By Jami Robertson
The 2017-2019 ministry focus of American Baptist Women’s Ministries is “Feel/Siente.” Information about the theme, based on Luke 8:43-49, Acts 17:27-28 (NLT), and 1 Samuel 2:1-11 (The Voice), may be found at www.abwministries.org/theme. This post is part of a series of “Herstories” from American Baptist women around this theme.
Oh my friends, I am the queen of the feels. I am constantly processing, sensing, feeling everything. When I walk into a room, I can feel other people’s happiness or confusion, or sadness, or any of the hundreds of emotions God gave us all the ability to experience. Sometimes it is hard to tell my own feelings from another person’s. I’m sure I am not the only person on the planet that does this, so if you are like me, I feel your pain! It’s exhausting. However, I believe it is a God-given gift and I’m finally getting the chance to see that gifting being put to work. And Lord, I am so thankful for it!
Do you know how you feel like there is something in you that can be put into practice, but you don’t know what, how, or where to even start? I was there. It felt like I was at that point for an eternity in my Christian walk: just permanently stuck, wondering how I fit into God’s grand design in this tiny parcel of time. Then one day, well, I needed a job. Okay, for a lot of days I needed a job. We had moved to Indiana and I seriously started to think there was something wrong with me because nobody wanted to hire me. I’m old-school and dress up for interviews, brush my hair, teeth, and so forth. I almost always speak in logical sentences. I even checked my pits: nope. I didn’t forget deodorant!
Somewhere along the line, Scotty (my husband) had found out the local school district had a few job openings in the special education department. As my negative-prone self said, “There is no way! I cannot do that. I went to school for merchandising. I don’t see the correlation.” And honestly, there isn’t one. But surprises are always in store for us, sisters!
I remember going to that interview thinking, “I have no idea at all what I’m doing here. Seriously. Why am I here?!” Do I have experience? Nope. Do I have a desire? Hmmm, nope. I had a desire to support my kids, but that was about it. So, I took the job I was offered, even though I was scared, and even though I didn’t think I really wanted to. However, I have this other blessing God gave me—tenacity. If I say I’m going to do something, then it will get done. Even if I feel like calling it quits, I stick with it if others are depending on me.
Back to my overwhelming sensing of emotions. After working in special education for two-and-a-half school years, I felt like I had a good handle on things. I even liked my job. Then I was moved from the school I was in to the high school. That’s when I really discover that I love my job. That pesky “I sense everything” comes in really handy with non-verbal autistic kids, or any autistic kid, really.
This past school year my life was forever changed by one of my students. I never really noticed my gifting until a student “told” me about it. That’s a pretty powerful message, especially if you receive it from a non-verbal autistic student. It’s amazing that there are times in which you can just look at each other and get the message. Almost every day I come home from work and think, “God, your creations are good. I get it. I feel it. We are all different, but we all feel. We all sense. We all love. We all get to experience this life and world in different ways. And we all have gifting.”
Some people’s gifting might not be obvious to society’s standards, but it is there. I dare you to look for it, to experience it, to feel it in the most unexpected ways and in unpredictable places.
“Dear Friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4: 11-12, NIV.
“…With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposes in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” Ephesians 1:8c-10. NIV.
Jami Robertson is a member of the national young adult women’s ministries advisory team of American Baptist Women’s Ministries.