Those of you who have known/followed me for a little while will know that Lisa Bevere‘s book Girls with Swords had a massive impact on my life (I wrote about its impact here, here, and here). Those of you who do know me ask me about this story ALL THE TIME so this post is for y’all. And for me and my sanity, so I don’t have to keep repeating myself.😂
I have had the opportunity to hear Lisa Bevere speak in person multiple times, and each time is so incredible. The most recent time, December 3rd, 2016, she spoke at a local church nearby me. After she finished speaking, my family, friends, and I were exiting the church’s sanctuary when we saw Lisa herself just hanging out in a hallway. She was just finishing up a conversation with one or two people, and there was no one else around except us, so I walked up to her and introduced myself. I shared my story of how my Girls with Swords small group formed, and was able to tell her the impact the book had had on my life. She responded that I was exactly the type of girl she and the pastor’s wife pray for, and that she was so encouraged to hear the testimony I shared. She told me to go and meet her sons, who were working at the book table, took a picture with us, gave hugs, and that was it.
Now, for those of you who have not seen and heard Lisa or her husband John speak in person, let me tell you, they always share a picture of their family and make it a point to say some of their boys are single, they love grandchildren, etc. etc. So, when she told me to go meet her sons, I didn’t think much of it, chalking it up to the fact that she’s always saying things like that. And so I didn’t. I went to the book table, yes, because I was looking for a sword necklace (I had recently given mine away and wanted to replace it), but I did not talk to her boys.
Ever since, I felt bad about it. She was sweet and patient as she listened to me dump my story on her, and all she asked was for me to meet her sons, and I disregarded her instructions [read: wimped out]. Every single girl at the church that night, it seemed, was swarming around the book table, and I know they weren’t all just buying books! I wasn’t about to add myself to their number. But since then, I doubted my choice.
[One good thing that came out of that encounter (there were many): I was encouraged that godly men are still out there, and it comforted me that I can keep my standards high.]
Fast-forward to June 2018. John Bevere is on tour with Bethel Music, talking about his new release, Killing Kryptonite. A couple of his boys are with them, and they’re coming to my city. I knew I had to go, not only because I’d read Killing Kryptonite and it was incredible, so I knew hearing the author speak about it in person would be even better, but also because I needed to be brave–if you’re an extrovert reading this, do not laugh at me! Meeting new people is scary, disobeying someone you respect and thinking about it for a year and a half is not fun, and being all up in your own head is miserable.
Honestly this is even more weird and awkward writing about it than it is telling each of you individually, and I have no idea why.
So we got to the church where the event was being held, and walked up from the parking lot to stand in line, waiting for the doors to open. My mom and brother were pestering me, because on the way to walk to stand in line, we had passed the Bevere boys, Arden and Alec, in the parking lot. They’d hosted a hang-out before we got there, and were cleaning up. I was still eating my sandwich for dinner as I walked and wasn’t about to go introduce myself like that, much to my family’s amusement.
The line moved and we went inside to get our seats, then out to look at the Bethel Music table and the book table (ah, the infamous book table again). My brother bought what he wanted and then we headed back to our seats. Yes, I’m giving you all the details. I was pretty antsy about being there, and the event didn’t start for a little while once the doors were opened, so I got back up to walk around. I ended up walking back to the book table, where I found Arden. Thankfully, there wasn’t much of a crowd, so I was able to introduce myself and tell him the (short version of the) story about meeting his mom and her telling me to meet her sons, and then not doing so, feeling bad about it, and purposing to do so then. He was kind and patient with me, laughing a little and ultimately telling me I had to come back and meet his brother Alec, who was also at the event that night but not at the book table at that moment.
Facepalm. At least I was halfway there, but I now had to go through introducing myself twice.
Have any of you ever read the book or seen the movie Ella Enchanted? In a nutshell, it’s a Cinderella twist where the girl, Ella, is cursed to have to obey everything people tell her to do. She physically can’t not obey, which gets her in really humorous situations (to the viewer/reader, at least) when someone says something offhandedly, like “Freeze!”. I have some of the same tendencies; I don’t know if it is a people-pleasing thing or if I just can’t stand the guilt of being disobedient (I have a very sensitive conscience), but I usually feel bad if someone asks me to do something and I don’t.
So. Lisa Bevere told me to meet her sons, and I met one of them, who pointed out to me that the request was to meet her sons, plural, and I had only met the singular one son. Go ahead. Roll your eyes at me. Laugh. Whatever. I had come this far and I wanted to see it through and be done.
So, I went back to my seat for a little bit, chatted with my family, squirmed around, twiddled my thumbs, and got back up to pace around again. Y’all, I really think social anxiety is a real thing. (Which is ironic because I want to be a speaker and I actually really enjoy public speaking. I guess because you can talk to everyone at once and be done.)
Okaaaayyyyyyy apparently not.
I guess I’m just crazy.
Back to the story.
So, I get up again and pace around the lobby. This time I notice Alec is also at the book table, so I go stand around in line to introduce myself to him. The girl volunteers at the table with him just eye me, as it’s my second time there in 5 minutes, and I’m not coming to buy a book–like I said, I already own it and read it. Alec is apparently not what one would call an introvert, and is having an animated conversation with the people in front of me. Another girl walks up beside me to wait to talk to him also, which makes me feel both a little better and also a little worse. We strike up some chit-chat and talk about what books have impacted us, and I get distracted by seeing my dad walk in the door (he came straight from work and didn’t ride with us), so I run over to show him where we’re sitting and stuff and then come back to the line. The other girl is already talking with them because the line moved while I was gone, and she asks me to take a picture of them. I’m glad she did, because when she was done that reminded me to ask for a picture also, which she took for me.
(Somebody please tell me they are just as bad at meeting new people. I need the reinforcement.)
Arden remembers me (from 5 minutes before) but as we’re taking the picture, Alec is like “So who are you?” And I’m just mentally like “oh good job Callie, making him take a picture with a stranger and not even introducing yourself”, so I tell him an even shorter version of the story I told Arden, to which he responded in mock astonishment, “You disobeyed my mother? We should make a video of you apologizing and send it to her.” Which thankfully did not happen, but if by some miracle Lisa Bevere does end up reading this–first of all HI and thank you for reading this rambling narrative all the way to this point! And secondly, but more importantly, my apologies for taking so long to meet your wonderful family. Thanks for all you do for the Kingdom of God! You inspire me–like really, really inspire me: the first time I ever heard you speak I was 14 or 15 and you were the first woman I remember ever hearing preach, and I was like “Women can do this too? This is a thing? This is TOTALLY what I want to do and be when I grow up.” You opened my eyes to the power of women speaking in ministry and I’m so glad you did; my life has changed for the better because of it.
So yeah, that’s my story of meeting the Beveres. That’s literally it. Awkwardness and grace and all.
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