Without Parachutes

I’m jumping out of a plane with parachute in-hand. IN-HAND.

Oh wait— is that not how I’m supposed to do it?

Logic says that if you’re going to jump out of a plane, then either be well prepared, with training, testing, and a parachute securely fastened to you with at least seven straps (and possibly an experienced person strapped to you as well) OR jump out and prepare to meet your Maker.

Apparently I’m doing the latter.

I’ve done scary things before, but what I’m about to do might be the riskiest attempt of my life.

It all started last summer.

When I say it started last summer, that’s when something woke up in me. Something artsy, yet I’ve always been an artsy person. Since second-grade I was writing in journals. In my adolescence I wrote stories and poetry—although most of it was deeper/darker than need be. I was drawing pictures of fairies, unicorns, and the moon. I took endless photos with my dad’s 35mm-camera, the one with all the cool lenses—back when you paid to develop film. I colored detailed photos with art pens. Even tried my hand at sewing, although this was one area I failed miserably—even my mom, the greatest seamstress couldn’t teach me. My grandma taught me to paint ceramics, detail with pastel chalk, and how to antique bisque figurines. I played piano and would retreat to my bedroom composing music late into the night. So it’s fair to say I’ve always loved the creative process.

But last summer, in the course of two weeks, something odd happened. I still don’t even know how to describe it. But it was sacred. It was holy and unspeakable. It was something that opened up my heart and exposed emotions that I didn’t understand. I can only call it an awakening. During that initial awaking I felt things from art that I had never experienced. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to go to every gallery and store and sidewalk cart. I wanted to absorb everything I could see.  I tried to write about it, but my words were weak and empty to describe what I felt. It was like trying to describe neon ultraviolet colors. There simply weren’t words. So I drew and wrote words like “Brave” “Courage” “Faith” and “Hold On”.

As soon as I got home, my hands were creating and it was a perfect complement to my writing. I began doing things I’d never dreamt of nor were taught, wondering why I had never felt like this before. It was huge, it exploded my heart. It began to consume my waking hours and eventually crept into my bed and filed my dreams.

So far there is nothing scary or risky here, just a good wonderful feeling. I had another new beautiful way of connecting to God.

But the dreams kept coming, and it was edging into a territory that was far outside my comfort zone. Then one night a name, an idea, a word and command came into my visions. In short, that dream was the tip of a scary and deep iceberg that I would have never guessed would apply to me. Ministry.

Ministry is what happens to people who go to seminary, mission trips, and memorize a whole lot more scripture than the handful I know. Ministry is for people who have the spiritual gift of prophecy and know the correct order of the minor prophet books. Ministry is for people with a fish on their car—and they even know what IXOYE means. I was sure Ministry was not for people like me who simply enjoyed being Jesusy as opposed to theology, had a few cherished tattoos, and belly-danced for fun.

So yeah, I put a name to what I recently dreamed which I can see had started growing in me several years ago with writing and then went full tilt last summer with art. Ministry. And I feel honored, but not so sure I want this gift. This burden. I double guessed and doubted. I considered that I might be wrong, making the whole thing up with my creative mind. After all, I love creative processes—but to turn this into a Ministry where the focus goes away from my work and rather to helping others through art and connecting to God? Well that Crazy with a captial C!

So I prayed.

I prayed for God to prove it to me. Outright, make no doubts about it.
PROVE. IT. TO. ME.!

Just to let you in on a little about me and my faith; I’m as bad as Gideon asking for dew on the fleece with dry ground, and then dry fleece but dew on the ground. I’m as bad as Abraham—continually negotiating with God about the town Sodem “well God if there are 50 good people…how about 45…how about 40, 30, 10…”. I’m truly incorrigible. So I was waiting for God to prove to me that I’m supposed to do something crazy and call it a “Ministry”.

Well He did. And I asked for more. And He proved it again. And then I said “well that’s all good God, but I really have no way to make this happen.” And you know what? He keeps opening another door. And I’ve got this nervous laughter because THIS IS RIDICULOUS!

And now I’m at the open door of the plane. I don’t even have a parachute strapped to me. I don’t have a partner for a tandem jump. And really, this is stupid. It’s ridiculous. It’s unfathomable. I’m just one girl and I could fail. Maybe I know God’s right because the whole idea is freaking me out – and I would never do this on my own—and I don’t even have the financial means to make this happen without feeling risk.

So I get it, jump out of the plane to meet my Maker. I think that’s God’s way of “give Him an inch, and He’ll give you a mile.” It’s up to us to make the first move, to have faith. 

It’s hard to say if I’ve jumped out yet, or if I did—maybe I’m still holding onto the edge of the door with my body wildly flapping in the wind. I can’t tell where I am in the process, but I know I’m going there and I suspect it’s going to be a wild ride.

Shortly I’ll be letting everyone in on the Ministry (I still feel uncomfortable saying that word)—but for now your prayers would mean the world to me.

Copyright © 2009- 2011 Sherry Meneley . All Rights Reserved . soiledwings.com . sherrymeneley.com . soiled wings

12 thoughts on “Without Parachutes

  1. As one who has been blessed/cursed with a call to unconventional ministry & being labeled as crazy, I applaud your courage & your honesty – because I think I understand a bit of the fear & excitement mix. You go, girl!

  2. I’m so excited to hear more. Please tell us soon. I just hope that whatever it is, it doesn’t steal you away from this blog because I so look forward to it each week. It’s such a pleasure to read. Thank you.

  3. Love this! Love the journey you are on. Love your faith in God is rising and trust in Him is deepening. It’s what happens when you risk–and jump.

    It’s time to FLY, friend

    Praying for you.

  4. I can’t wait to hear more! Praying for you as you are “falling with style” as Buzz Lightyear would say.

  5. You’re NOT going to fail – this is going to be BIG because you have heart and motivation and the Holy Spirit in you. You’re going to change a lot of lives (and I pray, mine included). So proud of you for taking the big jump!

  6. Question: As you are hanging from the door of the airplane, are the jet engines under the wing or attached to the rear of the fuselage? 😦

  7. Hey girl—you do have a tandem partner! His name is Jesus. Go ahead and jump, don’t look back, enjoy the ride, even the bumpy parts.

  8. Sherry, God has birthed a wondrous thing in you. Like a caterpillar who awakens and discovers wings formed where only flesh dwelt, you will bless and be blessed by God’s provision of new and beautiful things!

  9. A good teacher knows how to share information.
    A great teacher knows that a teacher is really just a student who is learning how to share a certain part of themselves. Something, it seems, you have always done.

    From my perspective you are not in the plane at all, you are already floating gently down through the soft white clouds enjoying the view. And… you have no parachute. The parachute was never necessary, just a construct of doubt. And, from my crazy experience, I would humbly offer the idea that the image of Ministry given to you in the dream was not telling you what to do, but telling you of what’s to come… just so long as you keep trusting your intuition and pursuing your passion.

    Good luck,
    Craig

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