A few days ago this picture popped up on my facebook page. One of our youth tagged me in it. Yes, sadly this is my iPhone on the right (greatest invention ever!) charging at an Arby’s in Jackson, TN as we were on our way to Centrifuge last week!
I’m excited to see what great things happen this week. Honestly, I have struggled a lot with wondering if I should even be here. So much is going on right now in our lives. A part of me feels guilty for leaving Faith (even though Nana is having a great time! ) when I know her time as our only child is limited. I wonder what reason God could possibly have for having me here at this camp right now.
To my surprise, our opening camp video last night was based off the verse from Psalm 139:13-16…
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
I knew as I watched this video there is a master plan. A plan I am unaware of. A plan for why I am here, on this campus, three hours from my daughter, during this time.
I don’t know it yet. Maybe I won’t even realize it this week. Maybe I’ll serve my purpose as an adult volunteer, have great discussions with our students, & come Saturday we’ll head home with memories of camp songs & stories to share.
But I hope not. I need this week. I need God to be present, to remind me that He has gone before us in every situation & made provisions in our family.
So here we go. Here’s to a great week at Fuge 2010!
Time again for youth camp! Next week we’ll be packing up & heading to Jackson, TN again for a week at Centrifuge on Union University’s campus. This time last year, this was us:
Yep, Faith is in there too, just a teeny-tiny two months old Her very first camp experience! This year, she’s going to stay at home with her Nana & Papaw. It’s a lot different toting a two-month old to camp who sleeps all the time versus a fourteen-month old who is into everything. I’m pretty sure Centrifuge isn’t baby-proofed either!
I may go crazy missing her though!!
Yesterday morning as I was checking my email, I noticed a new one from my husband in my inbox (yes, John & I often communicate during the day by email…it’s quick, it’s easy, & uninterrupted!). It was a link to a blog he thought I might find interesting, entitled “Married to Youth Pastor.” Of course, the title immediately caught my attention since I am married to one
One of the first posts I read captured my eye right away. The particular post I read focused on women with husbands in youth ministry who aren’t able to be involved (gasp!).
Now, before you start thinking I’ve lost my mind & for some reason am now anti-youth ministry, read on. One of my biggest challenges since becoming a mother is deciding how much or how little to be involved in youth ministry. Prior to kids, I worked right alongside John leading, teaching, attending events, you name it. Now, adding in a toddler & soon another baby throws a wrench in those plans.
A typical Sunday afternoon for us consists of John working at the church on our 6:12 service, me packing diaper bag, distractions, snacks, & something to contain Faith in for our attempt to make it through the entire service. Then, we load up the car, settle in the back of the worship center, & the effort to distract, occupy, entertain & keep a toddler quiet through an hour-long service begins.
Usually this feat ends up with both Faith & I out in the hall, crawling & chasing until finally we both are exhausted and we head home to start the bedtime routine. Many of my Sunday nights were spent wondering if those efforts are really worth it. I mean, how effective can one be in youth ministry sitting in the back feeding a toddler fruit & Cheerios or in another room trying to keep her quiet but busy?
Needless to say, receiving the link to this blog was fantastic for me! I so appreciate hearing from other moms whose husbands are in ministry. It is tough enough to manage childcare on Sundays at those events, but add to it the guilt of no longer being “effective” in what you love to do is rough. Reading over those blog posts helped me to realize I am just in a different season for the time being. My children are my main ministry priority, & for the moment we are just in a very needy time of life. The day will come when my kids will be older, diapers & puffs will no longer be an everyday staple we can’t leave home without; at some point, our kids will even be participating in our youth ministry!
So for now, I am learning to appreciate smaller aspects of ministry. Hanging out before services to speak with kids, getting to attend Centrifuge in the summer while Faith is at her Nana’s, Facebook connections…maybe I don’t lead a small group or help plan services now, but to everything there is a season.
