Ah, those dreaded initials that scream commitment.  Do they make anyone else instantly sweat?  What do they even mean?!  According to Wikipedia , “It is an initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît meaning ‘Please respond’” Many times these initials are at the end of an invitation of some sort be it a wedding, baby shower, or party.  For me, often times they are a source of indecision and stress!

An invitation is a request for us to be present and to participate at an event or in some sort of process.  Invitations are received daily, some through social media, email, text, phone calls, letters, or extended verbally.  We decide several times per day which ones we will accept or decline.

Sometimes you expect an invitation is coming with an R.S.V.P. If you know friends are getting married or having a baby, you anticipate an invitation.  However, there are times when an invitation comes with an R.S.V.P. that is unexpected.  One such invitation came to me several weeks ago.

My mother lost her brave three and a half year battle with breast cancer in May.  It was Mother’s Day weekend.  My sister and her husband, aunt and uncle,  and Bill and I had been caring for mom in her home for over a month.  It was one of the most difficult things I have ever been asked to do.  It was an invitation I never wanted.

The process that followed was a blur as we planned her service, began cleaning out her house preparing it for sale, and sorted through the memories.  Shortly after that, our youngest left for Northwest University and there were many weeks spent preparing for her move.  Throw in the odd assortment of normal life events and the spring and summer flew past me.  Knowing what was ahead, I intentionally set aside time to grieve.  I know that sounds weird, but when you are a planner like I am, it seems normal!    It made sense to me to “schedule” time to grieve.  I needed a cushion of time to allow myself to feel the emotions that I knew I was pushing aside in an effort to continue moving forward.

With the changes that had occurred in my life and the release of certain responsibilities, such as homeschooling for the last 20 years, I began to ask God what was next.  He started speaking to me and I felt confident that I knew what He wanted me to do.  I truly felt as if I had accepted His invitation and I gave Him my R.S.V.P.

Have you even received an invitation by mistake?  Perhaps you have accidentally extended an invitation to the wrong person at the wrong time.  I received a phone call extending an invitation to me that I was sure was a mistake!  However, after several meetings, discussion with Bill, and hours of prayer, I accepted the invitation to become the Women’s Ministries Facilitator for the Northwest Ministry Network.

My scheduled grieving time was now in jeopardy and I wrestled with that many sleepless nights.  I sincerely felt I had heard God’s invitation to set aside time and I had done my part, I gave Him my R.S.V.P.  This new idea did not make sense to me at all.  This new role was going to completely interfere with my grieving time and was way beyond my abilities.  I am not strong enough right now to shoulder the responsibility.  My abilities are insufficient for a task this large.  So many other women came to my mind as being more qualified!  I am simply not enough!  My “Moses moment” was fully engaged!

In Exodus chapter 3, God calls Moses to the burning bush and gives him instructions to go before Pharoah in order to free the Israelites.  Even after seeing the miracle of the bush that would not burn and hearing God’s voice, Moses had a few questions.   Who am I?  What should I say to them?  Exodus chapter 4 begins with more questions.  What if they don’t believe me?  What if they won’t listen to me?  Even though God reassures Moses that he will not be alone, Moses continues to doubt and in verse 10 pleads, “. . . Please Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”  (NASB)

I can certainly relate to Moses. This invitation before me seemed to highlight all my inadequacies. Like Moses, my R.S.V.P was one of hesitation and fear. Yet in verses 11 and 12, God reminds Moses of something extremely important,

“. . .Who has made mans mouth?  Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.”  God invited Moses on an extraordinary journey not because he was able, but because he was available.   Despite all the questioning, Moses could have run away from the burning bush and completely missed the invitation.  However, he chose to approach the bush, to remove his shoes, and listen for the invitation.  Eventually, he did R.S.V.P.

After I accepted this new role, my questions returned to my grief and how to proceed.  How was I supposed to do all of this at the same time?  Then, the Lord whispered to me, “Let them in!  Invite them in to your grief.”  Whoa!  Not only was God asking me to do something I felt completely unqualified or prepared for, now He was asking me to allow others to be part of my grieving process?  How was this fair?

My answers to these questions are still in process and I will openly share as they come because I am extending to you an invitation.  This is a new journey for me and for us as the women of the Northwest Ministry Network.  We have an amazing opportunity to build upon the past as we embrace the future.

I leave you with these questions:  What is God inviting you to do?  Who do you need to invite to join you on your journey?  Will you partner with me as we move forward together?

Don’t’ forget to R.S.V.P.

By: Kelli Best

Kelli Best and her husband, Bill, have two children: Ashlee and Paige.  Bethlehem Chapel in eastern Washington is their church home where they have pastored since 2009.  Married since 1989, Kelli and Bill both agree it feels like just yesterday.  Kelli has a B.A. in Music Education from Evangel University and spent over twenty years in home education.  Now Kelli is the team leader for BONDED Women’s Ministry at Bethlehem Chapel, participates on the worship team, teaches three and four year olds on Wednesday nights, and is the NWMN Women’s Ministries Facilitator. In 2017 she became an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God.  Kelli loves to read, drink coffee, cook, and bake.

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