Delicate Warrior.

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I dreaded my name being called.

I knew not making eye contact wouldn’t change the fact that my name had already been printed on one of those small, pink pieces of paper.  I knew that next to my name was something I had hated my whole life…It’s meaning.

We were week two into my Discipleship Training School and I still wasn’t convinced I was even meant to be there.  It was hot, humid, and I didn’t know anyone. I knew there were more things in my life that I needed to learn, but I had no idea what they were or where to even begin. Weeks before flying to Australia I remember staring at the Bible wondering how I could ever memorize everything in there before I got to YWAM. I was overwhelmed and felt completely inadequate. What was I doing?

As I waited for my name to be called the girl next to me must have been chewing a whole pack of gum, I thought surely the smacking would stop but it didn’t. It made me anxious. I was at the end of my patience and this was just what I needed to convince myself to pack my bags and book a flight back to Texas. Just as I zipped my bag everything stopped.  The speaker in a stern voice said words I’m likely to always remember.

 “Every one stop what they are doing. Just stop. There’s someone here still not convinced they are suppose to be. Maybe you’re scared, or bored… whatever it is we’ve got time to work it out.”

I thought “well, this is weird.  How does she know?!”

She stopped the class and everyone was given some alone time to think.  Just think.  No assignments, nothing to learn or lookup – just think.  I never needed alone time, I love people and I am deep thinker naturally so I was a little bothered by the silence. I went to the corner of the room and closed my eyes. A soft touch on my shoulder and a few words were whispered and everything changed in my heart.

“Lea, just wait. There’s something more for you here than you can see for yourself… but you’ve got to trust it and give it some time.  Just wait on God and he’s going to show you.”

That seemed mysterious, vague, and not too promising but I decided to give in.  I’ll wait it out a bit I guess, a few more days couldn’t hurt. (I still moved seats from my gum chewing friend.) We took our seats again, and while I decided to wait it out I knew the dreaded moment was near where she would call out my name and it’s meaning.  We were learning how to walk in our identity. Whatever that meant.

When I was younger I was told my name meant “Warrior”.

I hated that.  I was a country kid, from a small town.  I had an older brother that I adored and that meant growing up as a tom boy.  I had short hair, and I liked ninja turtles. I didn’t always fit in just the way people thought I should, but I knew who I was and I was okay with that.

Delicate Warrior.

While I sometimes felt like a warrior, I knew there was this other side of me most people didn’t know. Not because I hid it, I guess I just wasn’t sure how to show people. I felt soft, and sensitive.  I felt compassionate.  I felt deep, and loving. I wanted people to see that I wasn’t just strong, or good at task and getting things done.  I wanted people to see that I had a great heart, a kind spirit… but if people never saw that, was it really there? Maybe it was a question I didn’t really want to know the answer to…

Other names were called, they had beautiful meanings.

Courtney- Beautiful and Strong/ Matthew- Giver of life and Saint.

Then it came… “Lea… “ a long pause…“Delicate”

I had never heard that meaning before, and I was shocked for a moment.  That’s not me, that’s not the meaning of my name.  I’m not delicate. There was another Lea on our school.  Same spelling, but we couldn’t be more opposite- she was delicate. As she went up to collect her card people awed and nodded their heads…  as I grabbed mine I heard chuckles throughout the crowd. Two weeks in and they could already see it. I held back my tears, laughed with them, and grabbed my card.

I folded it up and stuck it in my book hoping I would never find it again.

The week went on and I felt cold to everything the speaker said.  I never let anything sink in, I am a warrior after all.

Days later my classmate Lea walked up to me with tears in her eyes.  She gave me a hug and I wondered what was upsetting her.  She handed me her name card, and looked me in the eyes.  She said in this soft, but powerful voice “Lea, you are delicate.” It was a moment that changed my life.  Something so simple, but so complex in my heart. I realized on my DTS that I could be both.

I am both strong, and sensitive. I am driven and understanding. I am task and relational. I am a talker, and a listener. I am quick, and I am patient. 

I am a warrior, and I am delicate. I am a Delicate Warrior.
I realized that the fullness of who I was created to be was understood by the one who created me. I realized that I didn’t have to change who I was on my DTS, I just got to be me and learn who I was meant to be.

I realized that the meaning of my name didn’t mean too much, but what I believed about myself was far more important.

Now five years later, I can’t believe the opportunities I have had and all the things I have learned.  I can’t believe the lives I have impacted, and the difference that we have made together. I can’t fathom what my life would have been like if that speaker had not stopped class, and allowed us to just think.

Lea Emerson
Lea Emerson

Lea is a bright ambitious young woman. She’s from good ole Texas but has been in Australia on staff for the past 5 years. Lea serves in many different areas but plays a main role in Marketing and Communications. She’s an excellent leader, teacher and story teller. She enjoys coffee, being with good company, and watching documentaries.

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