Mine just happens to be full of wipes & Cheerios for now
So, this past week at stuCo, we talked about transformation. Any type of transformation is a process…not something that happens overnight. John summed it up really nicely in his blog last week. In case you’d like a little recap, here it is:
“If there is one thing that can hinder transformation, its pride. If we do not pursue transformation in our own lives, we will never experience it. And we will never pursue transformation until we recognize our need for it. We don’t like to share our weaknesses with anyone. We have learned to hide them away, even from ourselves if we can. But Paul warns us to be honest in our evaluation, according to the faith we’ve been given. We have to evaluate where we are on our journey with honesty, before we can take the next step.”
The whole idea of transformation got me thinking this week. Looking back over this past year, I can see so many ways I have been transformed. Don’t get me wrong-I still need some major work…but again, it is a process. I like to think of the transformation process as being a mom.
When Faith was first born, I didn’t have a clue. I had no idea how to feed her, when she was sleepy, how to get her to sleep, etc. I would cry when she cried because I felt so clueless. I knew already I loved her more than life itself, & my heart hurts sometimes I love her so much. But I needed to learn the basics. The ropes of motherhood. Here’s a pic of me…just hours into my momma journey:
Fast forward eight months, and yes, sometimes I still don’t have a clue. But I gradually figure it out. I can look back & see how much I’ve learned. I feel like a mom. I know what Faith needs (usually!) when she cries. I no longer cry with her because I know how to take care of her. She is growing & thriving. And so am I. Most days I feel confident & competent in being a mom. I look forward to the future & seeing what kind of mom I turn out to be! Here’s one of our more recent pics…looks a lot different than delivery day:
I think it’s the same way with our Christian lives. In the beginning, we are so full with excitement, love, & even fear. We can’t wait to see what God has planned for our lives. But we don’t know yet how to find God’s will, how to share Him with others, or how to grow in our Christian walk. We have to learn the basics.
It’s always easy to look back in our lives & see the transformation that’s happened. What’s difficult is looking ahead, & staying encouraged that it will continue to happen if we pursue it.
Just like my transformation into being a momma, life with Christ & our spiritual growth is a process. And it will happen. We just have to keep at it, even when things get tough. And then one day, we look back & realize we’re different. Changed.
We’ve been transformed.
There’s a lot going on around Morgantown Community Church…specifically in the children’s/student ministry. Renovations are well underway to add extra space for our kids’ ministry as well as give the stuCo students their very own space! John gathered up a group of our high school boys for a day of tearing down drywall….take a look at how it went:
This must be a dream come true for a high school guy. How often do they get the opportunity to smash themselves into walls to bust up drywall? Looks like we’re definitely saving $$$ on a contractor! Be sure to check in at MCC soon to see how it all turns out!
Last Sunday was an awesome night.
Well, actually, the entire weekend was pretty fantastic, but this really finished it off. This past Sunday was our first student-led 6:12 service, meaning exactly that: our students planned, orchestrated, organized, implemented (any other big words?) the entire thing. They did great!
I guess technically our leadership students have been doing this all along. Every week, starting an hour or two before the service begins, kids start filing in. They take care of set design, moving chairs, pull out the staging, run the sound booth, etc. What a huge challenge to us as adults?! How many of us make such an effort to get to church early on Sunday mornings to help set up and prepare for our services? Are we just as excited about what God is doing in our our lives?
That night I saw kids speak from their hearts…kids who are trying to figure out a life with a God that forgives, redeems, and restores. I saw students lead and participate in worship, be intentional, come in early and stay late. I realized, why don’t I have that same attitude, that same excitement for what God is doing? I’m usually focused on whether or not Faith is crying in the nursery, or on my own plans for that day, or just letting myself be distracted or discouraged by life itself.
That particular 6:12 service made me remember a time when I was in high school, and I loved hanging out at church. I wanted to be there for hours. I was willing to serve in any capacity, whether or not I was great at it. I didn’t worry if I got nervous, or had never done it before. My afternoon nap never crossed my mind. I was excited, and I couldn’t wait to show it. I knew God had big plans for my life, and I wanted to dive in headfirst.
So yes, maybe I am an adult stuCo volunteer. But seeing our students step up to the challenge and lead a great service letting themselves be used by a God who also has big plans for their lives is inspiring to me. I want that excitement. That pursuit to know Christ more. The courage to try something new.
So thank you, stuCo leadership, for an awesome 6:12! Can’t wait till next week!