomever was on the receiving end of the phone. I hated those type of calls. We all sat in silence until he wrapped up the conversation. I knew this was going to be a meeting for the books…he was on a roll.
Everyone went around the circle, in their ususal fashion. Giving reports of how their ministry was doing, any issues that needed to be addressed and then thanking pastor for his fabulous message on Sunday. Everything transpired as normal…until it got to us. To our surprise, our pastor announced that he was sending us to California to go to the Every Nation School of Campus Ministry. We sat there in shock. We had no idea what to say, we knew very little about the school or the people that comprised it’s leadership. Seeing the perplexed look on our faces he told us that he would talk to us later. He firmly mentioned that we should be excited about the opportunity he was giving us, after all most people would be thrilled.
We went home in a daze. The fact that the decision was made without even consulting us really bothered me as well as Barry. Even though California would be a step up from the swamp lands we were calling home, it just seemed competely absurd to make us move on a whim. But, we knew that for us to say no to our Pastor would cause a major uproar…so we joined the ranks among the other staff members.
That day, we officially resigned ourselves to becoming his “Yes Men”.