As previously mentioned, I spent the last day and a half with a good-sized group of women from my church at the Oklahoma Ladies' Retreat. What I failed to mention was that, aside from trying not to cry like a baby while missing my own, I was technically the group leader for our church. I say technically because I still find it difficult to grasp that anyone would put me "in charge" of a few grown women who are, in actuality, perfectly capable of caring for themselves. Nevertheless, I was the one who coordinated travel plans and facilitated group discussion.
The only thing I really feared was any semblance of a repeat of last year's plumbing issues which would end up falling on my shoulders should sewer water begin flooding the cabin - again. What I kept tucked in the back of my mind, though, was if anything went terribly wrong, I always had back-up in the form of our wonderful pastor's wife, Jamy, the one on whom this role typically falls. In an effort to let go of shouldering the responsibility of full leadership for all women's events, Jamy has begun delegating and, somehow, the task of ladies' retreat fell to me. Yet, thankfully, she still participated as a regular attendee and fantastic support system.
I began to realize quickly, though, that Jamy is serious in her loving role of mentor for those of us rising to the task. To nearly every piddly question I attempted to pawn off on her, I received the response, "It's up to you; you're the leader!"
I got the message. The training wheels were off. Yes, she was still close by, ready to catch the bike if it fell, but I was pedaling this baby all on my own. Eventually I stopped asking. I knew what she would say. And, instead, I made a decision on my own. And then another. And then I asked for help with the next, but I'm learning.
And with every step, as she pushed me off on my own, there was always the encouraging shout from her spot behind me on the pavement, "You're doing great! Keep going!"
And that, to me, is true leadership. Someday I'll be there. Hopefully.