Trail Blazers in Clogs

Posted: January 17, 2008 in leadership
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Trail Blazers in Clogs

By Randy Hasper

I am impressed by nervy, risk-taking, trail-blazing women. They are the best  women I know. They do what they are inspired to do — now! They are the gutsy-obedient. They dress themselves in change. They may tremble, but even shaking in their clogs, they head out. Such women are my heroes. And the world needs more of them.

Chris

Chris is a trail blazer. She and her husband Steve met Tesia on a rocky path. It ran through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of a hospital. Chris was a young R.N. Tesia was a medically fragile five month old with paralyzed vocal cords and a tracheostomy.

Over the next several years, Tesia and Chris kept meeting in step-down ICU as Tesia returned there again and again in crisis. And they kept saying “goodbye” again and yet again as Tesia would leave to yet another foster family.Chris got pregnant. The way ahead for her family looked beautiful. And then she and Steve confronted their own crisis — Chris miscarried. Something precious was lost.

But something else was stirring inside of Steve and Chris. What if they adopted Tesia? Such a momentous decision! Tesia would need 16 hours of care a day. She would need an in-home nurse to live with the family. There would be a court case, years of doctors appointments, life on the edge.

“Right before we took her,” says Chris, “I thought, ‘What are we doing?'” Steve encouraged Chris to spend a weekend with her closest Christian friends to think about it. She talked; she prayed; she listened. “It boiled down to obedience and trust,” she now says. Chris became one of the gutsy-obedient. She doesn’t regret it. Neither does her daughter.

Tesia has much to be thankful for: not the least is a trail blazing mom.

Lee Ann

Lee Ann  is a trekker. A number of years ago, she was challenged to backpack her beliefs in doing good and carry them into the community. But, she wondered, what could she do? The answer wasn’t very far off.Lee Ann works in a local high school cafeteria. She knows food. It was there that a co-worker mentioned to her that another woman in the city was organizing an effort to feed people with inadequate resources. Lee Ann began thinking, “Why shouldn’t my church be involved reaching out to people who aren’t a part of us?” The questions that many of us tussle with but few of us answer, struggled for answers inside of her. Why don’t the well-provided for put out their hands to the poorly-provided for? Why don’t we get out of our comfort zone and do something?

But there was one small problem, noted Lee Ann. “I felt inadequate leading on my own. I told God, ‘I’m a good second person. Just don’t have me be the one to carry something out.'” But despite her fears, she forged ahead and brought the idea to feed people back to the church. Surprise! Others wanted to join her — Joyce, Carol, Agnes, Ruth and on and on. Lee Ann blazed a trail in her mind, and when she turned around there was a food army standing behind her.

That was ten years ago. Lee Ann’s leadership has inspired hundreds of people from her church to join her. Seniors, children, teens, whole families have handed thousands of plates of steaming homemade casseroles to the “least of these” in the community.

“Wow,” she muses now. “My idea was significant.” Wow, I think to myself,  Lee Ann is significant.”

Lisa

“My big risk was feeling like I didn’t have what it would take,” says Lisa. “I had volunteered for years at my church, but I had never been a leader.” Then came an opportunity to join the staff. Lisa waited, prayed, agonized, and eventually turned in an application. Despite shaky sandals, she got the job — the church’s Director of Children’s Ministries.But this church was on the move, and Lisa was in for a real scramble. That was just fine.

As her level of responsibility rose to scary heights, so did her dependence on God. Children’s Choir, 35 little musical ones; Sunday school, 125 studious ones; Vacation Bible School, 175 wild ones; Fall Festival outreach to the community, 500 crazed, candy-fueled ones. Lisa grew with the new challenges — all five foot four of her seemed to stretch. “A lot of fear has left me,” says Lisa. As she was obedient, she grew psychologically bigger, spiritually stronger, and much more confident.

She booked nationally known puppeteers and musicians for children’s concerts. No sweat; they were huge successes. Christmas Craft day for children, winter camp for fifth and sixth graders, a concert for preschoolers, a service club for kids — Lisa was on a roll.

“This position made sense of my life,” she enthused. And Lisa made sense out of a lot of things for other people too.

Chris, Lee Ann, Lisa — they are the gutsy-obedient. They have in common a willingness to blaze a trail.

Inspired to act, they went ahead and moved their feet. They slogged over the hill in no more than their sandals or clogs and found God on the other side with boots just their size, ready to head up the wilderness trail with them.

I’m totally inspired by such women. Who’s next?

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