The Compassionate Redhead and I cradled coffee cups while she asked me, "Am I crazy to keep doing this?" "No," I replied. "You're following your dreams. Don't give up. Call me when you need to be reminded that you can do this. I'm on your team."
I leaned forward on a comfy couch across from the Humble Servant, unable to contain my excitement. She had been the one to tell me to pursue this writing thing. She'd been the one to discover the conference where you meet hundreds of passionate, Christian writers and can meet publishers and agents. She'd been the one to pray for courage and favor. Without her, the adventures unfolding in front of me wouldn't exist.
"I believe in you," she had said. Her words were the green light, the shotgun at the race that sent me flying. And there on that comfy couch, I got to share the story she helped begin.
We were at "our place," the outside diner that draws families, students, and homeless people alike. She, the Tenacious Wordsmith, pored over my book proposal, my precious words and painstaking pages I hadn’t dared to show anyone else. She brushed her curly hair aside with her fine point, purple pen and caught my nervous gaze.
"You can do this. You are the voice our generation needs to hear. If they say ‘no’ to you, don't change a thing. We'll hunt together to find the publisher who believes in YOU, not someone they want you to be."
I rode shotgun in the Chik-Fil-A drive through with my feet on the dashboard, belting, "SO IT’S GONNA BE FOREVER! OR IT’S GONNA GO DOWN IN FLAMES! YOU CAN TELL ME WHEN IT’S OVA! IF THE HIGH WAS WORTH THE PAIN,” a la T-Swift, when I got a text to look behind me.
It was Tiny Yet Fierce, in line behind us!
I hopped out of our Prius and snuck into the passenger seat of her car.
"How did the audition go?" She demanded. I gushed and fit in as many antic-dotes as would fit before we reached the last drive through window and she shared about anniversary plans and faithfulness.
"I love you," she called after me. "I love you, too!" I called back with a smile.
And then there's the Connector, my Mama. I shared with her about an audition I was going to the next day.
“Can I drive you?” She asked. “We can make a date of it and get coffee. I know you don’t like driving alone.”
She is my wing woman, travel companion, and prayer warrior. She is my team captain.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1
My cloud of witnesses, my team, is great indeed. They're the ones who root for me when I'm tired of getting back up. They're my first call when I need prayer, or a happy dance. My team is made up of 20 year olds, 30 year olds, 40 year olds, and 50 year olds. I never discovered my Monica's, Rachel's, Ross's or Phoebe’s, but I have something beautiful, something uniquely tailored to my tapestry life.
My team calls me out of my comfort zone,
confronts me when I make choices I shouldn't, and en-courages me to run the uphill race.
My team looks a lot different than I thought it would. I've always had a tough time connecting with others my age. I'm an old soul (or an old lady on the inside!) and growing up, it was a challenge to friends with equally old lady-ied souls.
I got my first amazing mentor when I turned twelve. Every week, my mom would drop me off at the colonies with $10 to buy us coffee. It didn't take long to realize that this Tiny Yet Fierce woman got me. She got who I was, and she got who I wanted to be. She walked through life with me, never judging, always listening and inspiring, leading with vulnerability and truth. And I never saw her coming.
I used to wonder, “Is it weird that I'm better friends with Tiny Yet Fierce than girls I've known all my life? That we can talk about the condition of my heart and deep things I dream about?” I’ve since come to realize that it's ok if your team turns out differently than you thought it would.
My teammates slowly came into view, like stars as they gently appear on the sky’s stage at dusk. Yet, each incredible person I have the honor of being guided by was an unexpected, irreplaceable, non-negotiable part of my team. And I never saw them coming.
Think about your team. Consider those people who pour out wisdom, celebrate your victories, and cry with you when you hurt. Let them know they're on your team, and you're on theirs.
If you're not sure about your team, ask God to reveal those he's put in your life to be your "cloud of witnesses." Maybe he'll open your eyes to a relationship you've had all along, or maybe you'll meet some brand new teammates.
But, lovely, you deserve a team. You deserve cheerleaders and listeners and encourages and people who see through your fears and defenses.