I had been serving as the interim executive assistant to the pastor for several months. Weekly, I sat at the conference table with his executive team listening to the men work through the daily issues of running a large church, share their passion and vision, and humbly seek God's guidance and direction.
While I knew I was sitting at the table so I would be aware of what was going on, I often pondered the reason why I was "really" sitting at the table.
For many years in my federal career, as the executive assistant to the commanding officer, I had sat around the table with the executive team. In that position, I recorded detailed minutes, which was more like a transcript than bulleted discussion points, and tracked action items. In those days, I knew exactly why I was at the table.
But this table was different. I made informal notes. I made sure event dates got on Pastor's calendar. I sometimes offered input. Mostly I listened. Yet I sensed there was something more. Something God had yet to reveal.
One morning in my quiet time, I was journaling my prayers, again pondering the real reason why I had been asked to serve as the interim EA. I had the skills, ability and experience, but surely there were others who were qualified. Why me? What was the Lord trying to teach me?
A crystal-clear memory popped in my mind. It was shortly after my divorce in 1994 when I read the Psalmist's words for the first time:
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
He seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people. (Psalm 113:7-8)
I immediately connected with the words. My heart was in poor shape and my hope was as dry as dust. Needy and ash heap were an accurate description of my life. I was struggling with my single-again status; an unwanted status that had wrecked me emotionally and financially.
Not only was I struggling with the rejection and pain divorce brings, I was struggling with the fact that I had compromised my convictions and values more than a decade earlier when I chose to marry a man who did not share my faith. I had made the choice to date him out of fear; I was afraid no one else would ever choose to love me and I'd go through life alone. And yet, there I was, alone and unchosen.
I'd learned my lesson. I drew a line in the sand: no man would come between me and God. I would not even consider a casual lunch date with a man who was not passionate about his faith. I would only date a man of God.
I asked the Lord to allow me to be worthy enough to be chosen by one of His princes — a Psalm 113: 8 prince — a noble man who was fully surrendered and actively serving Him. I prayed I would soon be chosen by a godly man. I longed for the honor of sitting beside God's chosen and called man, supporting him while he did kingdom work.
The memory stirred old feelings. Twenty-nine years had passed and I was still single. I opened my Bible to reread Psalm 113.
As I read, a vivid image formed in my mind: I was sitting at the executive conference table.
My heart pounded and my eyes pooled with tears as the Lord revealed the answer to my question of why I was sitting at the table:
I didn't need to be WITH a godly man to be worthy to sit at His table. I am worthy because I am chosen and loved by Him. I am a woman of God whom He has called to use the talents, skills and gifts He has given me. He is the One who seated me at the table, with His chosen men, to serve His people and do His kingdom work.
And I am not to remain seated at the table...for there is much work to be done.